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N.Y. Mets (67-92)020001001471
Washington (55-103) «000010015783

Nationals bash K-Rod with walk-off grand slam

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- At the very moment Justin Maxwell's grand slam off All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez with two outs in the ninth inning cleared the red flowers atop the left-field wall, the Washington Nationals came sprinting out of the dugout.

They began bouncing near the plate, arms around each other, waiting to smother Maxwell with slaps to the head and punches to the ribs, part of the celebration worthy of a postseason victory -- not avoiding loss No. 104 of a dismal season.

Still, this was Fan Appreciation Day at Nationals Park, the last home game of the season, and those spectators that stuck around sure were sent away with something to appreciate Wednesday: Maxwell's homer provided a sweep-capping 7-4 win over the New York Mets, ending Washington's 150-game streak of losses when trailing after eight innings.

"There's no way I can explain how good a feeling that is. The fans' excitement -- the players' excitement -- speaks for itself," Nationals interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "We are where we are in the standings."

Where they are is last in the NL East with the worst record in the majors, 55-103, destined for the No. 1 pick in the amateur draft for the second consecutive year.

"We haven't been playing that well this year, but this kind of pushes us forward going into next year," said Maxwell, who was facing Rodriguez for the first time in only his 99th career at-bat. "Definitely a nice memory."

He drove a full-count fastball from Rodriguez (3-6) barely over the wall for his third homer of the season. The Mets led 4-2 entering the ninth, but Rodriguez loaded the bases, then walked Adam Dunn to force in a run en route to blowing a save for the seventh time this season.

Maxwell's drive came on K-Rod's 37th pitch of the inning and made a winner of reliever Ron Villone (5-6).

"Really, really frustrating," Rodriguez said. "All the work you put in all year, you throw away pretty much on one pitch."

The Nationals had been 0-87 this season when down through eight innings; they hadn't overcome a deficit that late since June 11, 2008.

Things have been almost as bad on the field for the Mets, who have 92 losses and are in fourth place in the division, one spot ahead of Washington.

"We're just not a good team right now," manager Jerry Manuel conceded.

New York has been beset by injuries to key players all year, and there was some troubling news Wednesday about shortstop Jose Reyes, who has a new tear in the right hamstring that's kept him on the disabled list since May.

Already without stars such as Reyes, Carlos Delgado and Johan Santana, the Mets gave second baseman Luis Castillo a day off. Still, even a makeshift lineup featuring Omir Santos -- who drove in two runs -- and Wilson Valdez appeared set to beat Washington.

Consider: The guy earning "Gold Glove! Gold Glove!" chants all afternoon, Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, made two errors. A starting pitcher the Nationals discarded after last season, Tim Redding, threw 3 1/3 perfect innings against them. And the 2-year-old stadium was, once again, barely half full.

"We know it's a been a trying season," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told an announced crowd of 23,944 in an on-field speech before the first pitch.

"We're looking forward to bringing you a winning ballclub in the very near future," he vowed.

He also told reporters that Riggleman is a "legitimate candidate" to get the managing job for 2010. Riggleman replaced the fired Manny Acta in July, and while the team's play -- and winning percentage -- improved, the Nationals still will finish with more than 100 losses for a second consecutive season.

Rizzo pointed to the win-loss record as the primary reason that Washington's average attendance fell from about 29,000 in 2008 to under 23,000 in 2009. The total attendance this season of 1,817,256 is more than a half-million lower than a year ago.

"It's been a rough season," Riggleman said during a postgame interview shown on the video screen.

He then promised: "It's going to be a lot more exciting in the future."

Perhaps. But it won't be easy to top Wednesday's finish.

Notes

  • Play was delayed for four minutes in the second inning while umpires checked video replays to see whether Jeff Francoeur should be credited with a homer. But the original call stood, leaving Francoeur with a double.
  • Zimmerman hit his 33rd homer.
  • Dunn went 0 for 4, extending his current slump to 0 for 23.
  • Mets LHP Pedro Feliciano broke his own club record by making his 87th appearance of the season. He faced one batter in the eighth, retiring Dunn on a popout. Feliciano had 86 appearances in 2008.
 
