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Washington at New York

N.Y. Mets
W: J. Hanrahan (5-3) L: J. Smith (3-2)
S: L. Ayala (1)
HR: WAS - R. Church (15)   NYM - C. Beltran (31), M. Alou (13), C. Beltran (32)

Mets blow five-run lead to Nationals, see East lead cut to one

CBSSports.com wire reports

NEW YORK -- With their pitching staff in tatters, the free-falling Mets are flirting with an historic collapse.

New York wasted two homers by Carlos Beltran and another from Moises Alou, blowing a five-run cushion Wednesday night in a 9-6 loss to the Washington Nationals that sliced its NL East lead to one game over Philadelphia with four to play.

"It's hard to believe," Beltran said. "Unbelievable."

The Phillies, who beat Atlanta 5-2, haven't been this close to first place since they lost on opening day. It's the Mets' slimmest margin since they were a half-game in front before play on May 17.

New York led by seven games, with 17 to play, after beating Atlanta on Sept. 12. No major league team has failed to finish first after having at least a seven-game advantage with 17 remaining.

"We all feel terrible for ourselves as a team right now that we can't really close the deal," manager Willie Randolph said. "But we still have time. We're not giving in."

Betrayed by a brutal bullpen and ineffective starting pitching, New York has dropped six straight home games and nine of 13 overall.

Fans have started to turn on the not-so-Amazin's, too. Many in the crowd of 51,940 booed throughout the late innings as New York flopped once more against a fourth-place team.

"It's late in the season, guys are tired, we're running on fumes," David Wright said. "It's not an excuse. We need to go out there and finish strong and dig down deep and really do some soul-searching because we're going to have to finish with a flurry."

Ryan Church homered and drove in four runs for the feisty Nationals, who completed a three-game sweep at Shea Stadium and improved to 5-1 against the Mets in a 10-day span.

Washington (72-87) surpassed last year's win total, split the season series with the Mets 9-all and clinched a winning record in September for the second consecutive year.

After a six-run rally in the ninth inning Tuesday left the Mets just short in a 10-9 loss, they jumped out quickly in this one.

Beltran and Alou hit consecutive homers in the first inning and the Mets built a 5-0 cushion after three. They handed it to Philip Humber, who made his first major league start because New York still wants to give Pedro Martinez extra rest between outings after his return from shoulder surgery.

The Mets said they tabbed Humber in this pressure-packed game because he was the best option available. But after a nice start, he wasn't much help -- and neither was the bullpen.

The Nationals, who began the night with the fewest runs in the majors, scored 57 in their final six games against New York.

"Most of the things that are happening are out of Willie Randolph's hands," said Washington manager Manny Acta, Randolph's third base coach the past two years in New York.

Humber walked the leadoff batter in the fourth, then gave up Church's two-run shot. Alou hit an RBI single in the bottom half, but Humber walked the leadoff man again in the fifth and was pulled after Ronnie Belliard's RBI double.

Another rookie, Joe Smith (3-2), allowed RBI singles to Ryan Zimmerman and Austin Kearns that cut it to 6-5, and Wily Mo Pena's two-run double off Pedro Feliciano put Washington ahead.

Desperate for someone to stem the tide, the Mets brought Orlando Hernandez out of the bullpen in the seventh. He walked two and struck out two in a scoreless inning.

Because of a sore right foot, Hernandez hadn't pitched since he was roughed up by the Braves on Sept. 11 -- and he had worked only six-plus innings since Aug. 26.

He just had the protective boot removed from his foot Monday, and the original plan was for him to throw a simulated game Thursday to help determine if he could possibly be ready by this weekend.

Now, Hernandez will be used out of the bullpen through the first round of the playoffs -- if the Mets get there, Randolph said.

El Duque said his foot was sore after the outing.

Church, a left-handed batter, added a two-run double in the ninth off lefty Billy Wagner.

"We're not scared of losing. What the problem is, is just how bad we're playing," Wagner said. "As good as our bullpen was early, we're that bad right now."

Luis Ayala worked a perfect inning for his first save since May 16, 2005. He missed last season with an elbow injury.

Joel Hanrahan (5-3) got the win, yielding one run in 1 2/3 innings.

Beltran hit a two-run shot off ex-Met Mike Bacsik in the first and Alou followed with his 13th home run, extending his hitting streak to 30 games.

It's the longest streak by a player on a New York team (including Brooklyn) since Joe DiMaggio's record run of 56 games in 1941 with the Yankees.

Beltran's second homer off Bacsik made it 5-0 in the third.


