Bruce homers in return, Vargas pitches Mets past Nats 3-0

NEW YORK (AP) Didn't take long for a refreshed Jay Bruce to get right back in the swing of things.

Bruce hit a two-run homer in his return from an extended stay on the disabled list, Jason Vargas tossed six stellar innings and the New York Mets beat Washington 3-0 on Friday night to hand the Nationals their second consecutive shutout.

''Happy to help. It's good to be back. It makes you thankful to be here,'' Bruce said at his locker, still in full custom uniform with ''Bruuuce'' written across the back on Players Weekend.

Wilmer Flores had an early RBI single and the Mets got spotless relief work from Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman to finish a four-hitter.

The stingy pitching finally helped New York get the best of a familiar nemesis in Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez (7-11), who has lost nine of his last 10 decisions. The left-hander allowed only one run in seven innings but dropped to 11-2 with a 1.75 ERA at Citi Field and 15-6 against the Mets in his career.

''It's a beautiful, family-oriented ballpark,'' Gonzalez said. ''I just have this kind of feel for pitching here.''

Bruce was activated before the game after missing more than two months with a sore right hip, and the Mets plan to audition the veteran outfielder at first base down the stretch. But the three-time All-Star started at his regular spot in right field during his first big league game since June 17 and connected against lefty reliever Tim Collins in the eighth.

The drive to right-center was only the fourth home run this season for Bruce, who batted just .212 with 17 RBIs in 62 games before landing on the DL.

''Little bit of rejuvenation of getting up there, coming back, the lights, the energy, the fans, the balls - you name it, it's great,'' he said.

Featuring a deceptive changeup, Vargas (4-8) permitted three hits and struck out a season-high eight without issuing a walk.

The resurgent lefty, who entered with a 7.67 ERA, has put together two straight wins and three solid starts in a row late in his previously dismal season.

''I've been able to keep the ball down in the strike zone for the most part, and I think that usually leads to more success for me,'' he said.

Vargas fanned Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and rookie slugger Juan Soto, the 3-4-5 batters in Washington's lineup, in the fourth - part of six strikeouts in a span of seven hitters.

''We were just chasing a lot of pitches down,'' Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. ''When we face a guy that throws a good changeup, left-handed, we struggle against that.''

Lugo threw two perfect innings, striking out three, and Gsellman closed for his eighth save . After a one-out double by Anthony Rendon in the ninth, Gsellman struck out Harper and retired Zimmerman on a game-ending grounder.

Washington (64-65) was blanked 2-0 on Thursday by All-Star ace Aaron Nola and the Phillies. The Nationals have lost eight of 12 and been shut out 13 times this season, third-most in the majors.

''We have to start putting the ball in play and scoring some runs,'' Martinez said.

GREAT SAVE!

The jagged barrel of Harper's broken bat went flying six or seven rows into the stands behind New York's dugout in the first inning. With two young boys sitting next to him, perhaps in real danger, a man wearing a Mets jersey reached up and protected them by knocking away the sharp-edged lumber . It appeared nobody got hurt.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: Gonzalez got hit on the left ankle by a line drive in the sixth. Twice he was checked by a trainer and Martinez, but a limping, grimacing Gonzalez stayed in the game. ''It was a little tender. I was just thinking the whole time, just have to finish this inning, have to finish this inning,'' he said. ''I won't quite feel the result of it until tomorrow. ... If it wasn't for the padding on the cleat, would have been worse.'' ... Stephen Strasburg said he felt good after throwing about 40 pitches in a bullpen session, Martinez said, and the right-hander remains scheduled to make his next start. After missing a month with a pinched nerve in his neck, Strasburg returned Wednesday and lasted four innings against Philadelphia. ... Washington closer Sean Doolittle (left toe inflammation) threw on flat ground again and felt pretty good, Martinez said.

Mets: David Wright went 1 for 4 with a single in his ninth rehab game for Class A St. Lucie. He had two assists and a putout in nine innings at third base. The Mets' captain, who hasn't appeared in the majors since May 2016 because of back and shoulder injuries, is hitting .143 (4 for 28). ... C Devin Mesoraco sat out with neck stiffness. New York manager Mickey Callaway said Mesoraco had an MRI that revealed only muscular issues, so he won't need to go on the DL and he could catch in a pinch.

UP NEXT

Washington RHP Tanner Roark (8-12, 4.05 ERA) faces Mets RHP Zack Wheeler (8-6, 3.63) on Saturday afternoon. Roark is 5-0 with a 1.63 ERA in his past six starts. Wheeler, who beat the Nationals at home on July 14, is 6-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last seven outings.