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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Rookie Justin Maxwell hits a walk-off grand slam to touch off a raucous celebration in D.C.  (AP)
Rookie Justin Maxwell hits a walk-off grand slam to touch off a raucous celebration in D.C. (AP)

Players of the Game
Washington

J. Maxwell
AB 1
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 4
New York

C. Beltran
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 1
 
New York Mets
Angel Pagan, LF5100004 .298
Anderson Hernandez, 2B4000011 .255
David Wright, 3B4000000 .304
Carlos Beltran, CF3111110 .330
Jeff Francoeur, RF4220002 .277
Fernando Tatis, 1B3021010 .277
Omir Santos, C4022001 .255
Wilson Valdez, SS4000013 .256
Tim Redding, P2000010 .069
   a- Gary Sheffield, PH0000100 .276
    Bobby Parnell, P0000000 .125
    Pedro Feliciano, P0000000 .000
    Sean Green, P0000000 .000
   b- Daniel Murphy, PH1000002 .263
    Francisco Rodriguez, P0000000 .000
Totals3447425  
a-was walked intentionally for Redding in the 7th
b-grounded out for Green in the 9th
Batting
2B - Jeff Francoeur (32, Lannan), Fernando Tatis (20, Lannan)
SF - Fernando Tatis (4)
RBI - Carlos Beltran (48), Fernando Tatis (46), Omir Santos 2 (39)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Beltran (16)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - David Wright (18, Throwing)
New York Mets
Tim Redding 6411120 5.10
Bobby Parnell (H,15) 1.1111101 5.36
Pedro Feliciano (H,23) 0.1000000 3.05
Sean Green (H,14) 0.1000100 4.70
Francisco Rodriguez (BS,7; L,3-6) 0.2355211 3.72
WP - Tim Redding (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Redding 95-59, Bobby Parnell 29-17, Pedro Feliciano 3-2, Sean Green 12-5, Francisco Rodriguez 37-21
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Redding 5-11, Bobby Parnell 4-1, Sean Green 2-0, Francisco Rodriguez 1-0
Batters Faced - Tim Redding 23, Bobby Parnell 7, Pedro Feliciano 1, Sean Green 3, Francisco Rodriguez 7
Washington Nationals
Willie Harris, CF-LF4000014 .231
Elijah Dukes, RF4120100 .257
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B5111025 .286
Adam Dunn, 1B4101102 .268
Josh Willingham, LF4110001 .265
    Justin Maxwell, PR-CF1114000 .247
Josh Bard, C1000300 .228
    J.D. Martin, PR0000000 .174
    Wil Nieves, C0000000 .255
Ian Desmond, SS4000003 .286
Alberto Gonzalez, 2B3111000 .262
John Lannan, P2010000 .155
   a- Cristian Guzman, PH1000002 .284
    Zach Segovia, P0000000 .000
    Ron Villone, P0000000 .000
   b- Mike Morse, PH1010000 .300
    Jorge Padilla, PR0100000 .091
Totals3478753  
a-popped out for Lannan in the 7th
b-singled for Villone in the 9th
Batting
HR - Ryan Zimmerman (33, Parnell), Justin Maxwell (3, Rodriguez)
SF - Alberto Gonzalez (6)
SH - Willie Harris (3)
RBI - Ryan Zimmerman (104), Adam Dunn (104), Justin Maxwell 4 (7), Alberto Gonzalez (31)
2-OUT RBI - Adam Dunn (35), Justin Maxwell 4 (5)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Gonzalez-Desmond-Dunn
E - Ian Desmond (6, Misplayed grounder), Ryan Zimmerman 2 (17, Misplayed grounder)
Washington Nationals
John Lannan 7432240 3.88
Zach Segovia 1.1311010 6.75
Ron Villone (W,5-6) 0.2000000 4.67
IBB - Sheffield by John Lannan
Pitches-Strikes - John Lannan 110-71, Zach Segovia 29-22, Ron Villone 5-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Lannan 8-10, Zach Segovia 2-1, Ron Villone 2-0
Batters Faced - John Lannan 28, Zach Segovia 7, Ron Villone 2
Game Information
Attendance - 23944
Game Time - 3:07
Temperature - 61
Umpires - Home - Kerwin Danley, First Base - Wally Bell, Second Base - Brian Runge, Third Base - Rob Drake