New York at Washington

Scoreboard
N.Y. Mets (83-67)4010200018160
Washington (68-83) «01115100x9130

Mets blow lead vs. Nationals, losing streak at five, lead down to 1½

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- After making 10 errors in a two-game span, the skidding New York Mets figured they had to regroup.

So they held a team meeting Tuesday afternoon before playing Washington, determined to turn themselves around in time to hold off second-place Philadelphia in the NL East.

It didn't help.

John Maine squandered a big lead and the Mets' losing streak reached five games Tuesday night when their ninth-inning rally fell short in a 9-8 loss to the Nationals.

"Everyone did their job but me," Maine said. "I didn't hold my end up."

New York got 16 hits, three in the ninth inning when they scored once against closer Chad Cordero to make it 9-8. But pinch-hitter Ruben Gotay struck out with runners at the corners to end it.

Gotay slammed his bat on the plate, the perfect picture of frustration right now for the Mets, whose lead over Philadelphia is down to just 1½ games after the Phillies beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-4 in 14 innings.

It's the Mets' smallest lead since a 1½-game edge on Atlanta after games of July 16.

They had a seven-game cushion after games of Sept. 12. No major league team has failed to finish in first place after leading by seven or more games on Sept. 12 or later.

Just before batting practice, manager Willie Randolph spoke briefly to his team, then the players took the floor. Randolph, who before the game took offense to the suggestion that he's too placid publicly, said team meetings aren't any sort of elixir.

"If we win, everyone thinks they work," Randolph said. "We got together because we're a team and we stick together."

New York started strong again, building leads of 4-0 and 7-3 for Maine. But Ronnie Belliard's three-run homer capped a five-run fifth that gave Washington an 8-7 lead, and pinch-hitter D'Angelo Jimenez added a solo shot in the sixth off Scott Schoeneweis.

"Chip away, little by little, and maybe we have a chance to give a big blow to the opposite team," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "On back-to-back nights, it's pretty incredible, considering we have a tough time scoring five runs in a game."

The Mets also lost left fielder Moises Alou in the fifth with tightness in his left quadriceps muscle after he hustled to first base on an infield single. Alou missed more than two months this season with a strained left quadriceps before returning in late July. After the game, Alou said he expected to play Wednesday.

New York has been without slugger Carlos Delgado since Sept. 5 because of a strained right hip flexor, and pitcher Orlando Hernandez could miss the rest of the regular season with a sore right foot. He must wear a protective boot on his foot for seven to 10 days.

The Mets played errorless defense this time but Maine (14-10) allowed a career-high eight runs in 4 1/3 innings to the suddenly dangerous Nationals, who have scored 21 runs in their past two games.

"Ninety-nine percent of the time, we win this game," New York third baseman David Wright said. "We take a lot of positives from this. We played extremely well defensively. It was one of the best games of the season offensively."

Nook Logan and Felipe Lopez singled to start the Washington fifth. Wily Mo Pena and Austin Kearns each hit an RBI single before Belliard teed off for a long three-run homer over the left-field bullpen.

It was Belliard's 11th home run of the year. He finished with three hits.

Jesus Colome (5-1), the fourth of nine Nationals pitchers, worked a scoreless sixth for the win. Cordero earned his 35th save in 44 chances.

The Mets took a 4-0 lead for the second consecutive night in Washington, though on Monday the Nationals scored 12 straight runs in a 12-4 victory.

This time, Jose Reyes drew a leadoff walk from Washington's Joel Hanrahan in the first inning. One out later, Wright hit an RBI double and Carlos Beltran had a run-scoring single. Beltran scored on Paul Lo Duca's bases-loaded sacrifice fly, and Endy Chavez added an RBI single.

Kearns led off the second with his 14th home run. Shawn Green hit his second homer in two nights for New York in the third, a solo shot that made it 5-1.

Washington scored in the third when Logan tripled and scored on Lopez's sacrifice fly. The Nationals cut it to 5-3 in the fourth on a run-scoring single by Brian Schneider.

Lo Duca had an RBI double in the fifth, and Chavez's run-scoring single made it 7-3.

"I think we played pretty well," Wright said. "We made steps in the right direction. You take away one inning. We didn't play all nine. We played seven or eight. It wasn't enough."

Notes

  • Alou extended his hitting streak to 22 games, one shy of his career best. It's the longest hitting streak by a player in his 40s.
  • The Mets purchased the contract of LHP Dave Williams from Triple-A New Orleans and designated RHP Brian Lawrence for assignment.
  • Washington 1B Dmitri Young missed his third game after getting hit with a hard one-hopper Saturday. He had an MRI. No structural damage was found.
  • The Nationals have five pinch-hit home runs this season -- three in the past four games.
  • Mets INF Marlon Anderson was suspended two games by the commissioner's office for throwing equipment Saturday. He appealed. He struck out as a pinch-hitter with two outs in the seventh inning.
 