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123456789RHE
WAS64-65
000000000040
NYM57-71
10000002X380
  • W: J. Vargas (4-8)L: G. Gonzalez (7-11)S: R. Gsellman (8)
  • HR: NYM - J. Bruce (4)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
T. Turner SS40000010.267.334.406.740-0.5
A. Rendon 3B40100000.291.352.497.8502.0
B. Harper RF-CF40000021.247.377.506.883-1.0
R. Zimmerman 1B40100021.260.330.520.8510.0
J. Soto LF30100010.288.407.510.9180.5
M. Wieters C30100002.240.323.363.6861.0
M. Taylor CF20000023.233.295.370.665-1.0
a- A. Eaton PH-RF10000000.288.371.389.7590.0
W. Difo 2B30000023.240.299.356.655-1.0
G. Gonzalez P20000021.071.071.095.167-1.0
b- A. Stevenson PH10000010.260.310.360.670-0.5
K. Glover P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
T. Collins P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
  • a-grounded out for Taylor in the 8th
  • b-struck out for G. Gonzalez in the 8th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
A. Rosario SS41100002.242.285.361.6464.0
J. McNeil 2B31100101.330.391.480.8715.0
W. Flores 1B40110002.278.331.444.7752.0
T. Frazier 3B40100022.233.310.413.7230.0
J. Bruce RF41121002.213.292.333.6257.0
A. Jackson CF40100011.274.330.363.6930.5
J. Bautista LF20000002.204.347.378.7251.0
S. Lugo P0000-000.091.167.091.000-
R. Gsellman P00000000.000.250.000.2500.0
K. Plawecki C30200000.234.340.392.7323.0
J. Vargas P10000012.118.167.118.284-0.5
M. Conforto LF10000000.235.346.407.7520.0
    BATTING
    • 2B - A. Rendon (32)
    • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - R. Zimmerman, W. Difo 2 (2), G. Gonzalez
    BATTING
    • 2B - K. Plawecki (11)
    • HR - J. Bruce (4)
    • SH - J. Vargas (3)
    • RBI - W. Flores (48), J. Bruce 2 (19)
    • 2-Out RBI - J. Bruce 2 (11)
    • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - A. Rosario 2 (2), J. Bruce, J. Bautista, J. Vargas 2 (2)
    BASERUNNING
    • SB - A. Rosario (15), J. McNeil (2)
    FIELDING
    • Outfield Assist - J. Soto (3)
    • DP - (Soto-Difo)
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    G. Gonzalez (L, 7-11)7.07110204.351.5212.0
    K. Glover0.20111107.202.40-1.5
    T. Collins0.11110112.931.50-1.5
    PITCHERSIP
    G. Gonzalez (L, 7-11)7.0
    K. Glover0.2
    T. Collins0.1
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    J. Vargas (W, 4-8)6.03000806.961.6129.0
    S. Lugo (H, 8)2.00000302.901.167.5
    R. Gsellman (S, 8)1.01000203.571.2010.0
    PITCHERSIP
    J. Vargas (W, 4-8)6.0
    S. Lugo (H, 8)2.0
    R. Gsellman (S, 8)1.0
    PITCHING
    • HBP - G. Gonzalez
    • Pitches-Strikes - G. Gonzalez 103-61, K. Glover 10-5, T. Collins 8-6
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - G. Gonzalez 5-13
    • Batters Faced - G. Gonzalez 28, K. Glover 3, T. Collins 2
    PITCHING
    • Pitches-Strikes - J. Vargas 91-57, S. Lugo 31-23, R. Gsellman 18-11
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Vargas 3-7, S. Lugo 2-1, R. Gsellman 1-0
    • Batters Faced - J. Vargas 21, S. Lugo 6, R. Gsellman 4
    PLAYERS OF THE GAME
    123456789RHE
    WAS64-65
    000000000040
    NYM57-71
    10000002X380
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    T. Turner SS40000010.267.334.406.740-0.5
    A. Rendon 3B40100000.291.352.497.8502.0
    B. Harper RF-CF40000021.247.377.506.883-1.0
    R. Zimmerman 1B40100021.260.330.520.8510.0
    J. Soto LF30100010.288.407.510.9180.5
    M. Wieters C30100002.240.323.363.6861.0
    M. Taylor CF20000023.233.295.370.665-1.0
    a- A. Eaton PH-RF10000000.288.371.389.7590.0
    W. Difo 2B30000023.240.299.356.655-1.0
    G. Gonzalez P20000021.071.071.095.167-1.0
    b- A. Stevenson PH10000010.260.310.360.670-0.5
    K. Glover P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
    T. Collins P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
    Total31040001311-----
    • a-grounded out for Taylor in the 8th
    • b-struck out for G. Gonzalez in the 8th
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    A. Rosario SS41100002.242.285.361.6464.0
    J. McNeil 2B31100101.330.391.480.8715.0
    W. Flores 1B40110002.278.331.444.7752.0
    T. Frazier 3B40100022.233.310.413.7230.0
    J. Bruce RF41121002.213.292.333.6257.0
    A. Jackson CF40100011.274.330.363.6930.5
    J. Bautista LF20000002.204.347.378.7251.0
    S. Lugo P0000-000.091.167.091.000-
    R. Gsellman P00000000.000.250.000.2500.0
    K. Plawecki C30200000.234.340.392.7323.0
    J. Vargas P10000012.118.167.118.284-0.5
    M. Conforto LF10000000.235.346.407.7520.0
    Total3038311414-----
      BATTING
      • 2B - A. Rendon (32)
      • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - R. Zimmerman, W. Difo 2 (2), G. Gonzalez
      BATTING
      • 2B - K. Plawecki (11)
