Nationals 6, Mets 2
NEW YORK (AP)—With his bullpen worn out and facing four games in three days against the first-place New York Mets, Washington manager Manny Acta was concerned with how many innings he would get from starter Mike Bacsik.
“I spent time with (pitching coach) Randy (St. Claire) today trying to decide how many innings we could get from him without pushing,” Acta said. “Five or six was borderline what we needed.”
That seemed the limit for Bacsik, who had gone into the seventh inning only twice in 12 starts.
But Bacsik gave the Nationals seven inning Friday night, throwing just 83 pitches in a 6-2 victory.
“He gave me even more than I hoped for,” Acta said. “It was a huge lift. They were aggressive and he kept locating his fastball low and away.”
It was an unusual show of offensive support for Bacsik. Washington is the lowest scoring team in the majors and the Nationals had scored two runs or fewer in five of his 12 starts this season. They bettered that quickly, bunching the four doubles for three runs against Jorge Sosa (7-6) in the second inning.
“We got those runs and I knew the home run couldn’t hurt me,” Bacsik said. “The bullpen was used up. You know there’s nothing you can do about it with a doubleheader coming up. I was happy to give the pen a rest tonight. It worked out great.”
Not for the Mets.
“What you saw is what happens when you get the ball up in the zone,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said. “Being able to make pitches and get the pitches in spots, that’s what Bacsik did.”
Sosa has struggled since winning six of his first seven decisions with the Mets after being called up from Triple-A New Orleans on May 5. Friday’s loss was his fifth in seven starts since June 13.
“I felt I was too quick to the plate,” Sosa said through an interpreter. “All my pitches were up and my slider wasn’t sharp enough.”
Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran sat out his third straight game with a stomach muscle strain. Moises Alou, in his first game since May 12, doubled on the first pitch he saw in the second inning and went 1-for-4.
The Mets got one run back in the bottom of the third when Alou, back from the disabled list after 66 games, doubled, took third on Paul Lo Duca’s single and scored when Lastings Milledge hit into a double play.
Church hit his seventh homer of the season in the third, making it 4-1.
The Mets scored in the fifth when Shawn Green doubled with one out and went to third on Sosa’s single. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman robbed Jose Reyes of a hit with a leaping catch of his line drive but Damion Easley followed with an RBI single. Bacsik then got David Wright on an inning-ending grounder.
Kearns hit Sosa’s first pitch in the sixth off the screen in left field for his seventh home run, restoring Washington’s three-run lead.
In the eighth, Kearns walked, stole second and scored on Schneider’s two-out single against Pedro Feliciano.
On Merengue Night at Shea Stadium, players were introduced in Spanish for each at-bat. … RHP Jon Adkins, recalled from Triple-A New Orleans, made his Mets debut, relieving Sosa with a scoreless seventh.