WASHINGTON (AP) - With their recent offensive woes, the Washington Nationals have needed strong starting pitching just to stay in ballgames. They didn't get it on Friday night.
The New York Mets jumped on Washington starter Ross Detwiler for six runs over the first three innings and beat the Nationals 7-3.
David Wright hit a three-run homer, Angel Pagan drove in two runs and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey pitched into the seventh inning on three days' rest for New York.
Wright's shot off Detwiler (2-5) gave the Mets a 3-0 lead in the first. It was his 12th home run of the year. Pagan's two-run single in the third gave New York a 6-1 lead.
``It's definitely my worst outing,' Detwiler said. ``Nothing worked and they hit everything I threw up there hard.'
Detwiler was hurt by his inability to keep his pitches down in the strike zone.
``I didn't do it at all tonight,' he said. ``I think there was one pitch I actually threw down in the zone and it got hit on the ground. When you do that one time in three innings you're going to get hurt pretty bad.'
``I didn't think he had real good command,' Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. ``It was just one of those days you turn the page on.'
The Nationals have dropped nine of 10 and are 10 games under .500 for the first time this season. The Mets have won seven of eight.
In his three innings, Detwiler allowed six runs and seven hits.
Dickey (7-11) won his second game in four days. Pitching on short rest for the third time in his career, he recorded consecutive wins for the first time this season. He left after giving up a leadoff single in the seventh, allowing three runs on nine hits and striking out one.
``Obviously he has his knuckleball, but he throws his fastball and other pitches as well,' Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. ``He's one of those guys who always gives you a solid start. He's tough. You don't see guys like that too often.'
Dickey wasn't happy with his knuckleball, and had to find another way to keep the Mets in the game.
``I was able to throw a larger number of conventional pitches because I felt fine,' Dickey said. ``I needed to to survive. I'm glad I have enough arm strength to do that.'
The Nationals scored a run in the first on Michael Morse's RBI single, and two in the fifth on Rick Ankiel's eighth home run.
Washington had baserunners in all but two innings, but they left eight on. Despite their recent record, Johnson says he sees a lot to like with his team.
``I see a lot of good signs,' Johnson said. ``I like the approach the guys are taking. I see the improvement in their play, in their mental approach, and I'm pleased with all that.'
After Dickey departed, Tim Byrdak, Ryota Igarashi, Josh Stinson and Daniel Herrera combined to shut out Washington for the final three innings.
Nick Evans and Lucas Duda also homered for New York. Both were long shots, with Duda reaching the second deck in right in the seventh.
NOTES: Washington recalled OF Roger Bernadina from Triple-A Syracuse. ... 2B Danny Espinosa did not play. He was the only Washington player to appear in each of the team's games. ... Nationals OF Laynce Nix was out with a strained right groin. ... New York C Josh Thole was out of the lineup with a bruised left wrist. ... Mets IF Ruben Tejada was rested with a bruised middle finger on his left hand. ... Stinson made his major league debut, pitching 1 2-3 innings, allowing two hits. Herrera was added to the roster before the game. He struck out Jonny Gomes for the final out. Herrera was acquired on Thursday from Milwaukee as one of the two players to be named later in the trade for Francisco Rodriguez. ... LHP Tom Milone is scheduled to make his major league debut for Washington on Saturday. Milone struck out 155 batters for Syracuse and walked just 16 in 148 1-3 innings. RHP Dillon Gee (12-5), who has beaten the Nationals in each of his three starts against them, will start for the Mets. ... New York LHP Johan Santana, who underwent shoulder surgery last September, will pitch two innings in a rehab game on Saturday for Class A St. Lucie.
The Associated Press News Service
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