Nationals 9, Mets 5, 10 innings

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NEW YORK (AP)—Ryan Zimmerman’s first major league homer sent the game to extra innings. Alfonso Soriano’s lack of hustle sent him to the bench.

Soriano was pulled by Nationals manager Frank Robinson for not running out a popup during Washington’s 9-5 victory over the New York Mets in 10 innings Wednesday night.

“That’s the rule around here,” Robinson said. “They’ve all been told. It’s been said more than one time.”

Soriano, hit in the helmet by a pitch in the second inning, popped up to the catcher in fair territory in the sixth and hardly budged from the batter’s box. He said he thought the ball might fade into foul territory, but Robinson’s decision was fair and he wasn’t surprised by it.

Soriano’s habit of not running balls out also agitated Yankees manager Joe Torre when Soriano played in New York.

“Everyone knows how Frank is. He doesn’t ask for much,” said Nationals teammate Jose Guillen, who hit a go-ahead homer in the 10th.

Acquired from Texas in a December trade, Soriano refused to play the outfield one day this spring before reluctantly agreeing to switch positions from second base. He was asked if he wants to play for Washington.

“Yeah, why not?” he said. “I feel comfortable. I like the team. I think we have a good team.”

Zimmerman hit a tying homer off new Mets closer Billy Wagner in the ninth, and Guillen connected for a two-run shot off loser Jorge Julio.

Nick Johnson hit a three-run drive in the sixth to start Washington’s comeback from a 4-0 deficit against right-hander Brian Bannister, who began his big league career with 5 1-3 hitless innings.

Carlos Delgado hit a two-run homer for his first hit with the Mets, and Xavier Nady also connected off starter John Patterson, bothered by a tight right forearm.

Patterson said he doesn’t think he’ll need to miss a turn, but Robinson said that might be something to consider.

Wagner entered in the ninth to protect a 4-3 lead, but Zimmerman led off and drove a 3-2 fastball over the left-field fence to tie it.

“Pretty good guy to get it off of,” Zimmerman said. “To hit it off someone like that makes it even more special.”

The first amateur draft pick in Nationals history a year ago, the third baseman out of Virginia hit .397 in 58 at-bats last season and is considered one of baseball’s most promising rookies.

“Don’t put him in Cooperstown. Slow down,” Robinson said. “It’s great to see him hit it—I don’t care if he hit it off Joe Blow.”

Zimmerman and Wagner know each other from workouts at Virginia.

“I wanted to blow his doors off,” Wagner said. “I don’t want to go to the Cavaliers banquet and hear this.”

Guillen homered in the 10th, just over the glove of leaping left fielder Cliff Floyd, after Jose Vidro singled.

“Hanging slider right in the middle. What do you expect me to do in that situation?” Guillen said.

Royce Clayton added a two-run single through a drawn-in infield, and Damian Jackson’s RBI double made it 9-4.

New York scored on Felix Rodriguez’s balk in the bottom half.

Chad Cordero worked a scoreless ninth for the win, escaping a bases-loaded jam when Paul Lo Duca lined out to right.

Washington hit only 117 home runs last season, fewest in the majors. Wagner gave up just six in 77 2-3 innings for Philadelphia before signing a $43 million, four-year contract with the Mets.

The hard-throwing lefty closed out a 3-2 victory in the season opener Monday.

Bannister, the son of former big league pitcher Floyd Bannister, got his first major league start 30 years after his dad was the No. 1 pick in the 1976 amateur draft by Houston out of Arizona State.

“It was a lot of fun,” the rookie said.

With his parents sitting behind home plate, Bannister allowed only two hits in six innings.

“It’s a big thrill. It’s hard to explain. It’s kind of surreal,” his father said during the seventh-inning stretch.

Showing confidence, poise and a major league curveball, the 25-year-old right-hander did not allow a hit until Vidro’s one-out double in the sixth. He got a warm ovation from the sparse crowd of 19,557 on a 44-degree night.

Bannister then hit Guillen with a pitch and gave up Johnson’s opposite-field homer for his first hit of the season. But Bannister regrouped after a visit from pitching coach Rick Peterson and struck out Clayton with a runner on second to end the inning.

“Inside he’s really excited and nervous, but he’s able to channel it outside to where it’s probably an asset for him,” said Floyd Bannister, an All-Star with Seattle in 1982, when he led the AL with 209 strikeouts.

Soriano said he was fine after getting plunked in the second, though his headgear might have been cracked. He said he expects to be ready to play Thursday night, and Robinson said there will be no further punishment.


David Wright had an RBI single for New York. … Nady’s home run was his first with the Mets. It made him 5-for-5 with his new team after a huge debut Monday. … Patterson gave up four runs, four hits and three walks in four innings, striking out seven.

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