NEW YORK -- Right-hander Brad Peacock made his first Major League start a successful one, as the Nationals blanked the Mets, 2-0, at Citi Field on Wednesday night.
When Peacock, the Nationals' Minor League Pitcher of the Year, was promoted to the big leagues last week, the plan was to put him in the bullpen for the rest of the season. But manager Davey Johnson had a change of heart, electing to give him a start against the Mets.
Peacock's outing was nothing like his first, in which he allowed one run and one hit in 1 1/3 innings against the Dodgers last week. Instead he earned the first victory of his big league career by pitching five shutout innings, allowing two hits, walking three and striking out two.
Johnson announced that Peacock will get one more start sometime next week, though a date has not been finalized.
Even though his first start was in the Big Apple, Peacock wasn't nervous.
"To tell you the truth, I thought I was going to be nervous, but just like my last outing, once I made that first pitch, I was fine," Peacock said. "I made sure I took deep breaths out there. I settled in nicely."
Peacock threw three no-hit innings before running into trouble in the fourth, when he allowed a single and two walks to load the bases. Catcher Jesus Flores and shortstop Ian Desmond went to the mound to give Peacock a breather and told him to focus on keeping the ball down.
The pep talk worked, as Peacock was able to get Josh Satin to pop up to third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to end the threat.
"I was real impressed," Johnson said about Peacock. "He showed a lot of poise. He didn't get flustered. He had to go through the lineup, it seemed. He still made good pitches. ... That was big."
Peacock remembered Satin from their days in the Minors and had an idea how to get him out.
"Satin is a good hitter, and I faced him a bunch in the Minor Leagues," Peacock said. "I knew I had to be smart. I threw a good changeup. Fortunately, he popped it up."
The Nationals gave Peacock run support in the third inning off Mets right-hander Mike Pelfrey thanks to consecutive RBI singles by Michael Morse and Jayson Werth.
"I made two mistakes," said Pelfrey, who pitched seven strong innings. "The pitch to Jayson Werth was a fastball that was supposed to be up, and it was right over the middle. And Morse, that was a sinker in, and it ended up being right down the middle. I made mistakes there, and they made me pay."
After Peacock left the game, relievers Tom Gorzelanny, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen blanked New York the rest of the way, with Storen picking up his 37th save of the season.
Storen, however, made it interesting the ninth, walking Jason Bay and Willie Harris to start the inning, but he got Justin Turner to pop up for the first out and induced Jason Pridie to hit into a force play to put runners on first and third.
Up came Jose Reyes, who hit a 2-0 pitch to the gap in left-center. It looked as though the ball was going to drop for at least a two-run double, but center fielder Rick Ankiel had other ideas, diving and making a sensational diving catch to end the game.
After the game ended, according to Johnson, Storen said, "Don't worry, Skip. I had it all the way."
Even so, Storen acknowledged that he didn't think Ankiel was going to catch that ball.
"I don't think there is any camera angle other than the one I had, that you can really describe how awesome that was," Storen said. "It's hit, and it's in the gap. That last 20 feet, he was able to get to that ball because it was fading toward the gap. That was one of the best catches I've ever seen. ... I told Rick I owe him a couple of dinners after some of those plays he made for me this year."
Ankiel felt that he had a good jump on the ball.
"When you are going, you don't always know. Your angles can sometimes change. If, at the last second, I know I can't get there, then I kind of have to break back and try to stop it from getting to the wall. But as I got closer, I had a shot."
The Nationals improved their record to 70-77 and are now tied for third place with the Mets in the National League East. It is the fourth time since moving to Washington that the Nationals recorded at least 70 wins.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.