NEW YORK (AP) — Gio Gonzalez has kidded about what makes him so successful at Citi Field — the Latin cuisine in the clubhouse, the jets that fly overhead, the odd angles and neat architecture.
His career record at the New York Mets’ home is no joke: 11-1 with a 1.78 ERA.
Gonzalez won again at his home away from home, Trea Turner kept Washington in gear all game and the Nationals beat the Mets 5-2 Tuesday night.
“Food, I don’t know, airplanes,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a beautiful ballpark.”
A day after topping the Mets with an eighth-inning rally from a five-run deficit, the Nationals never trailed. Bryce Harper put them ahead early with a sacrifice fly and slumping Ryan Zimmerman hit a late RBI single for insurance.
“You always want to keep the momentum,” Gonzalez said.
The Nationals seem to like Citi Field, too, and are now a whopping 51-19 at the park since 2011.
The Mets, whose 12-3 start had matched the best in team history, lost back-to-back games for the first time under new manager Mickey Callaway.
“We had a few opportunities. We were one swing away a few times. We just didn’t get it done,” Callaway said.
The disappointing defeat the previous night seemed to leave many Mets fans in a panic, as if the charmed start was somehow a mirage. Before this game, Callaway said that kind of passion “makes it fun, actually.”
Turner doubled twice, singled and walked, scoring two runs and stealing his major league-leading eighth base. He helped the two-time NL East champion Nationals get back to .500 after an extended rough patch.
“When he starts doing that, he’s fun to watch,” manager Dave Martinez said.
Gonzalez (2-1) was the only player on the field in short sleeves on a chilly, breezy night. He allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings, avoiding big trouble despite eight hits and two walks.
Gonzalez also managed to knock down Wilmer Flores’ line-drive single without it causing any damage, though it caught a piece of his glove hand.
Juan Lagares remained a nemesis for Gonzalez. Lagares went 2 for 2 with a walk and raised his career average against the lefty to .413 — Lagares’ 19 hits are the most Gonzalez has given up to any batter.
Zack Wheeler (1-1) gave up three runs in six innings in his second start of the season. Hit hard by the Nationals in his final two spring training outings, he began in the year in the minors.
“I thought I did OK,” he said.
Wheeler did his part at the plate, getting two hits off Gonzalez.
“He got a little frustrated because he couldn’t get the pitcher out,” Martinez said.
The expressive Gonzalez made sure his displeasure wasn’t misinterpreted, however. He had a quick talk with the plate umpire before taking the mound in the fifth, telling the ump any adverse reactions weren’t personally directed at him.
“That was on me,” Gonzalez said.
The Mets threatened late, but relievers Sammy Solis, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler escaped jams. Sean Doolittle closed for his third save.
The Mets called up RHP Gerson Bautista from Double-A Binghamton and optioned RHP Hansel Robles to Triple-A Las Vegas. The 22-year-old Bautista, acquired from Boston last summer for reliever Addison Reed, made his major league debut and pitched a scoreless ninth, giving up a double and walk.
Robles was 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in eight games. He gave up Howie Kendrick’s homer in the ninth Monday night. “He probably didn’t deserve to go down,” Callaway acknowledged.
The Nationals put OF Brian Goodwin (bruised left wrist) on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to Monday. He hit .250 in 13 games. OF Andrew Stevenson was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse. He batted .158 in 37 games for Washington last year.
Nationals: 3B Anthony Rendon (bruised left big toe) is slowly progressing after fouling a ball off his foot Friday, Martinez said.
Mets: OFs Jay Bruce (plantar fasciitis) returned to the lineup after missing two starts. … LHP Jason Vargas (broken bone, glove hand) threw six hitless innings and struck out 12 in an intrasquad game, pitching from behind a screen in a controlled setting. He’ll next pitch in a minor league game in five days.
Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (1-1, 3.50 ERA) starts as the Nats go for a sweep Wednesday. He got a no-decision vs. the Mets this month, giving up five runs in five innings and fanning nine.
Mets: LHP Steven Matz (1-1, 3.77) got a no-decision at Washington this month, striking out eight in five innings without allowing an earned run. He is 1-2 with a 1.85 ERA in five career starts vs. the Nationals.
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