Nationals 6, Mets 4

Michael Morse is making up for lost time.

Morse hit a grand slam, Bryce Harper also homered and the

Washington Nationals became the latest team to tag a struggling

Johan Santana in their 6-4 victory over the New York Mets on Friday


A strained back muscle sidelined Morse for the first 50 games of

the season. He came off the disabled list June 1 and is batting

.315 with four home runs and 12 RBIs during a hitting streak that

he extended to 13 games Friday night.

”He’s in a good spot right now,” Washington manager Davey

Johnson said. ”The whole middle of the lineup is really in a good


Johnson made his mark against the Mets, too.

Two days after umpires ordered New York knuckleballer R.A.

Dickey to remove two friendship bracelets during his start in

Cincinnati, the umpiring crew had Santana put tape over the gold

strip on the back of his glove following a complaint from


”The hitters didn’t complain, but I was worried that when we

got people on base the reflection off that shiny gold thing on

there could shine in their eyes because it was hitting me in

mine,” said Johnson, who managed the Mets to a World Series

championship in 1986.

Ross Detwiler tossed six solid innings and the Nationals sent

Santana to his fifth loss in the last five starts.

Handed a 2-0 lead, the two-time Cy Young Award winner was

perfect through three innings. But the NL East leaders strung

together four consecutive hits in the fourth, capped by Morse’s

12th homer.

Harper, coming off a 3-for-32 road trip, turned on a fastball in

the fifth for a two-run shot.

The Nationals, who have the best record in baseball, returned

home following an 8-2 trip and have won 11 of 13 overall.

Washington remained four games ahead of second-place Atlanta.

Losers of five of seven, the Mets fell to 10-23 since the

All-Star break and have dropped 10 of 13 to the Nationals this


Detwiler (7-5) allowed three runs and six hits with one

strikeout and a walk.

Craig Stammen gave up a homer to Mets newcomer Kelly Shoppach

leading off the seventh and Drew Storen worked the eighth. Tyler

Clippard walked two in the ninth before earning his 26th save.

Since throwing a career-high 134 pitches to finish off the first

no-hitter in Mets history on June 1, Santana (6-9) has lost seven

of 10 decisions. The 33-year-old left-hander, who missed last

season following shoulder surgery, permitted six runs and seven

hits over five innings in his second outing since spending three

weeks on the disabled list with a sprained ankle.

That period of rest was also intended to recharge his surgically

repaired shoulder. But he lasted only 1 1-3 innings last Saturday

against Atlanta, the worst start of his career, and couldn’t slow

down the Nationals, either.

”My season has been a roller-coaster – a lot of ups and downs,

good days, bad days – but I’m very positive because I’m coming back

from a major surgery,” Santana said.

Santana is 0-5 with a 15.63 ERA in his past five starts,

allowing at least six runs in each appearance. His ERA was 2.76

through June but now sits at 4.85.

”Early in the game, his command was good,” Mets manager Terry

Collins said.” Just all of a sudden, left some balls in the middle

of the plate and they hit `em hard.”

Santana gave up consecutive singles to Jayson Werth, Harper and

Ryan Zimmerman in the fourth, loading the bases for Morse. The

cleanup man launched a 1-1 fastball the opposite way to

right-center for a 4-2 Nationals lead.

Werth kept the fifth inning alive with a two-out single and the

19-year-old Harper sent a shot to right-center for his 11th home


”We tried to come up and in to Morse and it just stayed up

pretty much in the middle of the plate,” Santana said. ”I was

supposed to throw a fastball away to Harper and it just came back

in there. That’s telling me I have to work on my command. But

compared to my last (start), I felt this one was way better.”

After getting two quick outs in the first, Detwiler gave up

three consecutive hits, including one of three doubles by Scott

Hairston and a two-run single by Daniel Murphy.

Detwiler then walked Ronny Cedeno, but avoided further damage

and allowed only one run and three hits over his final five

innings. In three starts this season against the Mets, the lefty is

2-0 with 1.50 ERA.

Cedeno’s RBI groundout in the sixth scored Hairston.

Zimmerman shined defensively early with three sparkling plays on

hard-hit grounders. The third baseman later started a key 5-4-3

double play in the eighth with the potential tying run at the


”That’s why they gave him the Gold Glove a couple of years

ago,” Detwiler said. ”They need to give him another one right


Before the game, the Nationals activated All-Star shortstop Ian

Desmond from the 15-day disabled list. With his return from a

25-game absence due to an oblique strain and other core members

missing time this season with injuries, the Nationals had Desmond,

Werth, Harper, Zimmerman, Morse and Adam LaRoche in the lineup

together for the first time.

NOTES: Desmond finished 0 for 4. To make room for him, the

Nationals designated veteran infielder Cesar Izturis for

assignment. … Hairston’s three doubles matched a team record. …

Including the series opener, Washington plays 27 of its final 44

games at home, more than any team in the majors during the

remainder of the season. … Saturday’s pitching matchup pits

left-hander Jonathon Niese against Washington RHP Edwin