NEW YORK (AP) - Blame this loss on the hats.
Mets manager Terry Collins did.
Stephen Lombardozzi made his first big league hit and RBI count, driving in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning as the Washington Nationals beat New York 3-2 on Monday night.
For the second straight day, the Mets found themselves discussing Major League Baseball's decision to deny their request to wear caps from emergency-service units during Sunday's game, which marked the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. On Monday, Mets player representative Josh Thole said he's hoping to change the policy for next season.
Collins thinks it's one big distraction.
``What's the attention been since we walked into the ballpark today? It's not on who we're playing, it's not on who's pitching. We all want to know which kind of hat we're going to wear tonight. And that takes away from the game,' Collins said. ``It all takes away from their preparation. They're all being asked questions that they're afraid to make an answer, they're afraid to say the wrong thing. We've got to start focusing on what the game is, because, when it's all said and done, that's all that matters.'
David Wright, caught up in the cap controversy because he was seen in the dugout Sunday night wearing a cap honoring first responders, made his fourth error in three games to help the Nationals score an unearned run in the fifth. He dropped a throw from shortstop Jose Reyes while trying to apply a tag.
``Tonight, I think he just took his eye off the ball on that play at third,' Collins said. ``He's just going through one of those stages.'
Ross Detwiler and R.A. Dickey (8-12) were locked in early, each giving up one hit through four innings that took just 52 minutes.
Jayson Werth had three hits and Rick Ankiel and Wilson Ramos drove in runs for Washington, winners of two straight. One more win and the Nationals (68-77) will match their total from last year, when they went 69-93.
Todd Coffey got one out in the sixth, Tyler Clippard pitched two perfect innings and Drew Storen finished after walking Wright to start the ninth for his 35th save in 40 chances.
The Mets rallied late for the third straight game only to come up short again. They have lost five of six.
In contrast to his last start - six runs allowed against the Mets on Sept. 2, Detwiler was cruising until he lost the strike zone in the sixth and walked Justin Turner and Lucas Duda with two outs.
Wright followed with an RBI single and Angel Pagan doubled in another run with a soft liner down the right-field line to tie it 2-all and end Detwiler's night.
``Kind of lost touch of my fastball,' Detwiler said. ``I really wanted to finish the inning, but it was Coffey time.'
Coffey (5-1) couldn't sprint in from the bullpen fast enough, and he struck out Jason Bay with runners on second and third to end the inning. Bay, the NL player of the week, had another shot with one out in the ninth but struck out looking.
The Nationals regained the lead in the top of the seventh but ran themselves out of a chance to add on.
Ramos walked and advanced on Dickey's second wild pitch of the game. He moved up on a groundout, then broke for home on Brian Bixler's grounder to shortstop.
Instead of forcing a play at the plate, he froze halfway down the line and was tagged out by Wright. Lombardozzi then lined his first big league hit, coming in his sixth game. He was 0 for 15 - including going hitless in his first three at_bats Monday - before lining a clean single to left. Lombardozzi was called up from Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday.
``It was fitting that it happened that way,' manager Davey Johnson said. ``He won't remember the 0 for 15.'
While Bixler was running home, Lombardozzi took a wide turn to try and force the Mets to cut off the relay. He was caught in a rundown and tagged out.
``It was a big deep breath afterwards,' said Lombardozzi, a 19th-round pick by the Nationals in 2008. ``To drive the guy in to get the game-winning RBI is pretty awesome.' The postgame was pretty fun for him, too. First he learned that his mom and dad were at the game, then his teammates played a prank, giving him a ball with ``0 for 15 now 1 for 16' written on it by Coffey before Lombardozzi was handed the real souvenir ball.
``He couldn't get too much out. He was pretty emotional,' Lombardozzi said of his dad, a former big league player himself. ``I think they were just as relieved as me.'
Dickey could not extend his winning streak to four straight games even though he gave up three runs - two earned - in seven innings. Dickey has not allowed more than three earned runs in 10 straight starts.
``I gave up a couple of two-out hits. I think one of them was with two strikes and, a lot of times in a game like that, it's going to come back to haunt you, and it did,' Dickey said.
NOTES: The game took 2 hours, 41 minutes. ... The Mets held a news conference to announce a new anti-bullying campaign. Several players participated in a public service announcement for the website StopBullying.gov. ... Mets longtime public relations director Jay Horwitz had surgery on his broken right ankle. The team said he was resting comfortably. ... Mets RHP Dillon Gee (12-6) faces Nationals RHP Chien-Ming Wang (2-3) on Tuesday - ``Star Wars' night at Citi Field.
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