NEW YORK — Adam Kennedy and Ryan Zimmerman hit consecutive homers to support a sharp outing by rookie Luis Atilano, and the Washington Nationals beat the New York Mets 3-2 Monday night.
Ivan Rodriguez had an RBI single in the seventh inning among his four hits and stole a base for Washington, which came in tied with New York for second in the NL East at 17-14. Kennedy homered to right and Zimmerman to left off John Maine (1-2) in the third.
Atilano (3-0) allowed five hits in 5 1-3 scoreless innings and got his first big league hit to help the Nationals improve to four games over .500 (18-14) for the first time since they were 77-73 on Sept. 19, 2005.
Rodriguez's run-scoring single off Pedro Feliciano in the seventh became the deciding run when Miguel Batista gave up a one-out solo homer to Angel Pagan in the ninth. Batista finished for his first save, striking out Jason Bay with a runner on to end it.
Jose Reyes became the second Mets player ejected for disputing a called third strike in two days. He was tossed by plate umpire Laz Diaz in the seventh after David Wright was booted in the ninth Sunday. Manager Jerry Manuel was ejected for defending Reyes — perhaps he was just expressing his frustration at another poor game at the plate for New York.
The Mets followed up 14 strikeouts Sunday with 11 more on Monday, going 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. They stranded 11 runners overall and lost their second game in a row.
New York made two big mistakes on the bases.
With a runner on second, Wright was doubled off first on Ike Davis' popup to third after getting his first hit in 10 at-bats (nine strikeouts). In the seventh, Jeff Francoeur broke from third on Pagan's chopper to the mound and was caught in a rundown. Luis Castillo followed with an RBI single off Doug Slaten, called up from Triple-A on Sunday, that pulled the Mets to 2-1.
Atilano was coming off the worst outing of his young career – four starts. He admittedly was anxious when he gave up six runs Wednesday to the team that traded him after he had Tommy John surgery in 2006, the Atlanta Braves.
He had no such problems against the slumping Mets, though. Atilano got five of his first six outs by strikeout on Monday.
Two of them came after he loaded the bases on a single and two walks in the first. First, Wright struck out for his seventh straight at-bat for out No. 2. Then, Davis fanned to end the inning.
Atilano gave up five hits and walked two. He struck out five and did not let a runner reach third after the first.
Maine gave up two runs and six hits in six innings. He walked four and struck out five.
Nationals LHP John Lannan (left elbow discomfort) threw a bullpen session and is expected to make his next scheduled start Thursday. … Mets C Henry Blanco was placed on the bereavement list so he can be with his ailing mother in Venezuela. The team recalled C Josh Thole from Triple-A Buffalo to take his place.
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