NEW YORK — Gio Gonzalez pitched seven shutout innings, Ian Desmond homered off a backup catcher and the Washington Nationals roughed up rookie Zack Wheeler and the New York Mets 13-2 Sunday for a much-needed road-series win.
Adam LaRoche homered and Desmond and Denard Span had RBI doubles in a four-run second to spoil Wheeler's home debut, which became such a laugher that catcher Anthony Recker pitched the ninth inning.
Jayson Werth also homered against the Mets' touted rookie as Washington finally gave Gonzalez (5-3) some run support — and then some.
The Nationals set a season-high for runs as they reached the midpoint at 41-40, a disappointment for the NL East preseason favorite. Washington improved to 4-8-2 in road series by taking two of three from the Mets.
Kurt Suzuki hit a two-run homer and Anthony Rendon had a two-run double when Washington batted around in a six-run eighth. Suzuki also had an RBI single in the second against Wheeler (1-1).
A day that began with such promise for Mets fans ended as Recker smiled while while warming up to pitch the ninth. Desmond hit a two-run homer off the facade of the restaurant in left field, giving him 28 RBIs in June and a Nationals record for any month.
Gonzalez (5-3) won for only the third time in 11 outings since May 5, even though he has given up two earned runs or fewer in 10 of those games.
After giving up a one-out single to Daniel Murphy and walking David Wright in the first, Gonzalez retired 17 of 18 around Wright's fourth-inning double before pinch-hitter Zack Lutz walked to open the seventh.
Josh Satin followed with a single, and pitching coach Steve McCatty took a slow walk to the mound. Gonzalez retired the next three batters and finished with seven strikeouts and two walks.
Mets starters Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee dominated the Nationals in the first two games of the series, and many of the 33,366 — the second-highest attendance this season at Citi Field after opening day — were eager to see Wheeler do the same in his third big league start. The crowd included his parents and two brothers
Wheeler got the biggest cheer from fans when lineups were announced and then another roar after striking out two in the first with a fastball that ranged from 94-98 mph. But he didn't make it through five innings.
LaRoche quieted the crowd in the second with a drive off the facing of the second deck in right field on the first pitch. Unsettled, Wheeler walked Werth on four pitches and allowed an RBI double to Desmond.
Desmond laid off two sliders before sending a fastball into the right-center gap. One long fly out later, Suzuki singled through a drawn-in infield for a 3-0 lead. After Gonzalez struck out, Span doubled to left-center on a 93 mph fastball for the inning's final run.
Wheeler slowly walked off the mound to near silence. When Wheeler sat in the dugout, manager Terry Collins stopped by for a moment and the 23-year-old received pats of encouragement from pitching coach Dan Warthen and Harvey.
Werth homered to left-center on another fastball with two outs in the third and Wheeler was chased after walking LaRoche with two outs in the fifth, putting runners on first and third.
The sixth overall pick by San Francisco Giants in the 2009 amateur draft, Wheeler has had mixed results in the majors. He pitched six scoreless innings in his debut in Atlanta but gave up four runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings against the Chicago White Sox, an outing in which Collins said Wheeler was tipping his pitches.
This time Wheeler yielded five runs and six hits in 4 2-3 innings. He struck out five and walked two.
John Buck hit a two-run homer in the ninth for the Mets.
NOTES: The Mets finished June 11-15, Washington was 13-13. ... Washington OF Bryce Harper (left knee bursitis) went 0 for 3 with a walk and run scored in what was likely his final rehab outing for Double-A Harrisburg on Saturday. He batted .364 (4 for 11) with a double, triple and homer in four games. ... Nationals RHP Dan Haren (shoulder inflammation) had a bullpen session for first time since going on DL last week.
|NY Mets||4||Bottom 7th Inning|
|Boston||1||Bottom 2nd Inning|
|Toronto||0||Bottom 2nd Inning|
|Oklahoma City||7:00 PM|
|St. Louis||1||2nd Prd|
|Toronto||0||1st Prd 11:17|
|Dallas||1||1st Prd 10:34|
|NY Islanders||7:00 PM|
|Holy Cross||27||2nd Half|
|Western Ky||39||2nd Half|
|Temple||27||1st Half 6:34|
|Boston Univ||34||2nd Half|
|American Univ||23||2nd Half|
|Morehead State||36||2nd Half|
|USC Upstate||27||2nd Half|
|Fla Gulf Coast||25|
|Southern Ill||25||2nd Half|
|Texas State||6||1st Half 12:15|
|SC State||6:30 PM|
|Delaware State||3||1st Half 17:14|
|Middle Tennessee||12||1st Half 9:36|
|Texas-Arlington||28||1st Half 11:38|
|Norfolk State||6:30 PM|
|NC A&T||6:30 PM|
|Savannah State||7:00 PM|
|Southern Miss||7:00 PM|
|Georgia State||7:00 PM|
|Ark-Little Rock||7:15 PM|
|South Alabama||7:30 PM|
|Alabama State||7:30 PM|
|Alabama A&M||7:30 PM|
|Sam Houston St||7:30 PM|
|Central Arkansas||7:30 PM|
|Portland State||7:30 PM|
|Southern U||7:30 PM|
|Alcorn State||7:30 PM|
|Houston Baptist||7:30 PM|
|SE Louisiana||7:45 PM|
|Eastern Ill||8:00 PM|
|VA Commonwealth||8:00 PM|
|Miss Valley St||0|
|Sacramento St||8:00 PM|
|Northwestern St||8:00 PM|
|Stephen F Austin|
|North Texas||8:00 PM|
|Abilene Christian||8:00 PM|
|Eastern Wash||8:05 PM|
|Cal State Fullerton||9:00 PM|
|Long Beach State|
|UC Riverside||9:00 PM|
|(18) Texas A&M||57|
|East Tenn St||73|
|Virginia Tech||47||2nd Half 1:00|
|Gardner-Webb||63||2nd Half 2:22|
|Georgia||60||2nd Half 2:52|
|Ark-Little Rock||60||2nd Half 4:10|
|South Alabama||57||2nd Half 2:17|
|Sam Houston St||47||2nd Half 10:16|
|SE Louisiana||48||2nd Half 11:28|
|Northwestern St||32||2nd Half 12:22|
|Stephen F Austin||30|
|Alabama A&M||35||2nd Half 13:12|
|Alabama State||27||2nd Half 16:50|
|Southern U||48||2nd Half 15:48|
|Alcorn State||37||2nd Half 12:10|
|Miss Valley St||0|
|Wofford||41||2nd Half 7:17|
|Abilene Christian||34||2nd Half|
|La Salle||29||2nd Half|
|TX-San Antonio||28||1st Half 0:02|
|Missouri State||26||2nd Half|
|Georgia Tech||7:00 PM|
|(15) North Carolina|
|Florida Atlantic||7:00 PM|
|Texas-El Paso||7:00 PM|
|Wichita State||7:00 PM|
|San Francisco||8:00 PM|
|Idaho State||8:00 PM|
|Weber State||8:00 PM|
|Cal State Fullerton|
|Long Beach St||9:00 PM|
|UC Santa Barbara|
|UC Davis||9:00 PM|
|Northern Ariz||9:00 PM|
|Southern Utah||9:00 PM|
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