New York at Washington

N.Y. Mets
W: J. Niese (6-2) L: L. Atilano (6-5)
S: F. Rodriguez (19)
HR: NYM - None   WAS - J. Willingham (15)

Mets' Niese improves to 5-0 post DL, tops Nationals wire reports

WASHINGTON -- Francisco Rodriguez is one of baseball's most reliable relief pitchers, saving 262 games in his career. This game-ending play was unique.

The Washington Nationals had rallied for two runs in the ninth inning and had the potential tying run on base with two outs when Rodriguez picked off Roger Bernadina at second for the final out of the New York Mets' 5-3 victory Friday night.

Bernadina's careless baserunning, which turned into a colossal blunder, was spotted by 20-year-old rookie shortstop Ruben Tejada, playing there only because Jose Reyes missed his third straight game with a stiff back.

Tejada signaled to Rodriguez, and K-Rod fired the ball to second to nab Bernadina, allowing Jonathon Niese to win his fifth straight decision and New York manager Jerry Manuel to breath a little easier.

"I was hiding at that time. I didn't see anything," Manuel said. "I looked up and they came running off the field, and I said, 'Oh, we must have won."'

For Tejada, the play showed the smart thinking of a veteran.

"3-2 count, two outs. The runner never thinks pickoff," Tejada said.

Rodriguez had come into the game with one out and runners on second and third. He allowed singles to Bernadina and Ian Desmond to score two runs, and with Willie Harris at the plate, he wasn't thinking pickoff.

"I was thinking about getting the hitter out. It crosses the mind [not to] throw the ball into center field and throw more gasoline into the fire," Rodriguez said.

Bernadina didn't duck responsibility for the snafu.

"I was late. That's all I can say there. I was late. That's no excuse," Bernadina said.

Niese (6-2) allowed six hits and one run in seven innings as he improved to 5-0 with a 2.43 ERA in six starts since coming off the disabled list June 5. He fanned eight in his first four innings -- striking out the side in the fourth -- and didn't walk a batter.

To top it off, Niese added his first career RBI on a double in a four-run fourth.

David Wright, who batted .404 in June, had three hits and Alex Cora a three-run triple for the Mets, who stayed two games behind NL East-leading Atlanta.

Josh Willingham homered off Niese in the seventh for Washington's first run.

The Mets chased Luis Atilano (6-5) in the fourth.

In the first, Tejada was hit by a pitch, moved to third on Wright's single up the middle and scored on Ike Davis' infield out.

Atilano loaded the bases in the fourth on Wright's double and two walks. He got Rod Barajas on a short fly to center and Jeff Francoeur on a liner to shortstop before Cora tripled off the right-field wall to clear the bases. Cora scored on Niese's double.

Bobby Parnell worked a scoreless eighth. Pedro Feliciano struck out the only batter he faced in the ninth and Elmer Dessens got one out before Rodriguez picked off Bernadina, with a smart tag by Tejada, for his 19th save.

While the Mets are 25-12 since May 22, the Nationals reached the halfway point heading south. They're 35-46, which projects to 92 losses -- far better than the two straight 100-plus loss seasons they've endured, but they're 15-31 since May 15.

Atilano allowed all five New York runs and five hits in 3 2/3 innings.

  • Reyes missed his third consecutive game with a stiff back, and will be out until at least Sunday. "I have to take care of this and see what happens in the next couple of days," Reyes said.
  • New York 2B Luis Castillo (bruised right heel), who's missed a month, will soon play a rehab game. "I think Luis is to start playing sometime next week," Manuel said.
  • New York signed ex-Nationals RHP Brian Bruney to a minor league contract.
  • A Nationals spokesman declined comment on a report that the team had agreed to a minor league contract with 44-year-old RHP Orlando Hernandez . But his half brother, Nationals RHP Livan Hernandez , said El Duque, who last pitched in the majors in 2007 for the Mets, had signed. "He's in better shape than anybody in baseball. It's unbelievable," Livan Hernandez said.
  • Desmond committed his major league-leading 20th error at shortstop.
  • Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said there are no definite plans for RHP Chien-Ming Wang to pitch in a game. Wang, who has missed nearly a year after shoulder surgery last season, was signed as a free agent by Washington in February. "We're going without a road map," Rizzo said.
  • Attorney General Eric Holder threw out the first pitch.
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Jonathon Niese fans a career-high eight batters en route to winning his fifth straight start. (AP)
Jonathon Niese fans a career-high eight batters en route to winning his fifth straight start. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

