have the worst record in baseball, but the
New York Mets
played them with the kind of intensity reserved for the best clubs.
homered against his former team and
also went deep to help the Mets beat the Nationals 9-3 on Thursday night, finishing a three-game sweep and taking over first
place in the NL East.
''At this time of the year, every win is huge - no matter who you play,'' New York manager
said. ''Washington is looking to knock you off. They're looking to make a mark for themselves.''
The Mets wouldn't let them do it. They got consistent starting pitching, timely hitting and some consistent bullpen work throughout
the series for their second road sweep this season.
(9-7) handed a 5-3 lead over to the Mets' beleaguered bullpen in the seventh, and
combined to throw 2 1-3 scoreless innings. Perez struck out eight and allowed six hits and three walks.
The Mets limited the Nationals to six runs in the three-game series and Washington never led.
''That's been our weakness this year,'' New York's
said. ''We've not been able to take advantage of teams under .500. Coming in here, we know that every time we come here, the
always find a way to play good baseball against us. This time, we really approached them the same way we approached the Phillies
and the teams in contention.''
The win gave the Mets a one-game lead in the division over Philadelphia, which lost 3-1 to the
Los Angeles Dodgers
on Thursday night.
(3-5) held the Mets hitless in the first three innings, but New York scored five runs in the next three.
''This is the big leagues and guys make adjustments,'' Washington manager Manny Acta said. ''That second time through the
lineup, it looked like they made adjustments.''
Washington has lost seven straight.
Schneider, the former Nationals catcher, hit a two-run drive off Balester in the fifth to give the Mets a 4-0 lead. It was
his first homer since May 14, also against Washington.
''Every game is important from here on out,'' Schneider said. ''We need to take care of things for ourselves - what we can
control. We need to take care of business every day.''
Delgado connected for his 26th homer in the sixth and drove in a run with a groundout in the fourth.
Washington chased Perez during a three-run seventh. Pinch-hitter
hit a two-run triple and scored on
's bunt single. Bonifacio had been mired in a 1-for-27 slump.
Smith entered after Bonifacio's hit and retired
on a flyball to right to end the inning. Smith and Sanchez combined to work the eighth before Heilman got the final three
''We had momentum for a little bit,'' Orr said. ''But they did a good job of shutting us down the next three innings.''
gave the Mets some insurance in the ninth with a pinch-hit, two-run single. New York added two more on second baseman Bonifacio's
went 0-for-3 with a walk for Washington, ending his career-best 14-game hitting streak.
(thumb) and C
(stomach virus) were scratched from Washington's lineup. ... The Nationals activated INF
from the disabled list and placed SS
on the DL. ... Mets LHP
, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left forearm, pitched a perfect inning for Double-A Binghamton. ... Mets 3B
made an unusual out to end the fifth when a fan reached out and blocked RF
from catching a ball in foul territory. The umpires called Wright out on fan interference.