The Phillies are tied for the Wild Card lead. San Diego has faltered. New York's lead in the NL East is down to two games. Colorado continues to surge out West. The Braves are only 3.0 games behind the Phillies and Padres in the Wild Card in what could be Andruw Jones' last week in Atlanta. Meanwhile... The Washington Nationals are content to play out the last week with the same intensity they displayed on Opening Day. Note to all Mets fans, "The Nationals are not as bad as you think they are. I warned you."
Washington's leadoff hitter Felipe Lopez singles to right off New York lefty Tom Glavine to start the first, and with Ronnie Belliard at bat, Lopez steals second. Belliard takes a high strike three on a full-count changeup. Glavine walks Ryan Zimmerman. Austin KEARNS!! Meatball down the middle and lined out to left by Kearns for a 3-run blast. 3-0 Nationals. The Professional First Baseman Tony Batista is starting tonight, and homering in his first at bat. 4-0 Nationals on Batista's blast to left.
Jose Reyes starts the Mets first with a solo shot off the scoreboard in right. Nationals starter Jason Bergmann hangs a change and has it hammered. 4-1 Nationals. Rutgers' own right hander, Bergmann, gets the next three Mets in order to end the first.
Tom Glavine sets the Nationals down in order in the top of the second. Moises Alou beats out an "excuse me" grounder to third for a leadoff single in the home half (Alou's hitting streak now at 29). Bergmann drops a slider under Carlos Delgado's bat for a swinging K. Lo Duca takes ball four. Shawn Green goes twelve pitches deep before singling up the middle to score Alou from second. 4-2 Nationals. Glavine's sac bunt advances both runners into scoring position for Jose Reyes, who lines out to left. 4-2 after two.
Ryan Zimmerman finds the right center gap for a double to start the third. Austin Kearns takes a strike on a fastball inside for the first out of the inning. Wily Mo Pena strokes an 0-1 changeup through the middle of the infield to score Zimmerman from second. 5-2 Nationals. Three up three down for the Mets in the third.
Justin Mawell's second home run in the Majors goes out to left and nearly off the Dunkin' Donuts Coffee Coolata Cup in left. 6-2 Nationals. Jason Bergmann lines a single to center. Glavine starts a DP on a grounder back to the mound from Felipe Lopez. Ronnie Belliard lines out to end the top of the fourth.
Moises Alou singles to start the bottom of the fourth. Bergmann drops a nasty curve on Carlos Delgado to get the lefty looking. Bergmann starts a DP on a grounder back to the mound from Paul Lo Duca to end the fourth. 6-2 Nationals.
Glavine hangs around to get the Nationals in order in the top of the fifth. Bergmann gives up a leadoff single to Shawn Green to start the bottom of the frame. Ruben Gotay pinch hits for Glavine. Gotay lines a double into the right center gap. Green scores from first. 6-3 Nationals. Jose Reyes flies out to center. Luis Castillo singles up the middle. Gotay to third. David Wright rips a grounder to third, THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! Backhand stab by the Nationals third baseman, Zimmerman throws to second, Belliard to first, double play to end the fifth.
Carlos Muniz makes his Major League debut in relief for the Mets in the sixth. Muniz gives up a two-out single to Jason Bergmann. Muniz gets Felipe Lopez to end a scoreless debut inning. Bergmann comes back for the sixth and gets Beltran and Alou out before walking Carlos Delgado. Paul Lo Duca walks. Bergmann's done. Manny Acta, Nationals Manager goes to the pen for Arnie Munoz. Shawn Green grounds to short, Felipe Lopez takes the force at third to end the sixth.
A Triple-AAA closer in the Mets Minor League system, Carlos Muniz comes out for his second inning of middle relief work in the seventh. Muniz issues a leadoff walk to Ronnie Belliard. Belliard steals second with Zimmerman at bat. Muniz walks Zimmerman. Austin Kearns lines out to right. Muniz out. Jorge Sosa takes over on the hill. Wily Mo Pena grounds into a force at third. Tony Batista grounds to first, Delgado mishandles it, no one's at second, Sosa's late to first, everyone's safe. Bases loaded. Brian Schneider singles to center. Zimmerman scores. Pena scores. 8-3 DC. Justin Maxwell's down swinging. Stand up and stretch...
Jose Reyes hits a one-out bloop single to center off Arnie Munoz in the seventh. Munoz walks Luis Castillo. That's all for Munoz. Manny Acta, Nationals Manager takes a slow walk to the mound and brings on Big John Albaladejo. David Wright grounds to Felipe Lopez at short, Lopez steps on second and fires to first for the inning-ending DP. 8-3 DC after seven.
D'Angelo "Red Hot" Jimenez singles to start the eigth and moves to third on another hit from Felipe Lopez. Ronnie Belliard faces Aaron Sele with two on, no outs. Belliard grounds into a double play. Jimenez scores. 9-3 Nationals. Jesus "Everyday" Colome is on for the Nationals in the eigth. Moises Alou singles to left with one down in the inning. Delgado grounds to Belliard to Lopez to Batista, double play to end the eigth.
The Professional First Baseman Tony Batista doubles off the wall in center with two outs in the ninth. Aaron Sele gives up a single to Brian Schneider. Batista flies around third and scores easily. 10-3 Nationals lead. Lo Duca singles to start the ninth. David Newhan will pinch hit. Jesus Colome gets a swinging strike three for the first out. Carlos Gomez walks. Jose Reyes hits his second long ball of the game to right. The three-run blast makes it 10-6 with one down in the ninth. Luis Castillo slaps a single to left. David Wright...will face a new pitcher...
The Flat-Brimmed Closer comes out to clean up Colome's mess. Chad Cordero surrenders a single to David Wright. Carlos Beltran takes ball four to load the bases for Moises Alou. Cordero gives up a three-run double to right. Alou clears the bases. 10-9 Nationals still lead. The Tallest Pitcher in MLB History Jon Rauch will come on to face Delgado...Delgado goes down swinging. Pinch runner Endy Chavez steals second. Lo Duca pops the first pitch out to right. THE METS LOSE. No magic here... 10-9 Nationals.
Nationals now 71-87.