Jul 19, 2012, 10:20 PM EST
Associated Press photo
Gio Gonzalez was roughed up for six runs in only 3 1/3 innings.
At the end of a day that saw the Nationals activate one of their best relievers for the first time this season, part ways with a popular veteran outfielder, prepare to send their highest-paid player out on a rehab assignment, prepare their All-Star shortstop to return to the lineup, swap out backup catchers and see their top prospect return to the field for the first time in 3 1/2 months, the 3 hours and 1 minute spent slogging their way through a 9-5 loss to the Mets almost felt incidental in the big picture.
“It’s not always just a complete bad day,” manager Davey Johnson said. “There were a lot of good things that happened that I was really proud to see.”
Perhaps so, but that ballgame was as ugly as anything the Nationals have experienced in a while. With Gio Gonzalez roughed up for six early runs and the Mets building a 9-1 lead in the fourth, Johnson all but waved a white flag from his dugout perch and spent the rest of the afternoon resting some of his regulars while getting bench players and relievers much-needed work.
And still the Nationals found themselves in position to make things interesting late, bringing the tying run to the on-deck circle in both the eighth and ninth innings and forcing New York manager Terry Collins to use up four relievers to record the game’s final five outs.
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