April 26, 2011: Thole's Double Lifts Mets Over Nats

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Date: April 26, 2011
Mets starter: Chris Young
Mets: 6
Nationals: 4
Winning pitcher: Ryota Igarashi
Key player(s): Josh Thole, Carlos Beltran
Key play: Beltran’s and Thole’s doubles

The Mets faced the Nationals on a Tuesday night in Washington. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Josh Thole hit a tie-breaking, two-run double that led to a 6-4 Mets win.

Nationals’ starter Jordan Zimmermann yielded only a single to Daniel Murphy in the top of the first inning. The Mets’ Chris Young pitched a perfect bottom half and Jason Bay singled to open the top of the second. Bay advanced to third base on Ike Davis’s double and came home on Thole’s ground out to shortstop Alex Cora. Jason Pridie hit a single and went to second on Young’s sacrifice bunt that scored Davis for a 2-0 Mets lead. Zimmermann retired Jose Reyes on a fly ball to center fielder Rick Ankiel to end the inning and Wilson Ramos slugged a solo home run with one out in the bottom half. Young then got Mike Morse to fly out to right fielder Carlos Beltran and retired Jerry Hairston on a pop-up to catcher Thole to close out the inning.

Murphy hit a double to lead off the top of the third. David Wright grounded out to second baseman Danny Espinosa and a double by Beltran brought home Murphy for a 3-1 Mets lead. On his own hit, Beltran went to third base via an error by right fielder Jayson Werth. Bay and Davis were retired on consecutive infield ground balls for the inning’s final outs and Cora doubled to begin the bottom half. Zimmermann’s sacrifice bunt advanced Cora to third and Espinosa was struck out. Young then threw a called third strike past Ankiel to end the inning.

Zimmermann set down the side in order in the top of the fourth. Werth homered to lead off the bottom half. Adam LaRoche flied out to Beltran and a home run by Ramos tied the game at 3-3. Morse grounded out to shortstop Reyes and a fly ball by Jerry Hairston was caught by left fielder Bay to finish off the inning. Zimmermann gave up only a single to Reyes in the top of the fifth and drew a one-out walk against Young in the bottom half. Espinosa walked and Ankiel flied out to center fielder Pridie. Mets’ reliever Ryota Igarashi then fanned Werth for the inning’s final out.

Bay and Davis got back-to-back singles against Zimmermann with one out in the top of the sixth. Thole followed with a double against Washington reliever Doug Slaten that brought home Bay and Davis, giving the Mets a 5-3 lead. Pridie was retired on a pop-up to third baseman Jerry Hairston. Pinch-hitter Scott Hairston drew a walk against the Nats’ Todd Coffey, who followed up by retiring Reyes on an inning-ending fly ball to Ankiel. Mets’ reliever Taylor Buchholz then set down the side 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

Coffey hurled a perfect top of the seventh. Buchholz yielded just a bunt single to Jerry Hairston in the bottom of the inning and Washington reliever Brian Broderick gave up only a single to Davis in the top of the eighth. Ankiel singled against the Mets’ Jason Isringhausen to begin the bottom half. Werth was retired on a fly ball to Beltran. Ankiel stole second base and went to third on LaRoche’s ground out to second baseman Murphy. Ramos hit a single to drive home Ankiel and reduce the Mets’ lead to 5-4. Isringhausen then got Morse to fly out to Beltran and end the inning.

Pridie got a bunt single against Broderick to open the top of the ninth. Nationals’ reliever Sean Burnett hit pinch-hitter Willie Harris with a pitch. Reyes’ sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third before Murphy got hit by a pitch to load the bases. Wright grounded out to Espinosa to drive home Pridie with the Mets’ sixth run of the game. Burnett then retired Beltran on a pop-up to Espinosa to finish off the inning.

Jerry Hairston got an infield single against Mets’ reliever Francisco Rodriguez to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Matt Stairs flied out to Bay and a line drive by Roger Bernadina was caught by third baseman Wright. With Espinosa at the plate, Jerry Hairston went to second base on defensive indifference. Rodriguez then got Espinosa to ground out to Wright and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a victory to start the series.