J. Niese
IP 7.0
H 6
ER 1
BB 0
K 8

J. Willingham
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1

Related Video

New York Mets
Angel Pagan, CF5010021 .300
Ruben Tejada, SS4100011 .243
David Wright, 3B5130010 .312
Ike Davis, 1B3101111 .257
Jason Bay, LF3100112 .275
Rod Barajas, C4000003 .239
Jeff Francoeur, RF4020013 .265
Alex Cora, 2B4113001 .229
Jonathon Niese, P3011011 .160
   a- Fernando Tatis, PH0000000 .175
   b- Chris Carter, PH1000012 .242
    Bobby Parnell, P0000000 .000
    Pedro Feliciano, P0000000 .000
    Elmer Dessens, P0000000 .000
    Francisco Rodriguez, P0000000 .000
a-announced for Niese in the 8th
b-struck out for Tatis in the 8th
2B - David Wright (25, Atilano), Jonathon Niese (1, Atilano)
3B - Alex Cora (2, Atilano)
RBI - Ike Davis (36), Alex Cora 3 (17), Jonathon Niese (1)
2-OUT RBI - Alex Cora 3 (8), Jonathon Niese (1)
SB - Angel Pagan (15, 2nd base off Peralta/Rodriguez)
Team LOB - 7
New York Mets
Jonathon Niese (W,6-2) 7611081 3.62
Bobby Parnell 1000000 1.17
Pedro Feliciano 0.1000010 2.18
Elmer Dessens 0.1122100 1.80
Francisco Rodriguez (S,19) 0.1200000 1.99
Pitches-Strikes - Jonathon Niese 117-77, Bobby Parnell 8-5, Pedro Feliciano 5-4, Elmer Dessens 10-6, Francisco Rodriguez 10-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jonathon Niese 4-8, Bobby Parnell 2-1
Batters Faced - Jonathon Niese 26, Bobby Parnell 3, Pedro Feliciano 1, Elmer Dessens 3, Francisco Rodriguez 2
Washington Nationals
Nyjer Morgan, CF4020001 .258
Cristian Guzman, 2B4000012 .293
Adam Dunn, 1B4000030 .271
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B3110110 .284
Josh Willingham, LF4121012 .277
Ivan Rodriguez, C4110022 .298
Mike Morse, RF3000001 .298
   a- Roger Bernadina, PH1011000 .287
Ian Desmond, SS4021010 .256
Luis Atilano, P1000000 .043
    Joel Peralta, P1000001 .000
    Sean Burnett, P0000000 .000
    Miguel Batista, P0000000 .333
   b- Adam Kennedy, PH1000000 .236
    Doug Slaten, P0000000 .000
   c- Willie Harris, PH0000000 .155
a-singled for Morse in the 9th
b-grounded out for Batista in the 8th
c-?? for Slaten in the 9th
2B - Ivan Rodriguez (13, Dessens), Ian Desmond (14, Niese)
HR - Josh Willingham (15, Niese)
RBI - Josh Willingham (45), Roger Bernadina (24), Ian Desmond (34)
2-OUT RBI - Roger Bernadina (11), Ian Desmond (18)
CS - Nyjer Morgan (12, 2nd base by Niese/Barajas)
PK - Roger Bernadina (2, Rodriguez)
Team LOB - 5
E - Ian Desmond (20, Misplayed grounder)
Washington Nationals
Luis Atilano (L,6-5) 3.2455240 4.72
Joel Peralta 3300020 0.00
Sean Burnett 1100010 2.96
Miguel Batista 0.1000010 3.92
Doug Slaten 1000010 2.93
HBP - Tejada (by Luis Atilano)
Pitches-Strikes - Luis Atilano 74-48, Joel Peralta 38-31, Sean Burnett 14-9, Miguel Batista 6-4, Doug Slaten 7-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Luis Atilano 3-4, Joel Peralta 2-5, Sean Burnett 2-1, Doug Slaten 2-0
Batters Faced - Luis Atilano 18, Joel Peralta 12, Sean Burnett 5, Miguel Batista 1, Doug Slaten 3
Game Information
Attendance - 24410
Game Time - 2:56
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Tim Welke, First Base - Scott Barry, Second Base - Bill Welke, Third Base - Jim Reynolds