      • HR - J. Bruce (4)
      • SH - J. Vargas (3)
      • RBI - W. Flores (48), J. Bruce 2 (19)
      • 2-Out RBI - J. Bruce 2 (11)
      • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - A. Rosario 2 (2), J. Bruce, J. Bautista, J. Vargas 2 (2)
      BASERUNNING
      • SB - A. Rosario (15), J. McNeil (2)
      FIELDING
      • Outfield Assist - J. Soto (3)
      • DP - (Soto-Difo)
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      G. Gonzalez (L, 7-11)7.07110204.351.5212.0
      K. Glover0.20111107.202.40-1.5
      T. Collins0.11110112.931.50-1.5
      Total8.0833141---
      PITCHERSIP
      G. Gonzalez (L, 7-11)7.0
      K. Glover0.2
      T. Collins0.1
      Total8.0
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      J. Vargas (W, 4-8)6.03000806.961.6129.0
      S. Lugo (H, 8)2.00000302.901.167.5
      R. Gsellman (S, 8)1.01000203.571.2010.0
      Total9.04000130---
      PITCHERSIP
      J. Vargas (W, 4-8)6.0
      S. Lugo (H, 8)2.0
      R. Gsellman (S, 8)1.0
      Total9.0
      PITCHING
      • HBP - G. Gonzalez
      • Pitches-Strikes - G. Gonzalez 103-61, K. Glover 10-5, T. Collins 8-6
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - G. Gonzalez 5-13
      • Batters Faced - G. Gonzalez 28, K. Glover 3, T. Collins 2
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - J. Vargas 91-57, S. Lugo 31-23, R. Gsellman 18-11
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Vargas 3-7, S. Lugo 2-1, R. Gsellman 1-0
      • Batters Faced - J. Vargas 21, S. Lugo 6, R. Gsellman 4
      • 8TH INNING
        Bruce homered to center, McNeil scored03
      • 1ST INNING
        Flores singled to left, Rosario scored01
      • 9TH INNING
        • Robert Gsellman relieved Seth Lugo
        • T. Turner: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Turner struck out swinging
        • A. Rendon: Foul, Foul, Ball, Rendon doubled to deep right center
        • B. Harper: Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Strike swinging, Harper struck out swinging
        • R. Zimmerman: Ball, Zimmerman grounded out to second
        • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 8TH INNING
        • Adam Eaton hit for Michael Taylor
        • A. Eaton: Foul, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Eaton grounded out to shortstop
        • W. Difo: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Difo struck out swinging
        • Andrew Stevenson hit for Gio Gonzalez
        • A. Stevenson: Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Stevenson struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • Koda Glover pitching
        • J. McNeil: Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, McNeil walked
        • W. Flores: Flores flied out to right
        • T. Frazier: Pickoff attempt, Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Frazier struck out swinging
        • Tim Collins relieved Koda Glover
        • J. Bruce: Ball, McNeil stole second, Strike looking, Bruce homered to center, McNeil scored
        • A. Jackson: Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Foul, Strike looking, Jackson struck out looking
        • End of the 8th (2 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 7TH INNING
        • Michael Conforto in left field
        • Seth Lugo pitching
        • R. Zimmerman: Strike swinging, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Zimmerman struck out swinging
        • J. Soto: Ball, Soto popped out to shortstop
        • M. Wieters: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Wieters grounded out to shortstop
        • Middle of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • G. Gonzalez Pitching:
        • K. Plawecki: Ball, Plawecki lined out to first
        • M. Conforto: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Conforto lined out to left
        • A. Rosario: Strike looking, Ball, Rosario flied out to center
        • End of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 6TH INNING
        • J. Vargas Pitching:
        • T. Turner: Strike looking, Turner lined out to center
        • A. Rendon: Foul, Rendon lined out to left
        • B. Harper: Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Harper lined out to second
        • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • G. Gonzalez Pitching:
        • T. Frazier: Strike looking, Ball, Frazier singled to left
        • J. Bruce: Strike looking, Bruce popped out to third
        • A. Jackson: Pickoff attempt, Ball, Jackson reached on fielder's choice to third, Frazier out at second
        • J. Bautista: Pickoff attempt, Foul, Ball, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Bautista flied out to deep left
        • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 5TH INNING
        • J. Vargas Pitching:
        • M. Wieters: Ball, Strike looking, Wieters singled to center
        • M. Taylor: Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Taylor struck out swinging
        • W. Difo: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Difo struck out swinging
        • G. Gonzalez: Foul, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Gonzalez struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 5th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
        • G. Gonzalez Pitching:
        • A. Rosario: Strike swinging, Rosario fouled out to first
        • J. McNeil: Ball, Ball, McNeil singled to center
        • W. Flores: Strike looking, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Pickoff attempt, Flores flied into double play left to second, McNeil out at second
        • End of the 5th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 4TH INNING
        • J. Vargas Pitching:
        • B. Harper: Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Harper struck out looking
        • R. Zimmerman: Strike swinging, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Zimmerman struck out swinging
        • J. Soto: Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Soto struck out looking
        • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • G. Gonzalez Pitching:
        • J. Bruce: Ball, Bruce grounded out to second
        • A. Jackson: Ball, Ball, Foul, Jackson flied out to deep right
        • J. Bautista: Ball, Bautista hit by pitch
        • K. Plawecki: Plawecki doubled to right, Bautista to third
        • J. Vargas: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Vargas struck out swinging
        • End of the 4th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 3RD INNING
        • J. Vargas Pitching:
        • G. Gonzalez: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Gonzalez struck out swinging
        • T. Turner: Ball, Ball, Turner grounded out to third
        • A. Rendon: Ball, Foul, Ball, Rendon flied out to deep center
        • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • G. Gonzalez Pitching:
        • J. McNeil: McNeil flied out to deep center
        • W. Flores: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Flores grounded out to second
        • T. Frazier: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Frazier struck out looking
        • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 2ND INNING
        • J. Vargas Pitching:
        • R. Zimmerman: Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Zimmerman singled to right center
        • J. Soto: Ball, Foul, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Soto singled to center, Zimmerman to second
        • M. Wieters: Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Wieters flied out to left
        • M. Taylor: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Taylor struck out swinging
        • W. Difo: Foul, Ball, Ball, Difo fouled out to catcher
        • Middle of the 2nd (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • G. Gonzalez Pitching:
        • A. Jackson: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Jackson singled to left
        • J. Bautista: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Bautista popped out to shortstop
        • K. Plawecki: Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Plawecki singled to right center, Jackson to second
        • J. Vargas: Ball, Strike looking, Vargas hit sacrifice bunt to pitcher, Jackson to third, Plawecki to second
        • A. Rosario: Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Foul, Rosario lined out to center
        • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 1ST INNING
        • J. Vargas Pitching:
        • T. Turner: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Turner grounded out to third
        • A. Rendon: Ball, Ball, Rendon flied out to center
        • B. Harper: Foul, Ball, Foul, Harper grounded out to shortstop
        • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • G. Gonzalez Pitching:
        • A. Rosario: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul, Rosario singled to right
        • J. McNeil: Ball, Ball, Rosario stole second, Foul, McNeil grounded out to second, Rosario to third
        • W. Flores: Strike looking, Ball, Flores singled to left, Rosario scored
        • T. Frazier: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Frazier lined out to center
        • J. Bruce: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Bruce flied out to center
        • End of the 1st (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)