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N.Y. Mets «000000111340
Washington000100000173

Tucker comes through with go-ahead homer against former team

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- The New York Mets got a tiebreaking homer from little-used Michael Tucker, 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief and a sliding grab on the gravel by Carlos Delgado for the final out.

The Washington Nationals made three fielding errors, star rookie Ryan Zimmerman committed a base-running gaffe and catcher Brian Schneider stormed out of the clubhouse with an expletive-laden tirade.

Any doubts as to which team has the National League's best record and which is last in the NL East?

On a Mets club filled with All-Stars and MVP candidates, it was spare part Tucker who came through with a solo shot in the eighth inning on the only pitch he saw Sunday to lift the Mets to a 3-1 victory over the Nationals.

Tucker was released by the Nationals in spring training, signed a minor league deal with the Mets in April and was called up Wednesday when Cliff Floyd went on the DL.

"Every day, it's a new guy," said New York's Jose Valentin, who added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly off Jon Rauch (3-3) in the ninth. "He was today. Tomorrow, who knows who it's going to be?"

The Mets got plenty of key contributions, including Delgado's nice play with two on and two outs in the ninth. Known more for his slugging than smooth fielding, he ran toward the stands, going from sunny territory into the shade, and reached out to catch Brandon Harper's foul popup. That finished off Billy Wagner's 28th save.

Then there was Steve Trachsel's 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball, the only blemish being Alfonso Soriano's 38th homer of the season and 200th of his career. And submariner Chad Bradford (4-2) got Soriano to ground out with the bases loaded, two outs and the score tied in the seventh.

"Very tough," Soriano said, "to pick up the ball."

Tucker had no such trouble on Rauch's fastball, connecting for his first homer in more than a year.

"Mainly all you're trying to do is get a good pitch and not miss it," said Tucker, who played down his connection to the Nationals, adding: "That's in the past. You can't dwell on that."

Tucker entered Sunday to play left field during a double-switch in the bottom of the seventh, when Bradford entered to face Soriano.

Bradford left after yielding a one-out single in the eighth to Zimmerman. When the next batter, Nick Johnson, lofted a lazy fly to center off Darren Oliver, Zimmerman -- thinking there were two outs -- rounded second and headed to third. The mistake allowed the Mets to complete the 8-4-3 double play, with second baseman Valentin jogging the ball most of the way over to first before flipping to Delgado.

"It was a hit-and-run, and I just thought there were two outs, so I just kept going, and that's it," Zimmerman said. "You feel pretty bad. By the time I realized it, there was nothing I could do."

Said Nationals manager Frank Robinson: "You're surprised anytime anything like that happens on a baseball field. Have I had it happen? Yes. Should it happen? No."

There were more miscues that upset Robinson, including errors by Schneider and second baseman Marlon Anderson that led to an unearned run in the seventh. He also didn't like the pitch Rauch threw Tucker.

"It wasn't location. It was selection of pitch, period," Robinson said. "That's all that is -- a catcher and a pitcher not being in tune with the situation."

Told about those remarks, Schneider responded: "There are 160 pitches a game and if he wants to say that about one pitch and one time during the game, he has that opinion, he is entitled to that opinion. Obviously you don't want to throw a pitch exactly where it was. If the pitch was in a different location we would've had a different result."

Moments later, Schneider was asked about his throwing error on David Wright's steal attempt that helped produce the Mets' tying run in the seventh. That's when the catcher began cursing and yelling and knocked over a chair on his way out of the room.

His club is 51-66, a year after winning 50 of its first 81 games and spending part of the summer in first place. The Mets, meanwhile, are 71-45, the fastest they've reached 70 wins since 1986, the last time they won the World Series.

"Today was one of those days where you kind of feel like you stole one," New York manager Willie Randolph said. "Real good teams do that."

