April 9, 2012: Murphy's Single in 9th Beats Nats

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Date: April 9, 2012
Mets starter: Mike Pelfrey
Mets: 4
Nationals: 3
Winning pitcher: Jon Rauch
Key player(s): Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Daniel Murphy
Key play: Nieuwenhuis’s home run, Murphy’s single in 9th

The Mets and Nationals faced each other on a Monday night at Citi Field. The teams played in front of 23,970 fans on hand. Daniel Murphy singled home the winning run in the ninth inning for a 4-3 Mets win over Washington.

In the top of the first inning, Danny Espinosa hit a one-out single against Mets’ starter Mike Pelfrey. An ensuing single by Ryan Zimmerman advanced Espinosa to third base. Adam LaRoche singled to drive home Espinosa with the first run of the game. Pelfrey struck out Jayson Werth and retired Mark DeRosa on an inning-ending ground ball to shortstop Ruben Tejada. The Mets had runners on first and third base against the Nationals’ Edwin Jackson in the bottom half. Jackson then struck out Ike Davis and Jason Bay for the inning’s final outs.

Following a scoreless second inning, Ian Desmond singled to lead off the top of the third. Espinosa went down on strikes and Zimmerman hit a double that brought home Desmond. LaRoche followed with a single to score Zimmerman and stretch the Washington lead to 3-0. On the hit, LaRoche was out at second base via a throw by left fielder Bay to Tejada. Werth hit a triple to center field. Pelfrey then retired DeRosa on a grounder to first baseman Davis to end the inning.

Pelfrey doubled to open the bottom of the third. A fly out by Tejada to center fielder Roger Bernadina advanced Pelfrey to third base. Murphy grounded out to third baseman Zimmerman and a single by David Wright plated Pelfrey with the Mets’ first run. Davis grounded out to first baseman LaRoche to end the inning. The Nats had runners at first and second with one out in the top of the fourth. Pelfrey then got Desmond on a ground ball to third baseman Wright for a double play that closed out the inning.

Josh Thole drew a walk with two outs in the bottom of the fourth. Kirk Nieuwenhuis followed with his first major league home run to tie the game at 3-3. Pelfrey flied out to Bernadina to end the inning and shut down the Nationals in the top of the fifth. Jackson pitched a scoreless bottom half and Jesus Flores got a two-out single in the top of the sixth. Pinch-hitter Xavier Nady singled to center field. For the Mets, Miguel Batista came in to pitch and fanned Desmond for the third out. Washington reliever Tom Gorzelanny then hurled a scoreless bottom of the inning.

Espinosa and Zimmerman drew back-to-back walks against Batista to begin the top of the seventh. Mets’ reliever Ramon Ramirez got LaRoche to fly out to Bay. Werth hit a grounder to Tejada for an inning-ending double play. With one out in the bottom half, Tejada doubled to right field. Ruben moved to third base on Murphy’s ground out to shortstop Desmond and an intentional walk to Wright ensued. Gorzelanny then retired Davis on a ground ball to second baseman Espinosa for the third out of the inning.

Mets’ reliever Jon Rauch set down the Nationals in order in the top of the eighth. In the bottom half, Thole hit a ground rule double with two outs. Washington’s Henry Rodriguez replaced Gorzelanny on the mound and struck out pinch-hitter Scott Hairston to end the inning. Steve Lombardozzi drew a leadoff walk in the top of the ninth. On a bunt by Desmond, Davis threw to Tejada for a force out at second base on Lombardozzi. Rauch fanned Espinosa for the second out of the inning. Jon then got Zimmerman to hit a ground ball on which second baseman Murphy made an outstanding play and threw to Tejada for an inning-ending force out on Desmond.

Rodriguez issued a walk to pinch-hitter Mike Baxter to start the bottom of the ninth inning. On Tejada’s ensuing bunt, Rodriguez made an errant throw that put Mets runners at second and third base. Murphy followed with a single to right field that brought home Baxter and ended the game. The Mets had their fourth consecutive victory to start the season.