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Nationals 6, Mets 3

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NEW YORK -- Jayson Werth continued his scorching second half on Tuesday night by going 3-for-4 with a solo homer and two RBI, and the Washington Nationals kept up their desperate late-season surge into the National League wild-card race by beating the New York Mets 6-3 in front of an announced crowd of 20,307 at Citi Field.

The Nationals (75-69) have won four straight and are 15-5 since Aug. 20. Washington's win, coupled with Cincinnati's loss to the Chicago Cubs, pulled the Nationals within six games of the Reds for the second wild card spot. The Nationals have 18 games left and the Reds have 16 games remaining.

While the Nationals only began stirring recently, Werth has been red-hot for more than two months. Werth entered play on July 4 hitting just .265, but in 59 games since then, he is hitting .388 with 15 homers and 45 RBIs. He entered Tuesday leading the NL in slugging percentage (.534) and third in batting average (.324).

His two-hit game was his fourth in a row and his 27th since July 4.

Adam LaRoche hit a solo homer in the second inning for the Nationals and finished 2-for-4. Denard Span doubled in the third to extend his hitting streak to 21 games. Scott Hairston's two-run, pinch-homer in the ninth provided insurance.

A quartet of Nationals relievers preserved the 17th win for starter Jordan Zimmermann, who allowed all three runs, eight hits and one walk while striking out four in five-plus innings.

Zimmermann was chased after Matt den Dekker's two-run single with no outs in the sixth pulled the Mets within 4-3. Craig Stammen, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard combined on three innings of no-hit relief and Ramos threw out den Dekker and Eric Young attempting to steal second in the sixth and seventh, respectively.

Rafael Soriano picked up his 40th save by working around a leadoff single in the ninth.

The Mets (64-79) have lost seven of their last nine.

Justin Turner was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored before he exited with tightness in his right hamstring, Rookie catcher Travis d'Arnaud went 2-for-4.

Mets starter Dillon Gee fell to 11-10 after allowing four runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. Gee walked none and struck out five.

Both the Nationals and Mets picked up where they left off on Monday, when Washington hit five homers and Gio Gonzalez threw a one-hitter in the Nationals' 9-0 win.

Werth and LaRoche hit solo homers in the first and second, respectively, before Werth's RBI double in the third scored Span to extend the Nationals' lead to 3-0.

Zimmermann's no-hit bid lasted only until Omar Quintanilla led off the third with a single. The Mets finally snapped a 12-inning scoreless streak in the fourth, when Daniel Murphy led off with a ground-rule double and scored on Turner's one-out single.

NOTES: The Mets will host the Nationals on Opening Day next March 31, according to the preliminary 2014 Major League Baseball schedule released Tuesday. The two teams have played on Opening Day six times, though just once since the Nationals moved from Montreal after the 2004 season. ... The Mets recalled SS Ruben Tejada from Triple-A Las Vegas, whose season ended Saturday. By waiting until Tuesday to recall Tejada, the Mets ensured he would not hit free agency until the end of the 2017 season. ... Mets RHP Bobby Parnell (herniated neck disk) and LHP Scott Rice (hernia) each underwent successful surgeries on Tuesday. ... Nationals LF Bryce Harper (inflammation in his left hip) took batting practice and is expected to return to the lineup on Wednesday. Harper hasn't played since Friday. ... LaRoche committed two errors on the same play in the fifth inning when he dropped Zimmermann's pickoff throw to first. Eric Young raced to second, where LaRoche's throw clipped off the glove of Ian Desmond and went into center field.
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