WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Nationals turned in one of their best performances on the day the meaningful portion of their season ended.
Rookie Austin Voth and four relievers combined on a one-hitter, and the Nationals beat the New York Mets 6-0 on Saturday, hours after they were eliminated from playoff contention.
“It stings,” manager Dave Martinez said. “But we’ve still got seven more games. … These guys don’t quit. They came out ready to play today.”
Matt Wieters and Trea Turner homered for Washington, and Bryce Harper added an RBI double.
The Nationals’ loss Friday night, coupled with the Atlanta Braves’ win, knocked them out of the NL East race. Then, shortly after Saturday’s game began, the St. Louis Cardinals beat the San Francisco Giants on a 10th-inning homer, ending Washington’s slim wild card hopes.
“It’s something where we felt like we had the talent in this clubhouse and we still feel like we have the talent in this clubhouse,” Wieters said. “We just didn’t play well enough and that’s why this game’s played on the field and not in the papers and that’s what’s great about it.”
Favored to win a third straight division title, the Nationals slid into third place on June 22 and remained there.
Ownership stood pat at the July trade deadline, and the team responded by winning six of seven games. However, a four-game losing streak soon had the Nationals nine games out of first place in mid-August, and the team unloaded players including Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams.
The team dealt with injuries to pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Sean Doolittle, as well as Adam Eaton, Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman, but even when healthy, Washington was unable to put together an extended winning stretch. The Nationals are 78-77 with seven games remaining after going 97-65 a year ago.
“I think all of us in here would sit here and tell you we came here every day and did everything we could to try and win. At least I did. Because of that I can go home and be at peace with it,” Zimmerman said. “Obviously, it’s frustrating. You want to come out and win every year and have a chance to go into the playoffs.”
Voth (1-1), making his second major league start, allowed only an infield single to Michael Conforto leading off the fourth inning. Voth struck out five with two walks in five innings.
“He kept us off balance,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “He had a good curveball I thought. He was able to throw it for strikes … and then he got it down when he needed to, and his fastball command was pretty good.”
Even with Saturday’s win, the Nationals will lose the season series to the fourth-place Mets.
Turner’s 18th homer of the season, a two-run shot, put Washington ahead in the third, and Wieters added a three-run homer off reliever Jerry Blevins in the sixth.
New York’s Corey Oswalt (3-3) allowed two runs over five innings.
Matt Grace, Justin Miller, Jimmy Cordero and Austen Williams each worked an inning for Washington in relief of Voth.
Harper drew his 125th walk of the season, a career high and a Nationals record.
Washington’s Anthony Rendon extended his on-base streak to 30 games with a sixth-inning double, and Turner extended his on-base streak to 22 games with a first-inning double.
Mets: 2B Jeff McNeil was given the day off.
Nationals: OF Eaton (sore and stiff left knee) was out of the starting lineup for the fifth time in six games.
LHP Steven Matz (5-11, 4.18 ERA) makes his sixth start of the season against the Nationals, who will start RHP Erick Fedde (2-3, 5.02) in the series finale.
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