Ryan Raburn's ninth-inning RBI lifts Washington Nationals over New York Mets

By David Driver, The Sports Xchange  |  July 4, 2017 at 12:59 AM
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WASHINGTON -- Brian Goodwin is making an impression with his bat in limited playing time, producing a .513 slugging percentage in 42 games this season.

Now hitting at the top of the order, Goodwin was a game-changer with his play in left field on Monday night.

The left fielder threw out a runner at the plate in the eighth inning, and the Washington Nationals beat the New York Mets 3-2 with a walk-off single in the last of the ninth by reserve Ryan Raburn.

Neither team scored early, as New York's Steven Matz and Washington's Stephen Strasburg each exited after seven shutout innings.

Goodwin was a reserve early in the year but is seeing more playing time with the injury to veteran left fielder Jayson Werth.

"We go out there and want to succeed," said Goodwin, who was batting first after leadoff man Trea Turner injured his wrist Thursday. "We believe in our guys. We are very resilient. We have plenty of people in the lineup that can deliver."

The hit by Raburn not only beat the Mets but may have helped cause an injury to slugging left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, who came up limping after he nearly made a shoestring catch for the third out in the ninth.

"He said he just cramped up more than anything on the slide. Coming back as early as we are tomorrow, I'd be surprised if he's in there," Mets manager Terry Collins said of the Tuesday morning start.

Said Cespedes, through a translator: "It's just a cramp. It could have happened to anybody."

New York trimmed a few games off the Washington lead in the past week, only to lose a golden chance to gain a game Monday night before a sellout crowd.

"Against a lineup like that, you can't walk guys," Collins said of walks that led to two of the three Washington runs. "They can hit. But you can't walk them because that just turns that lineup over and brings those guys up, and you don't want them coming up."

The Nationals won after another bullpen failure, as Matt Albers gave up a two-run homer on a 0-2 pitch with two outs in the top of the ninth to Curtis Granderson that tied the game at 2.

Washington entered the game with a 5.12 bullpen ERA, the worst in the National League. However, the Nationals' offense came through with the team's sixth walk-off win of the year.

"Biggest downer in baseball -- blown save late," Washington manager Dusty Baker said. "I don't want to belabor the fact. We are going to get our bullpen fixed."

Collins said before the game that Granderson may not play due to a sore hip. However, the veteran outfielder came off the bench to smash the pinch-hit homer with his team one strike away from a 2-0 loss.

"Granderson, according to our report, was hurt," Baker said.

The hit by Raburn off Fernando Salas to shallow left scored Matt Wieters, who led off the ninth with a walk, took second on a walk by pinch hitter Stephen Drew and went to third on a flyout by pinch hitter Adam Lind.

The winning pitcher was Albers (4-1), who gave up two runs in the ninth. Paul Sewald (0-3) was hit with the loss as he allowed the walk to Wieters.

Michael A. Taylor smashed a two-run homer in the eighth to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead after a walk to Raburn.

Strasburg allowed two singles and three walks while striking out six. He was replaced in the top of the eighth by lefty Matt Grace, who gave up a leadoff infield single by Brandon Nimmo.

Nimmo went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Matz but was thrown out at home by Goodwin following a single by Jose Reyes. The call stood after a challenge by the Mets.

"You want to get to it as fast as possible, but you want to be under control," Goodwin said. "I am charging as hard as possible."

Grace walked Asdrubal Cabrera. The Nationals then brought on Joe Blanton, who retired Cespedes on a fielder's choice to end the inning.

Matz allowed four hits and two walks. He fanned four.

The first-place Nationals (49-34) are eight games ahead of the second-place Atlanta Braves (40-41) and 10 1/2 games ahead of the third-place Mets (38-44) in the National League East.

Reyes had two hits for the Mets.

"It was a good win for us," Strasburg said.

NOTES: The Nationals held a moment of silence before the game for David Vincent, who died Sunday at the age of 67 due to stomach cancer. Vincent was the official scorer for the first home game in Nationals history at RFK Stadium in 2005, and he worked his last game at Nationals Park on June 12. ... Mets LHP Seth Lugo (3-1, 3.55) will face Washington RHP Joe Ross (4-3, 5.12) on Tuesday at 11:05 a.m. ET. ... Washington RHP Max Scherzer was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for June. He had a 0.99 ERA in June. ... The Mets are 3-8 against the Nationals this year.

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