High drama: Flores' walk-off HR propels Mets
NEW YORK -- Two days after Wilmer Flores became a national sensation for his bare emotion, openly weeping on the infield dirt because he thought he had been traded, Flores' walk-off homer lifted the Mets to a 2-1, 12-inning win over the Nationals on Friday night.
A spirited Citi Field crowd of 36,164 gave Flores standing ovations for his defensive work in the first inning and his RBI single in the fourth, then serenaded him as he rounded the bases in the 12th. The win moved the Mets within two games of the first-place Nationals in the National League East.
"They support me 100 percent and I'm with them, too," Flores said of his fans. "I think the main thing is we got the win. We're all excited, we're playing the Nationals. It was a big win."
Long before those dramatics, Matt Harvey gave the Mets 7 2/3 stellar innings, but caved for a run on Yunel Escobar's game-tying single in the eighth. That stuck him with a no-decision, sending the Mets and Nats to extra innings.
With trade acquisition Yoenis Cespedes en route to New York and unavailable for the game, the Mets did little offensive damage despite knocking Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez out after 4 2/3 innings. But they mustered a fourth-inning run on Flores' RBI single.
"That does speak a lot about his character," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Flores' performance. "You guys know this guy. He's a tremendous young man. We have a clubhouse full of good guys. This kid can't ever forget this night."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
From tears to cheers: Leading off the 12th inning, Flores took a ball and a strike before launching a Felipe Rivero fastball over the left-center-field fence. It was Flores' fourth career walk-off RBI and first game-ending homer. More >
"Scouting report says that he can't hit fastball inside, so I threw him two," Rivero said. "I threw the first, then I threw the second one. He was ready for that one."
Gio doesn't have it: Gonzalez had a tough time throwing strikes, needing 105 pitches to record 14 outs with four walks. His worst inning was in the fourth. Gonzalez walked three batters, limiting the damage to one run, but was gone an inning later. More >
"I put my team in a tough situation," Gonzalez said. "I have to go deep in the game. I kept falling behind every hitter. No excuses. This is on me. I should have gone deeper in the game and should have given us a chance."
From perfect to no-decision: By the fourth inning, Citi Field's crowd was hanging on every pitch from Harvey, who struck out five of the first nine batters he faced and took a perfect game into the sixth. Eight-hole hitter Jose Lobaton finally broke things up with a one-out single, before Escobar's eighth-inning hit stripped him of a win. It was a tough no-decision; Harvey lasted 7 2/3 innings, striking out nine and walking none. More >
Baker's dozen: Upon arriving in New York via trade on Tuesday, setup man Tyler Clippard called the Nationals "beatable." The Mets asked him to prove it in a tie game in the eighth, with two men on base. He descended into a 13-pitch battle with former teammate Jayson Werth, finally striking him out on a borderline fastball that Travis d'Arnaud framed near the bottom of the zone.
"You saw a little when R.A. [Dickey] won his 20th game. Obviously, Johan [Santana's] no-hitter. Because the kid showed the human beings these players are, he's their guy. It's truly exciting to see."
-- Collins, comparing Flores' reception to other great moments in recent Mets history
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Harvey is 3-2 with a 0.99 ERA in eight career starts against the Nationals. It's the best ERA for any pitcher with at least five starts against the Nationals or Expos.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With two outs in the eighth inning, home-plate umpire Jerry Meals ruled that Harvey's 100th pitch bounced off Clint Robinson's left foot, good for a free base. Collins challenged, but the call stood after a one-minute, 55-second review. A few minutes later, Escobar came through with his game-tying hit.
Clearly unhappy with multiple pitches in his 11th-inning at-bat, Bryce Harper began screaming at Meals after the umpire called him out on strikes for the second out. Within seconds, Meals ejected him from the game. More >
"I want him to stay in every game," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "We talked about it. We'll talk about it again."
Nationals: Right-hander Joe Ross will be on the mound against the Mets on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. ET. His composure was showcased again in a 3-1 loss to the Pirates on Sunday. Ross, in his fifth career start, dealt with conviction -- yielding three runs but just five hits, while needing only 78 pitches to complete six strong innings.
Mets: Cespedes will join the Mets for their game Saturday night against the Nationals. He will start in left field, with right-hander Jacob deGrom on the mound.
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