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Wily Mo Pena, Austin Kearns meet Ronnie Belliard at home plate after Belliard sends off a 3-run shot.  (AP)
Wily Mo Pena, Austin Kearns meet Ronnie Belliard at home plate after Belliard sends off a 3-run shot. (AP)

Players of the Game
Washington

R. Belliard
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
New York

S. Green
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
 

Related Video

New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS4000101 .288
Luis Castillo, 2B4110101 .297
David Wright, 3B5121002 .313
Carlos Beltran, CF5111032 .281
Moises Alou, LF3120000 .338
    Lastings Milledge, PR-RF^LF2100000 .280
Shawn Green, 1B-RF4231100 .285
Paul Lo Duca, C4122001 .272
    Carlos Gomez, PR0000000 .243
Endy Chavez, RF-LF3032000 .276
   a- Jeff Conine, PH-1B2021000 .256
John Maine, P2000013 .115
    Scott Schoeneweis, P0000000 .000
    Guillermo Mota, P0000000 .000
   b- Ramon Castro, PH0000000 .282
   c- Marlon Anderson, PH1000012 .292
    Aaron Heilman, P0000000 .000
    Pedro Feliciano, P0000000 .000
   d- Ruben Gotay, PH1000012 .303
Totals40816836  
a-singled for Chavez in the 7th
b-announced for Mota in the 7th
c-struck out for Castro in the 7th
d-struck out for Feliciano in the 9th
Batting
2B - David Wright 2 (37, Hanrahan, Bacsik), Paul Lo Duca (16, Abreu)
HR - Shawn Green (10, Hanrahan)
SF - Paul Lo Duca (8)
SH - John Maine (13)
RBI - David Wright (99), Carlos Beltran (102), Shawn Green (45), Paul Lo Duca 2 (49), Endy Chavez 2 (17), Jeff Conine (37)
2-OUT RBI - Endy Chavez (6), Jeff Conine (16)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Castillo-Green
New York Mets
John Maine (L,14-10) 4.11188262 4.04
Scott Schoeneweis 1.1111001 5.30
Guillermo Mota 0.1000000 6.02
Aaron Heilman 1000000 3.16
Pedro Feliciano 1100000 2.87
Pitches-Strikes - John Maine 88-54, Scott Schoeneweis 19-11, Guillermo Mota 4-2, Aaron Heilman 12-8, Pedro Feliciano 10-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Maine 3-3, Scott Schoeneweis 1-2, Guillermo Mota 1-0, Aaron Heilman 2-1, Pedro Feliciano 2-1
Batters Faced - John Maine 25, Scott Schoeneweis 4, Guillermo Mota 1, Aaron Heilman 3, Pedro Feliciano 4
Washington Nationals
Nook Logan, CF5220001 .271
Felipe Lopez, SS2101110 .240
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4010012 .268
Wily Mo Pena, LF4111001 .247
Austin Kearns, RF4222010 .266
Ronnie Belliard, 2B4233000 .289
Robert Fick, 1B3020111 .227
Brian Schneider, C3011011 .234
Joel Hanrahan, P0000000 .308
   a- Ryan Langerhans, PH1000010 .160
    Mike Bacsik Jr., P0000000 .107
   b- Justin Maxwell, PH1000002 .286
    Winston Abreu, P0000000 .000
    Jesus Colome, P0000000 .000
   c- D'Angelo Jimenez, PH1111000 .233
    Saul Rivera, P0000000 .000
    Arnie Munoz, P0000000 .000
    Chris Schroder, P0000000 .000
    Jon Rauch, P0000000 .000
   d- Tony Batista, PH1000001 .264
    Chad Cordero, P0000000 .000
Totals33913926  
a-struck out for Hanrahan in the 3rd
b-flied out for Bacsik in the 4th
c-homered for Colome in the 6th
d-flied out for Rauch in the 8th
Batting
2B - Ryan Zimmerman (39, Maine)
3B - Nook Logan (4, Maine)
HR - Austin Kearns (14, Maine), Ronnie Belliard (11, Maine), D'Angelo Jimenez (2, Schoeneweis)
SF - Felipe Lopez (5)
SH - Brian Schneider (4)
RBI - Felipe Lopez (49), Wily Mo Pena (36), Austin Kearns 2 (62), Ronnie Belliard 3 (52), Brian Schneider (49), D'Angelo Jimenez (10)
2-OUT RBI - Brian Schneider (11)
PK - Ronnie Belliard (2, Maine)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Belliard-F. Lopez-Fick
Washington Nationals
Joel Hanrahan 3755211 6.45
Mike Bacsik Jr. 1100010 4.82
Winston Abreu 1322000 6.14
Jesus Colome (H,12; W,5-1) 1000010 3.47
Saul Rivera (H,17) 0.2100000 3.80
Arnie Munoz0100000 0.00
Chris Schroder (H,1) 0.1000010 2.53
Jon Rauch (H,30) 1000100 3.76
Chad Cordero (S,35) 1311020 3.13
Pitches-Strikes - Joel Hanrahan 67-39, Mike Bacsik Jr. 14-9, Winston Abreu 22-16, Jesus Colome 14-8, Saul Rivera 13-8, Arnie Munoz 7-4, Chris Schroder 4-3, Jon Rauch 11-5, Chad Cordero 30-21
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joel Hanrahan 4-4, Mike Bacsik Jr. 2-0, Winston Abreu 2-1, Jesus Colome 1-1, Saul Rivera 1-1, Jon Rauch 2-0
Batters Faced - Joel Hanrahan 18, Mike Bacsik Jr. 4, Winston Abreu 6, Jesus Colome 3, Saul Rivera 3, Arnie Munoz 1, Chris Schroder 1, Jon Rauch 3, Chad Cordero 6
Game Information
Attendance - 19966
Game Time - 3:16
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Larry Vanover, First Base - Chad Fairchild, Second Base - Tony Randazzo, Third Base - Greg Gibson