Thanks to the smoking hot bat of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets battled back and restored a 5-game lead over the Nationals in the opener of their massive series in Washington.
The Mets got off to a quick start behind homers by Cespdes, Kelly Johnson and Michael Conforto, who has been an absolute revelation of late.
Mets pitcher Jon Niese struggled big time (Niese has now allowed 5 runs or more in four consecutive starts and is beginning to become a problem for the Mets, who can't afford any slip-ups) and exited after just 3.1 innings.
It was an ugly performance by Niese, who really needs to get his stuff sorted out. With the innings cap dictating that Matt Harvey might only make two more starts this season, the Mets are going to need some help from the rest of the staff; Niese has to be there for this team as they push toward the playoffs. He's got to find a way to recapture his great stretch of starts in July and August; today, he just didn't have it.
But the Mets battled back - there's a resilience in this team that I haven't seen in the Mets for years.
It all came together in the 7th inning when the Mets put together three runs. Big hits came from Cespedes, who just mashes the ball each time he gets up, and the captain David Wright. Cespedes hit two doubles and a homer today and continues his crazy hot streak since joining the team.
Wright came around to score on Cespdes's double and after beating out a close throw from the outfield pumped his fist emphatically. Mets announcer Gary Cohen said it best - this is what Wright rehabbed for four months for. The captain wants to be an integral part of the playoff race, and today, he was just that.
Hansel Robles pitched two great innings of relief and handed the ball to Jeurys Familia, who nobody can seem to get a hit against.
It was a huge, huge win - the difference between a 3 game lead and a 5 game lead is enormous.
They can lighten up a little bit now heading into the next two games of the series - they know that if they win just one of two, it will be a job well done.
This was one of the better games of the season for the Mets.
It was up and down - they had the lead, then lost it, then got it back thanks to some timely hitting by their best players.
Hopefully the next two days bring more of the same!