WASHINGTON -- The Mets showed on Tuesday night that it's going to be a race in the National League East. Eric Campbell's pinch-hit two-run single in the seventh inning proved to be the difference as the Mets defeated the Nats, 7-2, at Nationals Park, cutting Washington's lead in the division to two games.
"A great feeling," Campbell said. "It's a big hit. Obviously, we needed to score more runs and get more guys in scoring position, and we did that today."
Nationals right-hander Joe Ross was cruising with a one-run lead until the seventh inning, when Wilmer Flores led off with a single. Kirk Nieuwenhuis followed with a hard ground ball that went past first baseman Clint Robinson for a two-base error, putting runners on second and third with nobody out.
After Kevin Plawecki popped up to second baseman Danny Espinosa, Nationals manager Matt Williams took Ross out of the game in favor of Aaron Barrett. Campbell entered to hit for right-hander Jacob deGrom and singled to right field, scoring Flores and Nieuwenhuis for the lead.
deGrom ended up with his 10th victory of the season. He was in the zone for most of the game, retiring nine of the first 10 hitters he faced. His only blemish occurred in the fifth inning, when Wilson Ramos hit a two-run homer.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Soup delivers: After Robinson committed a fielding error on a seventh-inning ground ball headed toward foul territory, the Mets pinch-hit Campbell for deGrom with two men in scoring position and one out. The Nats countered with Barrett, who watched as Campbell's opposite-field two-run single dropped over a drawn-in infield to give the Mets a one-run lead. More >
One blemish: Ramos' two-run homer in the fifth inning was just the third long ball deGrom allowed in an 81-inning stretch up to that point. But it was significant, giving the Nats their first lead. deGrom gave up just two other hits, striking out eight and walking one.
Ross pitches in tough luck: In his first Major League start since June 19, Ross pitched well enough to win, but he didn't have great defense to back him up. Ramos' double-clutch throw in the fourth inning allowed Granderson to steal second and score the first run of the game.
"It was a hit-and-run, and [Ramos] just couldn't get it out of his glove," Williams said. "He almost got him with the double clutch. He wasn't able to get him."
Robinson's error in the seventh allowed the Mets to score two runs.
Ross was not frustrated by the defensive lapses.
"I've seen more great plays out there," Ross said. "Whatever happens, happens. I just have to try to pitch out of the situation that I'm in." More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The 97-mph fastball that Bobby Parnell used to strike out Dan Uggla in the eighth inning was his fastest pitch since September 2013, according to PITCHf/x data. Parnell's career high is 103 mph, last achieved in 2011. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Mets: When the Mets lined up their post-All-Star-break rotation to pit their best pitchers against the Nationals, they made certain that Noah Syndergaard would be among them. The rookie, who will start the 12:35 p.m. ET series finale at Nationals Park on Wednesday, is 2-1 with a 1.55 ERA over his last four starts.
Nationals: The Nats have an early game against the Mets on Wednesday, at 12:35 p.m. ET. Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann will get the start. In his previous outing, against the Dodgers on Friday, Zimmermann was limited to four innings because the game was delayed three times -- and ultimately suspended -- because of a faulty circuit breaker.