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Zack Wheeler, Mets roll past Nationals

New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler delivers

New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler delivers against the Washington Nationals during the first inning of an MLB baseball game at Citi Field on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Wheels was rolling, despite a few speedbumps.

Zack Wheeler – "Wheels" according to his players’ weekend uniform – continued his string of dominant outings, shutting out the Nationals over a gritty seven innings as the Mets turned their old rivals aside, 3-0, at Citi Field.

Amed Rosario hit a solo home run off Tanner Roark, his seventh of the year, in the sixth to give the Mets a one-run lead. Todd Frazier added a solo shot of his own in the seventh. Michael Conforto’s run-scoring single drove in Rosario in the eighth.

The woe-begotten Nationals, meanwhile, haven’t scored a run in 27 straight innings and fall to two games under .500 – meaning that both these teams, once considered heavy contenders for the division, could likely miss the playoffs.

Wheeler (9-6) managed to deftly escape a number of jams – perhaps a byproduct of the newfound confidence that Mickey Callaway said has been pivotal to his turnaround. He pitched seven innings, allowing no runs on six hits, with three walks and four strikeouts, along with a hit batsman.

“I think it’s just him getting more and more comfortable with the pitcher he is,” Callaway said. “He’s more confident than he’s ever been. He’s obviously executing pitches than he ever has. I think it’s a byproduct of him doing the right things.”

With the bases loaded and one out in the third, he got noted Mets-killer Anthony Rendon to pop out to short, and Juan Soto grounded out to Rosario for the force at second. Then, with one out in the fifth, Wheeler let up a single to Adam Eaton and walked Trea Turner, before inducing a double-play ball off the bat of Bryce Harper. 

New York Sports