All the good feelings from the Washington Nationals’ first walk-off win of the season didn’t even last 24 hours.
Nats starter Dan Haren was hit early and often, and lasted just four innings, as the New York Mets — ten games under .500 themselves – scored five runs in the first three innings and cruised to a 10-1 win as Washington’s moribund offense never mustered any type of attack whatsoever.
With the loss, the Nats drop below .500 again (29-30) and to add insult to injury, slid into third place in the N.L. East behind their arch-rival Philadelphia Phillies.
Haren actually got through the first inning unscathed, and the Nats gave him an early lead when Ian Desmond’s two-out single in the bottom of the first brought home Denard Span from third base.
That would be the end of the highlights for Nats fans.
Lucas Duda led off the second with a double to right, then Marlon Byrd clobbered an 84-MPH splitter from Haren that just hung in the middle of the plate.
The Mets went right back after Haren in the third. Daniel Murphy’s one-out single preceded David Wright’s eighth homer of the season. After Duda flew out to center, Byrd punished a cutter that didn’t cut, driving his eighth home run to left to make it 5-1.
The competitive portion of the contest was over.
The Nats had runners on base in every inning but one, but managed just the lone run in the first inning. Their best chance to score came in the fourth, down 5-1. With runners at second and third and one out, though, Span struck out swinging on three pitches, then Jayson Werth struck out looking on three pitches.
The Mets picked up two runs in the fifth off Craig Stammen and three off Erik Davis in the seventh inning adding to the embarrassing total.
It was that kind of night, in that kind of a season.
THE GOOD: The lone bright spot for the Nats was the Major League debut of reliever Ian Krol, who gave up a double to his first batter, but then struck out three straight to leave the runner stranded.
THE BAD: Steve Lombardozzi, Tuesday night’s “hero” for his walk-off sac fly, went 0-for-4 to drop his slash line for the season to .228/.241/.290.
THE UGLY: Dan Haren. I’ve been patient with the veteran starter, hoping that the glimpses we’ve seen here and there would become the norm and not the anomaly. But that’s just not the case. Five earned on seven hits, including three home runs. He’s tied for most home runs allowed now and he’s just not getting it done. Unfortunately, with Detwiler still on the D.L. and Strasburg joining him there, there really aren’t any other options unless Haren comes up lame again too.
THE STATS: 8 hits, 1 BB, 6 Ks. 2-for-9 with RISP, 8 LOB. No errors, no DPs.
NEXT GAME: Thursday at 7:05 pm against the Mets. Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.64) hosts Shaun Marcum (0-6, 5.71)