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Nationals 8, Mets 2

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman tied a career high with four hits Thursday afternoon and emergency starting pitcher Tanner Roark earned the win with six solid innings as the Washington Nationals completed a three-game sweep of the New York Mets with an 8-2 win at Citi Field.

The Nationals came back from early deficits in all three games in improving to 3-0 for the second time in three seasons. The Mets are 0-3 for the first time since 2005.

Zimmerman began Thursday's comeback with a homer leading off the second and added an RBI single during a four-run seventh inning that blew the game open. He also singled in his middle two at-bats. It was the ninth four-hit game for Zimmerman, who flied out with the bases loaded to end the eighth.

First baseman Adam LaRoche had three RBI via a two-run single in the seventh and a bases-loaded walk in the eighth. Center fielder Denard Span had two hits, including a game-tying RBI single in the fifth. Right fielder Jayson Werth delivered an RBI single later in the fifth to give the Nationals the lead for good while second baseman Danny Espinosa added two doubles in his first start of the season.

Roark was scheduled to start the Nationals' home opener Friday but was moved up a day when Thursday's scheduled starter, Jordan Zimmermann, got sick Wednesday night.

Roark survived a laborious first inning to improve to 8-1 in 15 big league appearances.

Roark allowed two runs -- both in the first, when he threw 31 of his 95 pitches -- on six hits and three walks while striking out five. He struck out the final four batters he faced.

For the Mets, right fielder Curtis Granderson had two doubles -- his first hits for the Mets since signing a four-year deal in December -- and an RBI while center fielder Juan Lagares had a sacrifice fly and a double.

Mets starter Zack Wheeler gave up three runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out six over six innings.

The Mets took a 2-0 lead in the first -- the third time in as many games they have scored in the first inning -- when second baseman Daniel Murphy and third baseman David Wright each singled with one out before Granderson doubled to right to bring home Murphy. A walk to first baseman Lucas Duda loaded the bases, after which Lagares delivered a sacrifice fly to score Wright.

Just as they did the previous two games, though, the Nationals methodically inched back. Washington's leadoff batter reached in all six innings against Wheeler, including in the second, when Zimmerman's homer on the third pitch of the frame cut the Mets' lead in half.

The Nationals went ahead in the fifth, when catcher Sandy Leon worked a leadoff walk, went to second on Roark's sacrifice and scored on Span's single to right. Span went to second on the throw home, moved to third on left fielder Bryce Harper's long fly out and scored on Werth's single.

Washington scored four times in the seventh thanks to four singles, one walk and one error.

NOTES: RHP Jordan Zimmermann received fluids during the day Thursday and flew home ahead of the Nationals. He is penciled in to start for Washington in its home opener Friday. Manager Matt Williams said Thursday that the Nationals will go with a "bullpen game" if Zimmermann is unable to pitch again. ... Williams became the first manager of a Washington baseball team to open his career 3-0 since Jim Manning won his first four games at the helm of the Washington Senators in 1901. ... Prior to the game, the Mets placed OF Chris Young on the 15-day disabled list due to a tight right quad. Young was initially hurt during the final weekend of the exhibition season and missed Opening Day on Monday before re-aggravating the injury during the first inning of Wednesday's game. Mets manager Terry Collins said he hoped Young would be able to return when first eligible. ... Mets 2B Daniel Murphy, who missed the first two games of the season following the birth of his son, was activated off paternity leave and went 1-for-3 with a pair of errors. ... Frank Viola, the pitching coach for the Mets' Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas and a former 20-game winner with the Mets, underwent successful open heart surgery on Wednesday.
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