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By David Driver, The Sports Xchange August 30, 2013 10:00 PM
WASHINGTON -- Dillon Gee beat division rival Washington for the fourth time this season and Ike Davis hit a change up for a home run in the fourth as the New York Mets defeated the Nationals 3-2 on Friday in the first of a three-game series. It was just the sixth loss in the last 20 games for Washington (68-66), which was trying to get to four games above .500 for the first time since July 7. The Mets (61-72) have lost six of their previous eight. LaTroy Hawkins came on in the ninth and got his sixth save for New York as he retired Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche in order. LaRoche was called out on strikes to end the game. The Mets added an insurance run in the eighth as Daniel Murphy doubled and scored on a two-out infield hit by Andrew Brown to make the score 3-1. Washington's Steve Lombardozzi hit a solo pinch-hit homer in the eighth against Gee to pull the Nationals to within one run at 3-2. It was the first pinch-hit homer of Lombardozzi's career and the second of the season. Gee (10-9) entered the game with a mark of 3-1 and an ERA of 2.10 in four previous starts this year against Washington. He did give up three homers in his last start in Washington on July 27. Left-hander Scott Rice relieved Gee with two outs in the eighth and Bryce Harper at the plate. Rice got Harper to ground out on a ball bobbled by Murphy, who easily threw out a slow-running Harper. Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann (15-8) was taken out in the eighth after Brown's RBI hit. He gave up three earned runs in 7 and 2/3 innings, throwing just 93 pitches -- 71 for strikes. Davis' two-run homer to left in the fourth gave the Mets a 2-0. It was the ninth homer of the season for Davis, who entered the game with a .204 batting average. Wilson Ramos had given the Nationals a 1-0 lead in the third with a homer against Gee. It was also the ninth homer of the season for Ramos, who missed 44 games with a left hamstring injury before coming off the disabled list on July 4. Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud led off the fifth with a double in the alley in left-center field, but Zimmermann retired the next three batters. NOTES: Washington manager Davey Johnson said before the game that Ross Ohlendorf will start Sunday against the Mets and Stephen Strasburg will go Monday at Philadelphia. Strasburg pitched just two innings because of a rain delay on Tuesday and Johnson had considered having Strasburg start Sunday. ... This is the last home series for Johnson against the Mets, the team he led to the 1986 World Series title. ... Pitcher Vic Black was acquired by the Mets as the player to be named in the Aug. 27 deal that sent Marlon Byrd and John Buck to the Pittsburgh Pirates. ... Brown began Friday with 10 RBIs in August, the most RBIs in any calendar month in his career. ... Davis and Werth of the Nationals are among the leaders in on-base percentage during August in the National League.