Castillo’s homer, Wright’s tiebreaking double lead Mets over Nationals 7-4

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WASHINGTON (AP)—Luis Castillo’s pregame home-run hitting contest with teammate Jose Reyes paid off in a big way Saturday night.

Castillo went deep for the first time in more than a year, David Wright hit a tiebreaking two-run double and the surging New York Mets beat the Washington Nationals 7-4.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” said Castillo, who hadn’t homered since July 16, 2006, a span of 674 at-bats. “I feel loose right-handed.”

Castillo gained some confidence during his contest with Reyes in batting practice at spacious RFK Stadium.

“I see a lot of lefties this series,” he said. “In the last round of BP, I hit a lot of balls to the fence. I thought I’d put the ball into play. I got good contact.”

Castillo and Wright drove in two runs apiece to back left-hander Oliver Perez (11-8), who won for the first time in four starts. The Mets have won five of six and lead Philadelphia by four games in the NL East.

“We’re starting to click,” said Wright, who is hitting .432 with 11 RBIs in his last nine games. “We’ve been swinging the bats well enough for a week, a week and a half. The top-of-the-order guys are getting on, setting the table, stealing some bases, giving our guys a lot of RBI opportunities.”

Perez allowed three runs and seven hits over 5 2-3 innings, walked three and struck out three. He is one victory away from matching his career high in wins, established in 2004 with Pittsburgh.

Billy Wagner pitched the ninth for his 29th save in 31 chances.

Washington has lost three straight and six of eight.

“Against teams like this, we always say we have to play close to perfect,” Nationals manager Manny Acta said. “Obviously, giving them extra outs and making mistakes on 0-2 counts with balls right down the middle of the plate, that’s not perfection.”

The Mets lost infielder Damion Easley to an injured left ankle in the sixth inning. He sustained a grade-three sprain and will fly to New York on Sunday for further tests.

Castillo’s solo homer off left-hander John Lannan (1-2)—a liner over the left-field wall off a 2-1 pitch—put the Mets up 1-0 in the first.

Nook Logan had a sacrifice fly and Lannan got his first major league hit and RBI in the second but New York took over from there. The Mets tied it in the third when Jose Reyes doubled, swiped third and scored after shortstop Felipe Lopez’s high throw on Castillo’s grounder pulled first baseman Dmitri Young off the bag.

Wright flared a two-run double down the right-field line in the fourth to drive in Reyes and Castillo and put New York in front 4-2.

“It was a good pitch,” Lannan said of the inside fastball. “He just fought it off. It’s going to happen.”

Easley led off the sixth with a single, but pulled up short of second base after rolling his ankle while trying to advance on a wild pitch by Lannan. Easley crumpled to the ground after stumbling over second and was replaced by pinch-runner Shawn Green, who moved to third on a passed ball and scored on Mike DiFelice’s double.

Lannan went 5 2-3 innings, allowing five runs and eight hits. He walked one and struck out three.

“There were situations where I didn’t make the best pitch I could have and it hurt me,” Lannan said.

Washington cut the lead to 5-3 in the sixth when Wily Mo Pena hit a two-out double and scored on Jesus Flores’ single. Logan then doubled and pinch-hitter Tony Batista walked to load the bases. Guillermo Mota relieved and got Lopez to hit a comebacker to the mound.

Wright doubled and scored on Moises Alou’s double in the seventh. Zimmerman’s RBI double made it 6-4 in the bottom of the inning.

Notes

The Mets placed C Ramon Castro on the 15-day disabled list with a sore lower back and purchased the contract of C Sandy Alomar Jr. from Triple-A New Orleans. … Pena went 1-for-4 with a walk and scored two runs in his Nationals debut. Pena was acquired with cash considerations from Boston on Friday for a player to be named. … Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman committed his 19th error, most among major league third basemen. … The game drew a crowd of 35,157, the third-highest attendance of the season, despite an NFL preseason game between the Washington Redskins and Pittsburgh Steelers that attracted 69,322 to FedEx Field in nearby Landover, Md. … After the game, Washington designated OF Ryan Langerhans for assignment and activated RHP Jesus Colome (soft tissue infection in right buttock) from the 15-day disabled list.

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