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Washington at New York

N.Y. Mets
W: J. Lannan (3-0) L: M. Harvey (3-5)
S: D. Storen (2)
HR: WAS - R. Zimmerman (22),I. Desmond (23)   NYM - None

Nationals 2, Mets 0

CBSSports.com wire reports

NEW YORK -- John Lannan knows he can't pitch like Stephen Strasburg. What he can do is compete like the Washington Nationals' ace.

Lannan pitched five-hit ball over 5 2/3 innings in his first start since replacing Strasburg in Washington's starting rotation, and the Nationals lowered their magic number for clinching a playoff berth to six with a 2-0 victory against the punchless New York Mets on Wednesday night.

"It's definitely strange. There's a lot of strange things going on," Lannan said. "What's going on with Stras, it just hasn't happened before."

Ryan Zimmerman hit a home run in the fourth off rookie Matt Harvey (3-5) and Ian Desmond connected off Jon Rauch in the eighth, helping the NL East leaders complete a three-game sweep and open an 8½-game lead over the second-place Braves heading into a three-game series at Atlanta starting Friday. The Nationals are closing in on the capital's first postseason baseball berth since the original Washington Senators in 1933.

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"This was a big series," manager Davey Johnson said. "We need to kind of drive the nail in their coffin over here and come into Atlanta in a good frame of mind."

A native of nearby Long Beach, Lannan (3-0) struck out two and walked one in an 81-pitch outing. Lannan, Washington's opening-day starter in 2009 and 2010, was 9-11 with a 4.30 ERA at Triple-A Syracuse and asked the Nationals to trade him when he was demoted at the end of spring training.

"It all happened for a reason, I guess," he said. "I just don't look back on it with anger or anything. It just is what it is. It happened, and we've just got to move on."

Pitching before about 20 family members and friends, he made his first appearance since a minor league outing on Aug. 30 and improved to 4-1 with a 1.69 ERA against the Mets in his last five starts. Without Strasburg's dominant fastball, the left-handed Lannan relies on changing speeds and control.

"He earned a lot of respect in this clubhouse," said reliever Sean Burnett, who gave up two hits and got two outs in the ninth -- his first appearance since Sept. 2 following a layoff caused by an irritated nerve in his pitching elbow.

Drew Storen came in and retired pinch-hitter Daniel Murphy on a game-ending flyout with runners at the corners for his second save. The surging Nationals have won nine of 11 and 12 of 15.

Harvey struck out 10 in five-plus innings, his latest impressive performance. New York, however, finished an 0-6 homestand and dropped to 65-78, falling 13 games under .500 for the first time since finishing 2009 at 70-92. The Mets have lost eight of nine overall.

They also extended their club-record streak of scoring three runs or fewer to 13 straight home games. They have lost 22 of their past 26 in Queens and have only four victories at Citi Field since the All-Star break -- two fewer than the Nationals.

"It's frustrating for all 35 guys in that clubhouse, besides the players, and the coaches and the front office," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We set the bar pretty high in April and May. Our club wasn't picked to be very good and we set the bar up there.

"Right now, we just cannot seem to recreate what happened in April."

Washington cut short Strasburg's season last weekend, wanting to protect the 24-year-old right-hander's arm following ligament-replacement surgery on Sept. 3, 2010.

While the Nationals initially intended to make Wednesday's game his final start of the year, they moved up their timetable because they said the limit was weighing on his mind. Strasburg finished 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA in 28 starts with 197 strikeouts in 159 1/3 innings.

Johnson said he might use Strasburg as a pinch-hitter down the stretch. Strasburg is hitting .277 with one home run, four doubles and seven RBI.

"If I can't use your arm, I'll use your bat," Johnson said. "He's pretty bad now but he's going to get worse because he's going to be chomping."

Johnson said Strasburg keeps asking pitching coach Steve McCatty about what his routine should be.

"Of course, he's been pestering Cat about what he can do," Johnson added. "Can I keep throwing off the mound? No. Can I play catch in the outfield? Yes."


Washington has won eight in a row in Queens and 12 of 13. ... Nationals LF Michael Morse missed the game after he was diagnosed with a torn cuff and a bone bruise in his left wrist. ... Players' association head Michael Weiner, undergoing treatment for a brain tumor, was in the Mets' clubhouse speaking with players before the game. ... Zimmerman extended his hitting streak to 16 games and set a franchise record by driving in a run for the ninth straight game, one more than Larry Walker (1993), Moises Alou ('93 and `94) and Vladimir Guerrero ('98). Zimmerman also made several sparkling plays with his glove at third.

