The Mets struck for four in the 8th and two more in the 9th to hand the Nats their third straight defeat, 7-5 in Viera.
Early on, the game was a pitcher’s duel between a pair of pitchers looking to make their team’s starting rotation as the #5 man, as Ross Detwiler faced off against Daisuke Matsusaka.
Denard Span doubled, stole third, and came around on a Bryce Harper groundout to score the Nats first run.
Detwiler pitched into the 4th, but couldn’t hold the 1-0 lead. The 27-year-old southpaw gave up two of three hits he allowed in the 4th, with David Wright plating the equalizer with two outs on an RBI double and chasing the Nats’ 2007 1st Rd. pick from the game. Detwiler walked one and fanned two in his third appearance.
Christian Garcia followed Detwiler and walked the first batter he faced but stranded Wright and his free pass with a flyout to second batter he faced, then struck out two in a 1-2-3 fifth inning.
After the Nats took a 2-1 lead on an error in the 7th, the Mets took control with a four-run outburst against NRI reliever Manny Delcarmen, who retired one of six batters faced and while putting the other five on via walk (three times) or base hit (two singles), and minor-league veteran Rob Gilliam, who let in two of three inherited runners via a wild pitch and a sac fly before ending the inning.
Brock Peterson cashed in a pair of walks issued to Steve Souza and Emmanuel Burris to the game at 5-5 with an Earl Weaver special.
Gilliam was lifted for Brian Dupra after giving up a two-out single. The Mets victimized the final Nats reliever with a single-walk-single sequence that drove in the final two New York runs. Stephen Perez drew a leadoff walk and Eury Perez singled two batters later to get the tying runs on with one out but neither Souza nor Burriss could get the ball out of the infield as both popped up for the final two outs.
The Nationals hit the road for the next two days before splitting the squads again on Sunday (one home, one away).
As for the third round of cuts mentioned in the headline: Prior to today’s game LHP Matt Purke and OF Michael Taylor were both optioned to Harrisburg, while LHP Danny Rosenbaum and RHPs Clay Hensley, Daniel Stange, and Josh “Do You Know Who My Brother-In-Law Is?” Roenicke were reassigned to minor-league camp.
The pare-down slices the MLB camp roster to 49 players with 15 games left for the spring and 18 days until the season opener in New York.