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.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
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