Willingham’s Big Night Leads Nationals to 3-1 Win Over Mets

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Willingham's Big Night Leads Nationals to 3-1 Win Over Mets You know things are bad when you start dropping series to the Washington Nationals.

The Mets continued their free fall on Wednesday with a 3-1 loss to the Nats, their fifth loss in seven games since the All-Star break. Their offense has looked alarmingly similar to Boston's, mustering just 16 runs during that stretch and failing to come through with a big hit to support solid pitching.

Mike Pelfrey took the loss for New York after a seven-inning effort, giving up three runs on six hits and striking out two. Bobby Parnell, Pedro Feliciano and Sean Green each got an out in the eighth to keep the game within reach, but for the second straight night, the offense could not get anything done.

Only four Mets managed to get hits on Wednesday night, one of whom was backup Fernando Tatis, playing only because Luis Castillo was ejected in the second inning for arguing a call. Even Jeff Francoeur — who has sustained the Mets with a .364 average since joining the team from Atlanta — went 0-for-4.

Washington hurler Craig Stammen, who was recalled from Triple-A at the end of May, improved to 3-5 after going 7 1/3 innings and allowing just one run on four hits with five K's. Closer Mike MacDougal earned his sixth save of the season after a perfect ninth.

Ronnie Belliard
put the Nats on the board in the bottom of the fourth, when his sacrifice fly scored Nick Johnson. New York knotted the score at one in the sixth when Angel Pagan hit a triple to center and scored on Christian Guzman's throwing error.

Washington's Josh Willingham put the game away in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run shot to left. He went 4-for-4 and was the only member of either team to register more than one hit.

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