NEW YORK (AP) -Despite an inept start to the season, the
have a couple of reasons to get excited in
Zimmermann showed off the impressive combination of sharp stuff and steady composure that makes him one of baseball's top
prospects, and Flores led the offensive charge Sunday as Washington routed the
New York Mets
8-1 for its first road victory of the year.
''It feels great. We know that we're better than our record shows,'' manager Manny Acta said. ''We needed a game like this.''
Flores homered and drove in three runs against his former club,
also teed off on an ineffective
and the Nationals improved the majors' worst record to 4-13.
The 22-year-old Zimmermann (2-0) beat Atlanta 3-2 in his major league debut last Monday and stifled the inconsistent Mets,
too. Mixing a 95 mph fastball with snappy off-speed pitches, he struck out slumping
three times and allowed one run with six hits in 5 1-3 innings.
''He's going to give us a chance every game to win,''
said. ''He's got a real calm demeanor. He's got the perfect pitcher's mentality.''
Handed an 8-1 lead,
provided hitless relief as Washington won for the first time in nine games away from home.
Zimmermann and starter
, both rookies, have all four wins for the Nationals.
It was a lethargic loss for the Mets (8-10), who host first-place Florida for a three-game series beginning Monday night at
Citi Field. Converted infielder
botched another line drive to left field and
pulled up on an attempted steal, thinking he heard the ball hit the bat.
''It was a mistake. I know that I should slide right there,'' said Beltran, tagged out easily on the play.
Before this season, Zimmermann had never been above Double-A. But despite his inexperience, he pitched with the sort of poise
and grit the Mets have long sought from Perez (1-2).
After getting tagged for seven runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings, the erratic lefty has a 9.31 ERA. Only four starts after
re-signing with New York for $36 million over three years, he could be in jeopardy of losing his spot in the rotation.
''I'm really concerned about him at this point. I don't know what we do. I'm not going to come out and make a decision right
said. ''I haven't seen stuff yet. I don't know what it is with Ollie. I'm going to sit down and talk with him and try to figure
Perez has allowed 15 walks and 23 hits in 19 1-3 innings. He was booed off the field by a frustrated crowd of 40,023 - even
Wright heard catcalls during an 0-for-4 day that included a run-scoring throwing error from third base.
The All-Star slugger has fanned 23 times in 70 at-bats this season, an alarming rate for a player who set a career high last
year with 118 strikeouts. He has one home run and six RBIs.
Manuel was asked if Wright needs a day off.
''I think I need one,'' he said.
Flores finished with three hits and a walk, including a two-run homer (his second of the series) and an RBI single. After
driving in 59 runs in 90 games last year, he is batting .327 with 10 RBIs.
The young catcher was snatched up by Washington when the Mets left him unprotected in the December 2006 winter meeting draft
(Rule 5), a move that certainly appears to be a mistake.
''He's a good hitter - period,'' Acta said. ''Especially against left-handers, he's a killer.''
Kearns' solo shot to center, estimated at 420 feet, started a four-run surge in the fifth. The ball landed on the painted
black turf that serves as the batters' eye at Citi Field, and it was the first home run in the spacious new ballpark that
went between the alleys.
''I'm not doing my job and I don't feel good about that,'' Perez said. ''It's not there. I have to just keep working and get
Notes: After the game, the Mets designated LHP
for assignment and purchased the contract of LHP Ken Takahashi from Triple-A Buffalo. ... The large center-field scoreboard
froze in the fourth with a Mets logo displayed. ... Nationals 3B
extended his hitting streak to 15 games.