WASHINGTON -- Tom Glavine was missing his best stuff. A pair of baserunning errors stopped a big inning cold. A few groundballs weren't fielded cleanly. The opposing pitcher was riding a 2½-month winning streak.
It took starter-turned-reliever Aaron Heilman to settle the team. He retired Guillen and preserved Glavine's victory with 2 1/3 scoreless innings in Wednesday night's 5-3 victory over the Washington Nationals.
"I certainly didn't leave him with an easy situation," Glavine said, "but he got us out of that inning."
The Mets tagged a laboring Livan Hernandez for four runs and eight hits, ending the All-Star right-hander's run of 11 consecutive winning decisions that equaled the franchise record. Hernandez (12-3) stalked the mound in frustration after some of his 125 pitches before leaving after Carlos Beltran's single to start the eighth, with a standing ovation following him to the dugout. It was his first loss since April 19, when he allowed six runs in a 6-3 loss to Florida.
"I'm not going to be perfect all the time," Hernandez said. "I'm happy for my work today, and I'll be better next time."
Mike Cameron homered in the first for the Mets, and three more runs followed in a sixth that would have been more productive if not for the baserunning errors. Glavine (6-7) pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed three runs and nine hits -- all singles -- for his 268th victory, tying Jim Palmer for 31st on the career list.
For a while, the Nationals hit virtually everything Glavine threw over the plate. He had an 0-1 count on just one of the 21 batters he faced in the first four innings. He finished with three walks, including one intentional, ending a streak of 11 starts with two walks or fewer.
"It wasn't easy," Glavine said. "They hit some decent pitches. They hit some mistakes, obviously, but it's the kind of game where you're just kind of battling to keep your team in the game."
He did so until the sixth. With the Mets leading 4-3, the Nationals loaded the bases with two walks and third baseman David Wright's error. Glavine was gone, and Heilman came on to face Guillen.
"I thought," Nationals second baseman Jose Vidro said, "we were going to take over the game right there."
But Guillen grounded to second. The inning was over, and Washington didn't threaten again. Heilman returned for the seventh and eighth, and Braden Looper pitched the ninth for his 19th save.
"It definitely stopped any momentum they were gaining in that inning," said Heilman, who began the year as a starter but has appeared only in relief since mid-May. "But Tom pitched a great game, and if a couple of balls bounce a little differently, I'm not even coming in."
The Nationals peppered Glavine with hits, but none of them went for extra bases. Washington got its only payoff with a three-run fourth, when Jamey Carroll took an outside pitch to right field for an RBI single and Brad Wilkerson singled to bring home two more runs.
"We still didn't have the right approach at Glavine tonight. ... We're still going out there trying to pull the ball, and that's when he kills you," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said.
With the Mets trailing 3-1 in the sixth, with none out and the bases loaded, Marlon Anderson knocked in a run with a broken-bat dribbler for an infield hit. Ramon Castro followed with a two-run single, but he strayed too far off first and was thrown out by Hernandez, who had been backing up home plate. Anderson then strayed too far on Miguel Cairo's lineout to right fielder Guillen, who threw to second for the double play.
"If you want to be a real good ballclub, a contending ballclub, you have to stay away from those type of mistakes," said Mets manager Willie Randolph, who also saw his infield make two errors and botch a double-play ball.
The Mets added a run in the eighth when Beltran scored on Anderson's sacrifice fly.
- For the second straight game, the Nationals used a cleanup hitter who doesn't have a home run this season. Carlos Baerga filled the role Tuesday and went 0-for-4; Wil Cordero gave it a try Wednesday and went 1-for-4, including a groundout with the bases loaded to end the third.
- Nationals closer Chad Cordero won the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Month Award for June. He went 15-for-15 in save chances with a 0.00 ERA last month. DHL, the award's sponsor, will donate $1,500 to a local chapter of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the official charity of Major League Baseball, in Cordero's name.