Notes

  • Wagner's 312th save moved him into sole possession of 15th place on baseball's career list.
  • Tucker's last homer came July 17, 2005, for San Francisco at Los Angeles.
  • Washington has played eight consecutive games decided by three runs or fewer, going 2-6.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Felipe Lopez is clear for landing. Actually, he's trying to come down without falling on David Wright. (AP)
Felipe Lopez is clear for landing. Actually, he's trying to come down without falling on David Wright. (AP)

Players of the Game
Washington

T. Armas
IP 7.0
H 2
ER 0
BB 1
K 5
New York

M. Tucker
AB 1
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
 
New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS4000000 .295
Endy Chavez, RF4010010 .299
Carlos Beltran, CF2110200 .287
Carlos Delgado, 1B4000004 .251
David Wright, 3B4110013 .310
Jose Valentin, 2B3001000 .284
Ricky Ledee, LF3000011 .226
    Chad Bradford, P0000000 .000
    Darren Oliver, P0000000 .182
   a- Julio Franco, PH1000001 .282
    Billy Wagner, P0000000 .000
Mike DiFelice, C2000010 .000
   b- Paul Lo Duca, PH-C1000000 .316
Steve Trachsel, P2000020 .105
    Royce Ring, P0000000 .000
    Michael Tucker, LF1111000 .300
Totals31342269 
a-lined out for Oliver in the 9th
b-grounded out for DiFelice in the 8th
Batting
HR - Michael Tucker (1, Rauch)
SF - Jose Valentin (4)
RBI - Jose Valentin (49), Michael Tucker (3)
SB - David Wright (15, 3rd base off Armas/Schneider)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Carlos Beltran 1
DP - Beltran-Valentin-Delgado
New York Mets
Steve Trachsel 6.2511141 4.84
Royce Ring0000100 5.40
Chad Bradford (W,4-2) 0.2100010 3.19
Darren Oliver (H,3) 0.2000000 2.03
Billy Wagner (S,28) 1100110 2.44
Pitches-Strikes - Steve Trachsel 98-58, Royce Ring 4-0, Chad Bradford 15-9, Darren Oliver 1-1, Billy Wagner 26-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Steve Trachsel 8-8, Chad Bradford 1-0, Billy Wagner 1-1
Batters Faced - Steve Trachsel 26, Royce Ring 1, Chad Bradford 3, Darren Oliver 1, Billy Wagner 5
Washington Nationals
Alfonso Soriano, LF4111013 .289
Felipe Lopez, SS4000020 .268
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B3020100 .291
Nick Johnson, 1B4000012 .290
Austin Kearns, RF4000001 .267
Ryan Church, CF4000010 .240
Marlon Anderson, 2B4020000 .270
Brian Schneider, C3020000 .235
   a- Alex Escobar, PH0000100 .345
    Bernie Castro, PR0000000 .125
Tony J. Armas, P2000011 .086
   b- Daryle Ward, PH0000100 .330
    Damian Jackson, PR0000000 .204
    Jon Rauch, P0000000 .000
    Saul Rivera, P0000000 .000
   c- Brandon Harper, PH1000002 .333
Totals33171369 
a-walked for Schneider in the 9th
b-walked for Armas in the 7th
c-fouled out for Rivera in the 9th
Batting
2B - Ryan Zimmerman (37, Trachsel)
HR - Alfonso Soriano (38, Trachsel)
RBI - Alfonso Soriano (76)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - Marlon Anderson (8, ), Austin Kearns (4, ), Brian Schneider (4, )
Washington Nationals
Tony J. Armas 7210150 4.72
Jon Rauch (L,3-3) 1.2222111 3.22
Saul Rivera 0.1000000 4.18
WP - Tony J. Armas (6), Jon Rauch (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Tony J. Armas 98-60, Jon Rauch 31-21, Saul Rivera 4-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tony J. Armas 7-10, Jon Rauch 1-3
Batters Faced - Tony J. Armas 25, Jon Rauch 8, Saul Rivera 1
Game Information
Attendance - 37732
Game Time - 2:59
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Tim Tschida, First Base - Laz Diaz, Second Base - Ted Barrett, Third Base - Adam Dowdy