Wheeler came into today with a 1.38 earned-run average and a .188/.233/.246 slash line against over his last six starts and had his season ERA down to 3.63.
With seven scoreless innings today (four strikeouts, three walks, 109 pitches, 64 strikes) the 28-year-old lowered his ERA to 3.46 and now has a 1.17 ERA with 44 strikeouts and 10 walks over his last seven starts.
The Mets bullpen made that stand up, sent the Nats to their third consecutive shutout, and are now 26-23 since July 1 and 14-11 in August.
The Nats went down in order in the second. During the frame, Zack Wheeler notched his 500th strikeout as a Met with his punchout of Matt Wieters on a 96 MPH fastball that absolutely painted the corner.
Wheeler ran into some control issues in the third, issuing a one-out walk to Eaton and falling behind 3-1 on Trea Turner before his base hit, sending Eaton to third and bringing up Bryce Harper.
Turner stole second, and Wheeler went to a full count before walking Harper to load the bases for Rendon. Rendon lined out to Amed Rosario and Harper barely got back to first in time to beat the double play throw. Soto then grounded out to short, and Rosey stepped on the bag to end the threat.
Eaton reached base for the third time with a one-out single in the fifth, then Wheeler issued his third walk of the game to Turner, again bringing up Harper with runners on base.
After getting ahead 0-2, Wheeler got him to hit a sharp grounder to Rosario, who stepped on the bag and fired to first for the inning-ending double play.
At 72 pitches entering the sixth, the 28-year-old allowed a one-out infield single to Soto but struck out Zimmerman and Plawecki nailed Soto trying to steal second to end the inning.
Wheeler began the seventh with 91 pitches thrown (54 for strikes) and allowed a leadoff single to Wieters.
After a Difo sacrifice bunt moved Wieters to second, Andrew Stevenson, pinch-hitting for Roark, popped out into foul territory (terrific play by Plawecki against the netting between home plate and the third-base dugout.
Wheeler nailed Eaton with a first-pitch, 97 MPH fastball to put him on base for the fourth time and move the tying run into scoring position, but the right-hander got Turner to ground out and finished his day stranding two more Nats baserunners.
Wheeler’s final line was seven innings pitched, allowing no runs on six hits and three walks, with four strikeouts.
The 24-year-old induced a line out from Rendon and Soto was thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a double on a strike from Austin Jackson, who was double-switched into the center field before the inning, to end the frame.
Jeff McNeil extended his hitting streak to ten straight games with a one-out base hit in the first then stole second with Michael Conforto at the plate. Conforto struck out and Flores grounded out to leave him stranded.
Jay Bruce, playing in right field today, notched his first hit since returning to the team on Friday, a double with one out in the bottom of the second, but was left on base after Jose Bautista flew out and Kevin Plawecki went down swinging.
Amed Rosario lined a single into right field with one out in the third but was caught stealing after a Jeff McNeil pop out to end the inning.
The Mets went down in order in the fourth and fifth before finally getting on the board in the sixth with a one-out solo shot to left-center courtesy of Amed Rosario, his seventh of the season, to put the Mets ahead 1-0.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Todd Frazier gave the Mets some cushion with a deep solo homer to left, his third in four games, to put the Mets ahead 2-0.
Facing Greg Holland, Plawecki led off the eighth with a single to left, was erased on Rosario’s groundout. Matt Grace replaced Holland and allowed a two-out single to McNeil, his second hit of the day, to move Rosey to third.
Michael Conforto, 0-for-3 on the afternoon, shot an opposite-field single to bring home Rosario and give the Mets a 3-0 lead.
The game will be televised on SNY and broadcast on 710 WOR.