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Mets 2, Nationals 0

The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- Ike Davis hit a two-run homer and Jon Niese threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings to help the New York Mets to a 2-0 victory over the Washington Nationals on Saturday night.

This contest was largely a pitchers' duel between Niese (10-6) and Nationals left-hander Edwin Jackson (7-8). Neither team found many scoring chances, and that's why the Davis homer in the seventh proved to be enough.

The game remained scoreless through six innings before the Mets (57-63) finally broke through in the top of the seventh.

Jackson had retired 17 of 18 New York batters after Mike Baxter's first-inning triple until David Wright drew a leadoff walk in the seventh.

Davis then sent the next pitch into the Mets bullpen in left for a two-run homer and a 2-0 lead. Jackson threw a fastball that stayed too far over the plate, and Davis belted his 22nd homer this season. Seventeen of his homers have come on the road, the most in the National League.

The Mets couldn't do much else offensively, as 15 of their 27 outs came on strikeouts. They finished with three hits -- and Davis got two of them, his other being a bloop single in the ninth.

Jackson helped with those numbers. He allowed just those two runs on only two hits, struck out a season-high 11 batters and walked just one in seven innings.

But his teammates didn't give him any offensive support, and Niese made sure they wouldn't. He blanked Washington (74-46), scattering five hits during his 7 1/3-inning effort. The left-hander struck out seven and didn't walk anyone.

Former National Jon Rauch replaced Niese in the eighth to finish the inning. Frank Francisco came on in the ninth to close it for his 20th save.

Both teams threatened in the first inning, but neither team could do much else early on thanks to Jackson and Niese.

New York's Mike Baxter lined a one-out triple to left-center in the top of the first, but Jackson escaped by retiring Wright on a grounder to third and Davis on a fly ball to center.

Washington put two on with two outs in the bottom of the inning, but Niese retired the next two batters.

NOTES: Washington manager Davey Johnson gave rookie outfielder Bryce Harper another day off. Johnson's been giving Harper more time off lately in his first major-league season, especially since the rookie's been slumping at the plate. ... The Nationals came into the game with a 74-45 record, 29 games over .500, and that hasn't happened in a while in Washington. In fact, the last team from DC to do that came in 1933. ... Wright needs one more homer to reach 200 for his career. ... Kelly Shoppach's homer for the Mets on Friday night was his first in the National League, and his first with the team since the Mets acquired him from Boston last week. He has shown power in his career. Elias said Shoppach's career average of one homer every 22.1 at-bats ranks fourth among active catchers with 1,000 or more at-bats at that position. Shoppach now has 62 of his 65 homers as a catcher. ... Baxter's triple in the first inning stretched his hitting streak to a career-high seven games, going back to Aug. 9. ... The crowd of 42,662 was the ninth sellout of the season and the second-highest in the history of Nationals Park.
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