  • It was Beltran's 22nd career multihomer game and fifth this season. He also hit two homers last Wednesday at Washington.
  • It was Hernandez's first relief appearance since October 2005 with the Chicago White Sox.
Copyright 2017 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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The Mets are stinking up the joint, but Willie Randolph's club still leads the East, barely.  (AP)
The Mets are stinking up the joint, but Willie Randolph's club still leads the East, barely. (AP)

Players of the Game

R. Church
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 1
New York

C. Beltran
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2

Related Video

Washington Nationals
Felipe Lopez, SS5120011 .244
Ronnie Belliard, 2B5221001 .289
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4111102 .267
Austin Kearns, RF2311300 .266
Ryan Church, CF-LF5134024 .275
Wily Mo Pena, LF4022012 .255
    Saul Rivera, P0000000 .000
    Jon Rauch, P0000000 .000
   a- Tony Batista, PH0000100 .271
    Luis Ayala, P0000000 .000
Robert Fick, 1B5000013 .235
Brian Schneider, C4000002 .235
Mike Bacsik Jr., P1000000 .103
    Joel Hanrahan, P0000000 .286
   b- Ryan Langerhans, PH0100100 .163
    Chris Schroder, P0000000 .000
   c- D'Angelo Jimenez, PH1000000 .247
    Jonathan Albaladejo, P0000000 .000
    Nook Logan, CF1010000 .263
a-was walked intentionally for Rauch in the 9th
b-walked for Hanrahan in the 5th
c-grounded out for Schroder in the 6th
2B - Ronnie Belliard (34, Humber), Ryan Church (43, Wagner), Wily Mo Pena (13, Feliciano)
3B - Felipe Lopez (6, Humber)
HR - Ryan Church (15, Humber)
RBI - Ronnie Belliard (58), Ryan Zimmerman (90), Austin Kearns (73), Ryan Church 4 (70), Wily Mo Pena 2 (39)
SB - Nook Logan (23, 2nd base off Heilman/Lo Duca)
Team LOB - 7
DP - F. Lopez-Belliard-Fick
Washington Nationals
Mike Bacsik Jr. 2.1755113 5.05
Joel Hanrahan (W,5-3) 1.2111220 6.00
Chris Schroder (H,2) 1000000 3.22
Jonathan Albaladejo (H,2) 1100000 2.19
Saul Rivera (H,18) 1100010 3.55
Jon Rauch (H,32) 1000000 3.57
Luis Ayala (S,1) 1000010 3.24
HBP - Delgado (by Mike Bacsik Jr.)
WP - Joel Hanrahan (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Bacsik Jr. 60-38, Joel Hanrahan 25-12, Chris Schroder 9-5, Jonathan Albaladejo 13-9, Saul Rivera 15-11, Jon Rauch 6-3, Luis Ayala 11-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Bacsik Jr. 3-3, Joel Hanrahan 1-2, Chris Schroder 1-2, Jonathan Albaladejo 2-0, Jon Rauch 2-1, Luis Ayala 1-1
Batters Faced - Mike Bacsik Jr. 16, Joel Hanrahan 8, Chris Schroder 3, Jonathan Albaladejo 3, Saul Rivera 4, Jon Rauch 3, Luis Ayala 3
New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS4000100 .285
Luis Castillo, 2B5021030 .298
David Wright, 3B4210103 .321
Carlos Beltran, CF4223110 .278
Moises Alou, LF4122000 .347
Carlos Delgado, 1B3010012 .254
Paul Lo Duca, C4010001 .276
Carlos Gomez, RF3110002 .234
   a- Marlon Anderson, PH1000000 .298
    Endy Chavez, RF0000000 .287
Philip Humber, P1000002 .000
    Joe Smith, P0000000 .000
    Pedro Feliciano, P0000000 .000
   b- Ruben Gotay, PH1000000 .296
    Scott Schoeneweis, P0000000 .000
    Orlando Hernandez, P0000000 .167
    Aaron Heilman, P0000000 .000
   c- Shawn Green, PH1000000 .289
    Billy Wagner, P0000000 .000
a-popped out for Gomez in the 8th
b-flied out for Feliciano in the 5th
c-grounded out for Heilman in the 8th
HR - Carlos Beltran 2 (32, Bacsik, Bacsik), Moises Alou (13, Bacsik)
SH - Philip Humber (1)
RBI - Luis Castillo (36), Carlos Beltran 3 (109), Moises Alou 2 (47)
2-OUT RBI - Luis Castillo (17), Carlos Beltran 2 (28), Moises Alou 2 (12)
Team LOB - 7
Outfield Assists - Moises Alou 1
DP - Wright-Castillo-Delgado
New York Mets
Philip Humber 4655201 7.71
Joe Smith (L,3-2)0222000 3.56
Pedro Feliciano (BS,2) 1100020 3.16
Scott Schoeneweis 1000010 5.02
Orlando Hernandez 1000220 3.72
Aaron Heilman 1100000 3.18
Billy Wagner 1222200 2.67
IBB - Batista by Billy Wagner
Pitches-Strikes - Philip Humber 91-52, Joe Smith 10-8, Pedro Feliciano 9-8, Scott Schoeneweis 14-10, Orlando Hernandez 29-15, Aaron Heilman 11-8, Billy Wagner 19-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Philip Humber 3-9, Scott Schoeneweis 2-0, Aaron Heilman 3-0, Billy Wagner 1-1
Batters Faced - Philip Humber 20, Joe Smith 2, Pedro Feliciano 3, Scott Schoeneweis 3, Orlando Hernandez 5, Aaron Heilman 4, Billy Wagner 6
Game Information
Attendance - 51940
Game Time - 3:23
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - John Hirschbeck, First Base - Laz Diaz, Second Base - Wally Bell, Third Base - Bill Welke