NEW YORK (AP) - A day after beating Stephen Strasburg, the New York Mets hit even harder against Gio Gonzalez.
Too bad for the Mets, none of their pitchers could shut down Bryce Harper on Saturday.
Harper launched two long home runs, including a tiebreaking drive in the eighth inning, and also doubled to lead the Washington Nationals over the Mets 7-6.
``He beats you in many ways, not just home runs,' Mets manager Terry Collins said. ``If he gets on base he can steal a base or two as well. He's a dangerous player.'
Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond homered for the Nationals on Bark in the Park day at Citi Field. Fans paid $35 for tickets in the second deck in right field, and brought their dogs for $10.
Harper, who has a young chocolate Labrador retriever named Swag, hit a two-run homer to right-center in the third. He then hit the first pitch from Josh Edgin (0-1) in the eighth even farther and harder to right-center for his seventh home run.
``I felt like I threw the ball well today. I made one bad pitch and he hit it out of the ballpark,' Edgin said.
``That one pitch came back and bit me. He could have popped that ball up, but he hit it pretty hard out of the ballpark instead,' he said.
Harper has four multihomer games in not quite a full year in the majors. The 20-year-old All-Star walked in his other plate appearance and is hitting .371 this season.
Washington finished with seven hits, all for extra-base hits.
On Friday night, Ike Davis and Lucas Duda each homered twice as the Mets topped Strasburg and the Nationals 7-1.
The Mets scored five runs in the fourth off Gonzalez with two outs. The lefty who led the majors with 21 wins last year looked uncomfortable, crouching on the mound before giving up two-run singles to Collin Cowgill and Justin Turner and an RBI single to Daniel Murphy.
``Obviously disappointing,' said Mets star David Wright, who hit a leadoff triple in the big fourth. ``When you get five off of Gio, you got to win that game.'
``You get big innings against Strasburg and Gio back-to-back and you can't capitalize on that, it's disappointing. They have racked up some pretty good numbers against us since they've been a part of that team. Today was a good day for us to change some of those numbers around.'
The Mets didn't homer for the first time in eight home games this year. They do, however, have a history that links homers and dogs: Before the bigheaded Mr. Met, their first mascot was a beagle named Homer.
In 1962, Homer was supposed to run around the bases at the Polo Grounds after the Mets connected. The first time he tried to do it in a game, the story goes, he reached second base and took off on a sprint for center field.
LaRoche hit a three-run homer in the fifth that put Washington ahead 6-5. The Mets tied it in the seventh when Daniel Murphy hustled for an infield hit and scored on John Buck's two-out double, helped when shortstop Desmond bobbled the relay.
Tyler Clippard (1-0) got four outs for the win and Rafael Soriano closed for his sixth save.
Craig Stammen relieved Gonzalez and struck out five in two perfect innings.
Desmond homered leading off the second against Jeremy Hefner. Harper homered the next inning and doubled in front of LaRoche's two-out home run.
NOTES: Mets SS Ruben Tejada didn't start, a day after a Nationals player rolled over his right ankle on a slide. Tejada pinch-hit in the fourth and walked. ... Hefner made a behind-the-back stop on Kurt Suzuki's hard comebacker and threw him out from a sitting position.
The Associated Press News Service
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