“This is what [Roark’s] done all year,” bench coach Chris Speier said. “He shut down a really good baseball team offensively.”

Speier was acting as the Nationals’ manager for the day while Dusty Baker was away from the team due to a death in his family.

Speier dedicates Nats’ victory to Baker

“As we got into that ninth inning with a one-run lead, yeah, I got emotional,” said Speier, who said Baker was like his brother. “I was saying some powerful prayers. This one’s for Dusty.”

Bench coach Speier on 1-0 win

Bench coach Speier on 1-0 win

NYM@WSH: Bench coach Speier on a low scoring home win

Nationals bench coach Chris Speier, filling in for Dusty Baker, discusses late-game heroics from Wilson Ramos in the win over the Mets

The Cardinals and Giants also both lost Wednesday, so the Mets did not lose any ground in the National League Wild Card race, remaining a half-game ahead of St. Louis for the second spot and a half-game behind San Francisco for the top spot. New York received a strong outing from right-hander Robert Gsellman, who tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings as he continues to be a solid option for the rotation.

Mets turn two

Mets turn two

NYM@WSH: Gsellman K’s Werth, Turner caught stealing

Robert Gsellman strikes out Jayson Werth swinging and Rene Rivera catches Trea Turner stealing second for a double play

“You can’t get too [upset] because you didn’t lose any ground,” manager Terry Collins said of the Mets’ series loss. “We didn’t drop out. We’re still right where we are. And we’re going home in the Wild Card hunt. Our fans should be excited. It’s the last homestand. Our fans should come out and see what happens.”

Roark does it again: Roark was the odd man out of the rotation last season after the team signed Max Scherzer as a free agent, and his emergence has been among the Nationals’ most pleasant surprises. He tossed at least seven scoreless innings for the ninth time this season, the most in the Majors (Chicago’s Jake Arrieta has seven). He lowered his ERA to 2.75, the lowest mark in the Nationals’ rotation, and reached the 15-win plateau, matching his career high.

Murphy turns a double play

Murphy turns a double play

NYM@WSH: Murphy turns a 4-3 double play

Daniel Murphy fields T.J. Rivera’s ground ball, runs to second and throws to first to complete the double play in the top of the 6th

Deep freeze: The Mets never mustered a better opportunity against Roark than in the first inning, when two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out. The next batter, Jay Bruce, swung and missed at a fastball, fouled off a slider and then stared at a two-seamer that cut back over the heart of the plate. Moments later, T.J. Rivera flied out to end the threat. Bruce finished without an extra-base hit for the seventh consecutive game, a span of 30 plate appearances.

“I didn’t feel like I had a pitch that I could handle,” Bruce said. “I swung at two borderline pitches early, then he threw a front-door two-seamer to strike me out. Hindsight, I probably should have tried to take at least the first pitch, and see what happened. But they were all borderline. I feel like he made good pitches.” More >

Harper's sliding catch

Harper’s sliding catch

NYM@WSH: Harper makes a sliding catch in foul ground

With the bases loaded, Bryce Harper makes a terrific sliding catch to haul in T.J. Rivera’s fly ball to retire the Mets’ side in the 1st

Buffalo blast: After he had been so productive at the plate all season, hitting as high as .331 as recently as Aug. 16, Ramos had been scuffling lately as his batting average dropped nearly 30 points in the last month. So it would have been hard to blame Ramos for taking an extra moment to admire his towering homer in the seventh inning, his first since Aug. 28, as it traveled a Statcast™-projected 427 feet and left his bat at 110 mph.

“I’ve been concentrating on relaxing more at the plate,” Ramos said through an interpreter. “Concentrating on looking for my particular pitches and taking — these last three games I’ve felt very good taking my walks. I’ve been looking at a lot of pitches and been more selective, and I’ve just been feeling more comfortable and just more relaxed.” More >

Ramos' 427-foot go-ahead homer

Ramos’ 427-foot go-ahead homer

NYM@WSH: Ramos crushes 427-foot go-ahead home run

Wilson Ramos launches a 427-foot solo home run to left-center field in the bottom of the 7th inning to lead the Nationals over the Mets

Smoke alarm: Stuck in a scoreless game in the sixth inning, the Mets weren’t taking any chances despite Gsellman’s strong outing. With Roark on second and two outs, Collins brought in lefty specialist Josh Smoker to intentionally walk Daniel Murphy, preferring to face Bryce Harper — something Collins said he couldn’t have envisioned doing prior to the season. Smoker then attacked Harper, freezing him on a 96-mph fastball to reward Collins’ strategy.

Smoker strikes out Harper

Smoker strikes out Harper

NYM@WSH: Smoker K’s Harper to retire Nationals in 6th

With runners on first and second and two outs, Josh Smoker gets Bryce Harper looking on strikes to retire the Nationals side in the 6th

Murphy singled with two outs in the first inning, giving him a hit in all 19 games against the Mets this season. It’s the longest single-season hitting streak against any one team in the divisional era (1969).

Murphy continues streak vs. Mets

Murphy continues streak vs. Mets

NYM@WSH: Murphy singles in 19th straight against Mets

Daniel Murphy hits a sharp single in the 1st, hitting safely in all 19 games this season against his former team

Mets: The Mets will return to Queens for their final homestand of the regular season, a 10-game slate beginning Friday against the Twins. Bartolo Colon will start Friday’s 7:10 p.m. ET opener at Citi Field opposite 22-year-old right-hander Jose Berrios, who is roughly half his age.

Nationals: After an off-day Thursday, the Nationals will begin their final series at Turner Field on Friday night at 7:35 p.m. Max Scherzer will start on an extra day of rest as he aims to continue a season that has put him in contention for the NL Cy Young Award.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Source: Mets News / Mets can’t back Gsellman, hold steady in WC race