LaRoche, Rendon homer as Nationals beat Mets 6-2
NEW YORK (AP) If only the Washington Nationals could play all their road games at Citi Field.
Adam LaRoche and Anthony Rendon had two-run homers off Bartolo Colon, who was ejected after hitting the following batter both times, and the Nationals beat New York 6-2 Thursday night for their 12th straight win at the Mets.
''We don't really notice it all, actually,'' said Tanner Roark (13-10), who improved to 4-0 in four career starts against the Mets. ''It's just another game we've got to go out there and win.''
Washington improved to 26-4 at Citi Field since September 2011, outscoring the Mets 156-68 and outhomering them 49-18 in that span.
LaRoche had three RBIs, hitting a two-run, first-inning homer against Colon (13-12) that clanked high off the right-field foul pole. He has 28 home runs against the Mets.
''I don't know what it is,'' LaRoche said. ''This year, I know I've been pretty comfortable against them for whatever reason. There are certain pitchers as a hitter you match up well, just timing-wise, you're just kind of in rhythm with them.''
Washington opened its NL East lead to 8 1/2 games over second-place Atlanta, and the Nationals lowered their magic number to nine for clinching their second division title in three seasons. They have the most consecutive victories at an opponent since Cincinnati won 12 straight at Wrigley Field from Aug. 10, 2012 to June 12, 2013, according to STATS.
After LaRoche's homer, Colon hit Ian Desmond with a pitch near the waist two pitches later. Rendon, playing after missing a game because of a cold, hit another two-run homer in the fourth that made it 6-0, a drive that struck the orange line atop the left-field wall, ricocheted off the dark green railing behind, hit back off the orange line and bounded onto the field.
The play was upheld on a video review, and Colon hit Jayson Werth above the left elbow with the next pitch. Werth looked out toward the mound, and plate umpire John Tumpane ejected the pitcher. New York manager Terry Collins came out of the dugout to speak with Tumpane, and he also was ejected.
Colon hit two batters in one game for just the fifth time in his big career and first time since 2009.
''All I know is that he's got exceptional control,'' Nationals manager Matt Williams said.
It was the fourth career ejection for Colon, his first since 2003.
''I think I didn't do anything wrong,'' he said through a translator. ''I was surprised they threw me out of the game.''
Colon allowed six runs - five earned - seven hits and two walks in three-plus innings. Colon has a 7.07 ERA in the first inning with 22 earned runs and 38 hits in 28 innings.
Roark gave up two runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings to win four the first time in four starts since Aug. 20. After Dilson Herrera's RBI single in the seventh, Craig Stammen relieved with the bases loaded and got Wilmer Flores to hit into an inning-ending double play.
Matt Thornton hit Daniel Murphy on the left wrist in the eighth, loading the bases with one out. Lucas Duda lined out, and Tyler Clippard struck out Anthony Recker.
''We've got to play better. That's the only reason they're beating us at home. We're just not playing,'' Collins said. ''Tonight we had several opportunities to get back in the game and we didn't do anything.''
Only 2,000 to 3,000 fans were in the stands during the pregame ceremony marking the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Washington wore its alternate dark road jerseys with a stars and stripes curly ''W,'' and during batting practice the Mets wore hats of the New York police and fire department and other services. While the announced attendance was 21,111, it appeared less than half that amount was in the stands.
Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman, sidelined since straining his right hamstring on July 22, is taking pregame workouts, and Williams said the team will decide this weekend whether to send him to instructional league for games. ... Desmond returned to the starting lineup after missing a game because of a sore lower back.
Mets: OF Matt den Dekker missed his second straight start after being hit by a pitch on his left hand Tuesday but pinch ran for Murphy in the eighth.
LHP Gio Gonzalez is slated to start for Washington on Friday and RHP Dillon Gee for New York.