VIERA, Fla. (AP) -- Chad Gaudin has traveled quite a bit during his big league career. He's hoping to stay in Washington for a while.
Gaudin pitched five scoreless innings and Adam LaRoche hit a two-run double to lead the Washington Nationals over the New York Mets 6-5 in a split-squad game Thursday.
Gaudin, a non-roster invite to spring training, is vying for the fifth spot in the Nationals' rotation.
"I know I'm here to compete for it," Gaudin said. "I've been in this situation a couple of times and fared not so well. I'd love to make the club as a starter and that's what I'm here to do."
Gaudin allowed four hits while striking out six and walking one in his best outing this spring. In two previous starts, he gave up seven runs, five earned, on eight hits in six innings.
"He's throwing the ball well, and he's going to make it really a tough call for us," Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. "We're letting him compete for that job, but anybody who isn't that fifth starter is going to be a candidate for the bullpen."
Mets starter Mike Pelfrey pitched four innings, allowing four runs and three hits. He walked two and struck out one.
"One thing I was really, really upset with was the walks," Pelfrey said. "That's the one thing that absolutely drives me nuts, is walking people in spring training. I walked two guys today, so obviously I'm pretty upset about that."
Jayson Werth returned to the lineup a day after sitting out with soreness in his legs. He went 1 for 2 with two walks and two RBIs.
LaRoche was 1 for 3 with two RBIs, and Ivan Rodriguez added a single and an RBI for Washington.
Lucas Duda hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning for the Mets.
Nyjer Morgan led off the game for the Nationals with a single. Ian Desmond followed with a single and Werth walked to load the bases.
LaRoche followed with a ground-rule double that bounced over the left-center wall, scoring two.
Rodriguez then hit a line drive off Pelfrey's right leg, scoring Werth.
"It got me right above the knee in the quad," Pelfrey said. "Last year I took one off the bone and it put me out for three or four days. This one got me in the meat part of it, so I should be fine tomorrow. No big deal."
Pelfrey retired the next 10 batters he faced after being struck by the line drive.
NOTES: Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman missed his fourth straight game with a strained muscle on his side. He is day to day. ... Nationals prospect Bryce Harper , last year's No. 1 overall draft pick, flied out to right in his only at-bat. ... The game started an hour late because of a rain delay.