Nationals 3, Mets 2

Stephen Lombardozzi had never been in a situation like this

before – seventh inning, runner on second in a tie game.

He also had never gotten a major league hit – hitless in his

first 15 at-bats.

The 22-year-old with a week in the bigs came through, though,

lining a tiebreaking single to left and lifting the Washington

Nationals to a 3-2 victory over the New York Mets on Monday

night.

”It was a big deep breath afterwards,” said Lombardozzi, a

19th-round pick by the Nationals in 2008. ”To drive the guy in to

get the game-winning RBI is pretty awesome.”

The postgame was pretty fun for him, too. First he learned that

his mom and dad were at the game, then his teammates played a

prank, giving him a ball with ”0 for 15 now 1 for 16” written on

it by Todd Coffey (5-1) before Lombardozzi was handed the real

souvenir ball.

”He couldn’t get too much out. He was pretty emotional,”

Lombardozzi said of his dad, a former big league player himself.

”I think they were just as relieved as me.”

Ross Detwiler and R.A. Dickey (8-12) were locked in early, each

giving up one hit through four innings that took just 52 minutes.

The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the fifth with help from Mets

third baseman David Wright’s fourth error in three games.

Jayson Werth had three hits and Rick Ankiel and Wilson Ramos

drove in runs for Washington, winners of two straight. One more win

and the Nationals (68-77) will match their total from last year,

when they went 69-93.

Coffey got one out in the sixth, Tyler Clippard pitched two

perfect innings and Drew Storen finished after walking Wright to

start the ninth for his 35th save in 40 chances.

The Mets rallied late for the third straight game only to come

up short again. They have lost five of six.

Manager Terry Collins thinks his team is distracted by the

controversy that has been brewing since Sunday, when players wanted

to wear caps honoring emergency-service workers during the game on

the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, but were

denied by Major League Baseball.

”What’s the attention been since we walked into the ballpark

today? It’s not on who we’re playing, it’s not on who’s pitching.

We all want to know which kind of hat we’re going to wear tonight.

And that takes away from the game,” Collins said. ”It all takes

away from their preparation. They’re all being asked questions that

they’re afraid to make an answer, they’re afraid to say the wrong

thing. We’ve got to start focusing on what the game is, because,

when it’s all said and done, that’s all that matters.”

In contrast to his last start – six runs allowed against the

Mets on Sept. 2, Detwiler was cruising until he lost the strike

zone in the sixth and walked Justin Turner and Lucas Duda with two

outs.

Wright followed with an RBI single and Angel Pagan doubled in

another run with a soft liner down the right-field line to tie it

2-all and end Detwiler’s night.

”Kind of lost touch of my fastball,” Detwilier said. ”I

really wanted to finish the inning, but it was Coffey time.”

Coffey couldn’t sprint in from the bullpen fast enough, and he

struck out Jason Bay with runners on second and third to end the

inning. Bay, the NL player of the week, had another shot with one

out in the ninth but struck out looking.

The Nationals regained the lead in the top of the seventh but

ran themselves out of a chance to add on.

Ramos walked and advanced on Dickey’s second wild pitch of the

game. He moved up on a groundout, then broke for home on Brian

Bixler’s grounder to shortstop.

Instead of forcing a play at the plate, he froze halfway down

the line and was tagged out by Wright. Lombardozzi then lined his

first big league hit, coming in his sixth game. He was 0 for 15 –

including going hitless in his first three at-bats Monday – before

lining a clean single to left. Lombardozzi was called up from

Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday.

”It was fitting that it happened that way,” manager Davey

Johnson said. ”He won’t remember the 0 for 15.”

While Bixler was running home, Lombardozzi took a wide turn to

try and force the Mets to cut off the relay. He was caught in a

rundown and tagged out by Duda.

Detwiler appeared to be on the way to his first road win in 12

career starts over four partial seasons – the 25-year-old has

received only 17 runs of support when he is in the game during that

stretch. But he lasted only 5 2-3 innings, giving up three hits and

three walks.

Dickey could not extend his winning streak to four straight

games even though he gave up three runs – two earned – in seven

innings. Dickey has not allowed more than three earned runs in 10

straight starts.

”I gave up a couple of two-out hits. I think one of them was

with two strikes and, a lot of times in a game like that, it’s

going to come back to haunt you, and it did,” he said.

NOTES: The game took 2 hours, 41 minutes. … Mets longtime

public relations director Jay Horwitz had surgery on his broken

right ankle. The team said he was resting comfortably. …

Nationals OF Corey Brown stayed back in Washington because the team

doctors fear he has a staph infection in his knee. … Mets RHP

Dillon Gee (12-6) faces Nationals RHP Chien-Ming Wang (2-3) on

Tuesday – ”Star Wars” night at Citi Field.