Nats capitalize to send Mets to 1st home loss

Nats capitalize to send Mets to 1st home loss

NEW YORK -- Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos drove in two runs apiece as the Nationals defeated the Mets, 8-2, at Citi Field on Thursday night. Washington has won three straight games to improve its record to 10-13.

Right-hander Stephen Strasburg won his second game of the season, allowing two runs in 5 1/3 innings while striking out seven.

Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom didn't have it on this night, allowing five runs -- three earned -- in 5 1/3 innings. The two unearned runs were the result of an error by Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores, which opened the door to a three-run fourth inning for the Nationals.

Nats capitalize on Flores' error

"I have to do a better job picking Flo up," said deGrom. "That was frustrating. I felt like I had good stuff."

Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper said it was only a matter of time before the team started to jell on the field.

"We are just having fun," Harper said. "... We come in with the confidence and the belief that we are going to win ballgames. Sometimes, the ball doesn't go your way. To do what we did the last three games, with the amount of runs that we had, it's nice to see."

It was the Mets' first loss at home this season, and they have lost four out of their last five games. But they remain in first place in the National League East with a 15-8 record.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Nats take the lead in the fourth: Down, 2-0, Washington scored three runs in the fourth inning, thanks in part to Flores' error. The Nationals took advantage of the situation as Denard Span scored on a single by Jayson Werth. Yunel Escobar then scored on a sacrifice fly by Zimmerman, while Werth scored on a groundout by Ramos.

Ramos' RBI groundout

"It's one thing to have a miscue, but we have to hit after that and we did tonight, which is a good sign," Nationals manager Matt Williams said.

Strasburg dealing: After allowing two runs in the second inning, Strasburg retired 10 straight hitters, while striking out five batters over that span. He left the game in the sixth inning after throwing 100 pitches.

Strasburg strikes out seven

"I tried to get them off-balance," Strasburg said. "It seemed like they were on the same page as me, so Willie and I had to make an adjustment. Willie called a great game. The offense came through again." More >

Gold glove, great arm: Mets center fielder Juan Lagares is known for showing off his glove. But it was his arm that cut down Zimmerman at the plate in the sixth to complete a double play, limit the damage and keep the Mets within striking distance at 5-2.

Lagares throws out Zimmerman

Mets miss opportunities: The Mets brought the tying run to the plate three times after starting the sixth with consecutive singles from Lucas Duda and Michael Cuddyer. After Daniel Murphy flew out to right against Strasburg, reliever Aaron Barrett struck out Eric Campbell and retired Flores on a lineout. The Mets finished the night 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Barrett gets out of jam

Harper clears the bases: Harper put the game out of reach with a three-run double in the ninth inning off reliever Jack Leathersich. More >

QUOTABLE
"It's cool out there tonight. He is doing a lot out there -- hitting balls over the fence, getting five hits, rushing for 1,000 yards, you name it. He is doing it all."
-- Williams on Denard Span, who was taken out of Thursday's game because of an abdominal injury More >

"You look at the way the Nationals are playing right now. Their shortstop got off to one of the worst starts of anybody. He's still playing shortstop and they're playing good. So I think you have to be a little patient and tell Wilmer, look, slow it down, relax and make the plays."
-- Mets manager Terry Collins on Flores' defensive struggles More >

Collins on deGrom, Strasburg

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Nationals are 25-5 at Citi Field since the start of the 2012 season. During Williams' tenure (since the start of the '14 season), the Nationals are 10-1 at Citi Field.

SOLIS MAKES DEBUT
Nationals left-hander Sammy Solis made his Major League debut and pitched two shutout innings, allowing one hit and recording one strikeout.

Solis is solid in MLB debut

"I felt great and I'll be ready tomorrow," Solis said. More >

WHAT'S NEXT
Nationals: Right-hander Max Scherzer will pitch for the first time since April 23 when the Nationals and Mets continue their series on Friday night at 7:10 p.m. ET. He missed his last start against the Braves because of a sore right thumb, which he injured in the batter's box against the Cardinals last week.

Mets: Matt Harvey threw 8 2/3 innings his last time out, when he improved to 4-0 with a win against the Yankees. With another strong outing against the Nationals, Harvey can become the first pitcher in the Majors to five wins.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.