Copyright 2016 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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Players of the Game

I. Desmond
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1

J. Lannan
IP 5.2
H 5
ER 0
BB 1
K 2

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Washington Nationals
Jayson Werth, RF3000221 .306
Bryce Harper, CF4000022 .262
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B2111210 .287
Adam LaRoche, 1B4010011 .269
Ian Desmond, SS3121110 .295
Roger Bernadina, LF2010001 .300
   a- Tyler Moore, PH-LF2000013 .279
Kurt Suzuki, C4000015 .227
Stephen Lombardozzi, 2B4010003 .280
John Lannan, P2000021 .167
    Christian Garcia, P0000000 .000
   b- Mark DeRosa, PH1010000 .157
    Eury Perez, PR0000000 .000
    Craig Stammen, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Mattheus, P0000000 .000
   c- Chad Tracy, PH1000000 .286
    Sean Burnett, P0000000 .000
    Drew Storen, P0000000 .000
a-fouled out for Bernadina in the 6th
b-singled for Garcia in the 7th
c-popped out for Mattheus in the 9th
HR - Ryan Zimmerman (22, Harvey), Ian Desmond (23, Rauch)
SH - Bryce Harper (3)
RBI - Ryan Zimmerman (84), Ian Desmond (67)
Team LOB - 9
DP - Desmond-Lombardozzi-LaRoche
E - Ryan Zimmerman (16, Misplayed grounder)
Washington Nationals
John Lannan (W,3-0) 5.2500120 2.41
Christian Garcia (H,2) 0.1000000 1.69
Craig Stammen (H,10) 1000000 2.42
Ryan Mattheus (H,13) 1100000 2.44
Sean Burnett (H,28) 0.2200010 2.45
Drew Storen (S,2) 0.1000000 3.00
HBP - Shoppach (by Christian Garcia)
Pitches-Strikes - John Lannan 81-49, Christian Garcia 6-3, Craig Stammen 9-7, Ryan Mattheus 14-8, Sean Burnett 14-10, Drew Storen 2-1
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Lannan 11-4, Craig Stammen 2-1, Ryan Mattheus 2-0, Sean Burnett 1-0
Batters Faced - John Lannan 23, Christian Garcia 2, Craig Stammen 3, Ryan Mattheus 3, Sean Burnett 4, Drew Storen 1
New York Mets
Ruben Tejada, SS4000001 .292
Ronny Cedeno, 2B2000001 .272
    Jordany Valdespin, 2B2010000 .244
David Wright, 3B4020001 .314
Scott Hairston, RF4000012 .264
Lucas Duda, 1B-LF3020100 .243
Kelly Shoppach, C3010021 .251
Jason Bay, LF2000001 .156
   a- Ike Davis, PH-1B2000003 .223
Andres Torres, CF4020002 .225
Matt Harvey, P1000002 .375
    Robert Carson, P0000000 .000
    Bobby Parnell, P0000000 .000
    Justin Hampson, P0000000 .000
   b- Fred Lewis, PH1000000 .000
    Jon Rauch, P0000000 .000
    Frank Francisco, P0000000 .000
   c- Justin Turner, PH0000000 .280
   d- Daniel Murphy, PH1000002 .291
a-flied out for Bay in the 6th
b-grounded out for Hampson in the 7th
c-announced for Francisco in the 9th
d-flied out for Turner in the 9th
SH - Matt Harvey (3)
SB - David Wright 2 (14, 2nd base off Lannan/Suzuki, 2nd base off Lannan/Suzuki)
CS - Ronny Cedeno (1, 2nd base by Lannan/Suzuki)
Team LOB - 9
DP - Valdespin-Tejada-Davis
New York Mets
Matt Harvey (L,3-5) 55113101 2.92
Robert Carson 1000000 5.23
Bobby Parnell 0.1100200 2.97
Justin Hampson 0.2000000 2.70
Jon Rauch 1111011 2.94
Frank Francisco 1000000 5.66
WP - Matt Harvey (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Harvey 106-66, Robert Carson 8-4, Bobby Parnell 15-5, Justin Hampson 1-1, Jon Rauch 13-10, Frank Francisco 13-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Harvey 1-4, Bobby Parnell 1-0, Justin Hampson 1-0, Jon Rauch 2-0
Batters Faced - Matt Harvey 23, Robert Carson 3, Bobby Parnell 4, Justin Hampson 1, Jon Rauch 4, Frank Francisco 3
Game Information
Attendance - 21205
Game Time - 3:12
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Joe West, First Base - Mike Muchlinski, Second Base - Sam Holbrook, Third Base - Rob Drake