Zack Wheeler was long for this game. It seemed like a slight regression for him from the string of solid starts he'd been on, back to the Wheeler who was struggling with command, working too many deep counts, walking too many guys and basically burning himself out too early in the evening.
By the 7th inning, Wheeler was somehow still in the game, having settled himself down and willed himself through the middle innings allowing just about nothing to the Nationals, finishing his evening after 6.2 innings and 109 pitches allowing just 1 run. The Mets offense took advantage of some timely hitting and timely poor fielding in order to provide Wheeler with enough backing to virtually cruise to a 6-1 victory over the 1st place Nationals in the first game of a series that's probably slightly more crucial than some of us would like to believe. Or slightly less crucial than some of us actually hope it is.
Wheeler got himself in and out of trouble through most of the early innings of the game, allowing his lone run on a 2nd inning Wild Pitch, but somehow he escaped further damage when a line drive by Jose Lobaton fortuitously hit baserunner Asdrubal Cabrera. This was a shot that was probably ticketed for an RBI single or something similarly bad, but with this stroke of luck, Wheeler was able to get out of the inning. In the 3rd inning, he induced Jayson Werth to hit into a Double Play after giving up two singles to lead off the inning. He then allowed nothing until the 6th, when his defense helped him out again. Werth led off with a double and Boring Adam LaRoche followed with a single to left that appeared ticketed for a game-tying single, but for an unlikely Outfield Assist that came from Eric Campbell of all people, who charged the ball and threw out Werth at home with surprising ease. In the 7th, Wheeler finished his night by inducing yet another key Double Play from Steven Souza.
That, then, ended up the story of the night, as the team seemed to rally around each other to get themselves through this victory. When Wheeler struggled, his defense backed him up. Wheeler settled down and his offense got him some runs. Daniel Murphy chipped in with a 2-run ball that was generously scored a hit after Cabrera pretty much yakked on it and Lucas Duda drove home another run in the Mets 7th inning rally, and Wheeler helped his own cause by dunking in an RBI single in the 2nd inning. Everyone seemed to have some key contribution in this game, and it's particularly gratifying that they got their act together on this night after a rather dull weekend.