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Nationals vs Mets: Game Report..."Chico and Lannan."

Matt Chico's Start, His 0-2 Mistake and the Mets' Fifth Inning: Captured in the New York Media Matrix...

Matt Chico's 0-2 mistake to New York shortstop Jose Reyes was clearly the turning point in Wednesday's 5-2 win for the New York Mets over Chico's Washington Nationals. If the Nationals' left-handed starter picked up the local papers yesterday morning, to see what the New York media had to say about his losing effort against the New York Mets, Chico would read that he...:

"...fell apart in the fifth when he began leaving mistakes over the plate." 

That's according to Newark Star-Ledger sports writer Jeremy Cothran, in his article entitled, "Mets' power boosts Maine", in which Mr. Cothran also writes that the Nationals are "cellar dwellars" the Mets should beat, and claims that Mets' starter John Maine, "...handily outpitched his counterpart Matt Chico."

In the New York Times, sports writer Ben Shpigel, writes descriptively of the moment in the fifth that the game turned for Matt Chico, in his article, " Revised Batting Order Changes Dynamic for Mets", in which he notes that the Mets:

"...were kept off balance by his(Chico's) breaking pitches. But when the lineup turned over in the fifth, with Reyes leading off, a rally was in the air. They had made Chico battle, forcing him to throw 82 pitches through four innings, and Reyes led off by mashing an 0-2 fastball into the left field stands..."

In Mark Hale's New York post report on the game entitled, "The Bel Tolls", Mr. Hale writes that Jose Reyes, "...opened the fifth by crushing a shot into the picnic section," and after that:

"The Mets continued to rough up Chico, as Church(Ryan) and Wright(David) knocked singles that brought up Beltran(Carlos)...(and)...On the first pitch, he swatted it over the left field wall, giving the Mets a 5-2 lead."

That was all for Matt Chico, (L, 0-3) who ends the night with a 4.81 ERA after giving up 7 hits and 5 ER's with 3 walks, 5 K's, and 3 HR's hit off him in the final of his 5.0 innings pitched. John Maine (W, 1-1) pitched 6.2 IP, gave up 5 hits, 2 runs, 4 walks and 1 HR with 4 K's, and a 3.78 ERA.

Lannan's Long Thursday Night...Becomes Friday Morning...

...Another Washington lefty, John Lannan came to Shea Stadium Thursday night with his curveball in tow, back near his hometown of Long Beach, New York, and an excited Lannan dropped that curve on lefty after lefty collecting 8 K's through four innings. 

Lannan retires 16 straight after allowing two men on in the first, before Jose Reyes singles to stop Lannan's streak, but a K and a groundout later, Lannan's through six with Washington in the lead 2-1 on a two-run blast by Nationals' first baseman Nick Johnson. Lannan ends the night, probably his best start as a National, goes 6.0 IP, allowing just 3 hits and 1 run, with no walks and 11 K's.

Nelson Figueroa, in his second start on the mound for the Mets this season, allows 3 hits, 2 runs and 2 walks, while striking out 7 and allowing 1 HR. Neither Lannan nor Figueroa figures in tonight's decision, as newly-named Nationals' closer, the Tallest Closer in MLB History Jon Rauch comes on after a two-out error on a fairly routine grounder to Ronnie Belliard extends the inning, and Rauch blows the save opportunity when Carlos Delgado hits a run-scoring single to tie the game at 2-2 in the eigth. 

Nine pitchers, and six innings after Rauch's blown save, DC reliever Joel Hanrahan walks David Wright and Carlos Delgado intentionally to load the bases, with Damion Easley at third, and Hanrahan hoping to face the Mets' pitcher, but NY Manager Willie Randolph sends up tonight's backup catcher Brian Schneider, who doesn't have to do a thing, as Hanrahan throws a wild pitch that lets Damion Easley score from third for the walk-off wild pitch win...in 14 innings...did I really just watch 14 innings to have it end like that? The Mets sweep the Nationals out of Shea Stadium...

Nationals now 4-12.

Washington Travels to Florida for the start of a three-game weekend series tomorrow night at 7:10 PM EST...