Redding shines as Mets edge Nationals
Tim Redding was eager to end the New York Mets' losing streak - and he wanted to do it fast.
The right-hander pitched splendidly into the eighth inning and New York stopped its six-game slide Saturday with a 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals.
Working quickly with rookie catcher Josh Thole, Redding threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of his 26 batters in a crisp game that took only 2 hours, 18 minutes.
"There's a couple good football games that started about 25 minutes ago. I told him, 'Let's keep the pace of this game going,"' Redding said.
Jeff Francoeur and Daniel Murphy supplied the offense for the Mets, who won for the second time in 12 games. They avoided their longest skid since dropping 11 straight Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, 2004, according to STATS LLC.
"That was a nice win," Francoeur said. "We needed that real bad."
Redding (3-6) outpitched left-hander John Lannan, who grew up in nearby Long Beach and tossed complete games against the Mets the previous two times he faced them this season - including a shutout.
Lannan (9-12) was on his game again, needing just 74 pitches to get through seven efficient innings. But the Mets scored twice in the seventh to snap a 1-all tie, taking advantage of a defensive mistake by rookie Ian Desmond, who was playing his first professional game in the outfield.
Desmond initially broke in on David Wright's liner to right, leaving him helpless when the ball sailed over his head for a leadoff double.
"That's a tough play - the line drive right at you," Desmond said. "People have been talking about it for years and years, and it is the hardest play. But it should have been caught."
Normally a middle infielder, Desmond had to borrow an outfielder's glove from teammate Justin Maxwell.
"If I had it to do over, I might not send him out there in that inning," Washington manager Jim Riggleman said. "It was a risk. It backfired."
Francoeur followed with his second double of the game, putting New York ahead, and moved to third on Fernando Tatis' fly to right. Francoeur scored his second run of the day on Murphy's RBI grounder, which scooted past first baseman Adam Dunn for a two-base error.
Francoeur is 19 for 40 (.475) in his last 10 games. He's also 10 for 19 with six RBIs in his career against Lannan.
"I feel good. I feel confident," Francoeur said. "I'm a happy-go-lucky guy and I'm trying to keep this clubhouse that way. It's a tough season."
Redding, who yielded only a bunt single through the first six innings, was lifted after Josh Bard's leadoff double in the eighth.
An ugly throwing error by reliever Sean Green cut it to 3-2, but Pedro Feliciano retired Dunn on a grounder with runners at the corners to end the inning.
Francisco Rodriguez worked a perfect ninth for his 32nd save in 38 chances, helped by Luis Castillo's diving play at second base. Desmond struck out to end it.
After losing 1-0 to Philadelphia's Pedro Martinez in his previous start, Redding faced the minimum through 5 2-3 innings before Lannan's walk in the sixth. He improved to 3-0 in his career against the Nationals, the team he pitched for the past two years.
"Those guys are putting runs on the board," Redding said. "I know they've been struggling lately, but you can't take them lightly. They've got some thump."
Redding also singled for his second hit this season. When he came out, he received a warm ovation from the crowd of 37,906 on a beautiful afternoon.
"Good off-speed stuff, hit his spots with his fastball, threw inside. He had it all going," Riggleman said.
Dunn tied it at 1 in the seventh with a single, his 100th RBI.
Francoeur hit a leadoff double in the second, advanced on Tatis' sacrifice and scored on Murphy's single over a drawn-in infield. Lannan had gone 19 innings against the Mets without allowing an earned run dating to a 5-2 loss May 25.
The first six innings were played in 74 minutes. ... Mets CF Carlos Beltran was rested. ... Before the game, Riggleman explained his decision to start Desmond in right. "It's about getting his athleticism in the lineup," the manager said. "We're last in the league in defense, so there's no wrong answers. We've got to try everything." Riggleman also said he wanted to get Pete Orr a start in Desmond's spot at second base to keep Orr sharp. Elijah Dukes was the odd man out in the outfield. Dukes had reached base safely in his last 20 games, batting .381 during that stretch.