WASHINGTON (AP) – Rick Ankiel scored on Ian Desmond‘s chopper up the middle in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday, giving the Washington Nationals a 3-2 win over the New York Mets on a scorcher of a summer afternoon.
With runners on second and third and the infield in, Desmond bounced the ball over pitcher Bobby Parnell, who deflected it with his glove. Second baseman Willie Harris‘ throw was too late to get Ankiel.
Amid the annual anxiety of trade deadline day, the Nationals quieted the Mets’ bats again to take two games in the three-game series. As it turned out, all those eyeing the clock were waiting for naught – neither team announced a deal as of the 4 p.m. deadline, leaving them instead to persevere through a day when the first-pitch temperature was 96 degrees.
Scott Hairston hit two home runs, including a tying shot that just cleared the left-field fence with two outs in the ninth, to account for the only runs for the Mets, who were shut out 3-0 on Saturday and finished 6-4 on their road trip.
Jesus Flores opened the bottom of the ninth with a single to right off Parnell (3-3), New York’s fifth pitcher. Parnell then hit Ankiel with a pitch to put runners on first and second with none out. Brian Bixler attempted to sacrifice, but first baseman Daniel Murphy pounced on the bunt and threw to third to force out Flores.
Ankiel and Bixler advanced on a wild pitch, forcing the Mets to bring the infield in for Desmond.
Drew Storen (6-2) got the win after blowing the save, having allowed Hairston’s second homer. Storen, the subject of trade speculation throughout the day, was greeted with rousing cheers as he jogged in from the bullpen – still in a Nationals uniform.
Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse doubled in a two-run sixth off New York starter Jonathon Niese to break a scoreless tie, with Morse’s opposite-field stroke kissing the chalk down the right-field line for his second two-bagger of the game. Zimmerman is batting .436 during a nine-game hitting streak.
Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann righted himself after giving up six earned runs in each of his previous two starts. He pitched six scoreless innings, allowed seven hits, walked only one and struck out six – including the last two batters he faced to work out of a second-and-third, one-out jam.
Sean Burnett entered in the seventh and immediately allowed Hairston’s third pinch-hit homer of the season, a solo shot to left field. Hairston remained in the game and struck again in the ninth, putting Storen’s 1-0 pitch into the visitors’ bullpen.
The Mets had their chances early. They loaded the bases with a walk to the pitcher and a pair of singles in the third, but David Wright hit into a 9-3-4 double play when Murphy strayed too far off first on a flyout to right field.
Notes: Wright has hits in all 10 games since returning from the disabled list. However, his streak of seven straight multihit games came to an end. … Zimmerman, who has been adjusting to a new arm motion since returning from abdominal surgery in June, made yet another throwing error, this time on a grounder by Murphy in the first inning. Zimmerman has seven errors in 41 games since the injury. … The Nationals optioned RHP Yunesky Maya to Triple-A Syracuse and recalled LHP Atahualpa Severino from Syracuse. Severino’s first appearance with the Nationals will mark his major league debut. … Washington LF Jonny Gomes singled twice, his first two hits after an 0-for-6 start since being acquired in a trade from Cincinnati last week.