Mets 2 Nationals 0
- Last Updated: 12:02 PM, August 19, 2012
- Posted: 1:37 AM, August 19, 2012
Considering the hurting the Nationals have put on them this year, the Mets were allowed to savor last night’s victory as if they were finally able to sip from a glass of fine wine.
Three hits and a win — that’s a satisfying night anywhere, but especially in the shadow of the Capitol.
“You always want to beat the best, and right now they’re the best in the division,” Ike Davis said after the Mets’ 2-0 victory before a sellout crowd of 42,662 at Nationals Park.
Davis hit a two-run homer in the seventh to account for the Mets’ runs, giving Jon Niese the lead on a night he pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings before Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco finished it. The victory was just the Mets’ fourth in 14 games against the Nationals this season.
Francisco had flopped in his previous two appearances, in which he was yanked before finishing the ninth inning, but last night, he retired the side in order for his second save since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 2.
It was a second straight dominant start for Niese (10-6) after going more than a month without consecutive good ones. The left-hander ran his scoreless streak to 13 1/3 innings, holding the Nationals to five hits, with seven strikeouts and no walks. Niese is 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA in six career starts against the Nationals.
“It was just another of those nights where everything felt good and Josh [Thole] called a great game,” Niese said. “We had the game plan of working in and out and we just executed pitches and it worked out.”
Davis slammed his 22nd homer to left field in the seventh, giving the Mets a 2-0 lead, and spoiling Edwin Jackson’s night. David Wright walked leading off the inning before Davis hit his NL-leading 17th road home run this season. Jackson (7-8) allowed just two hits over seven innings with a season-high 11 strikeouts.
“If you’re going to compete at this level, you’ve got to hit some balls out of the ballpark,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “That’s what Ike’s job is. ... We want [Wright] to hit some out. When you do that, you can be dangerous. Hopefully, Ike’s on track to finish strong.”
Niese escaped his second jam in as many innings in the fifth, when he retired Jayson Werth to leave Jesus Flores stranded at second base.
Adam LaRoche was awarded a double on a fly to left Jordany Valdespin should have caught with two outs in the fourth, but Niese rebounded to retire Ian Desmond and keep the game scoreless.
The Nationals (74-46) still have the best record in the majors and have become the envy of the Mets.
Wright, before the game, stopped just short of saying he will root for the Nationals should they reach the playoffs, but said there is plenty he likes about the organization.
The Mets third baseman is a childhood friend of his Washington counterpart, Ryan Zimmerman, and also played for Nationals manager Davey Johnson with Team USA in the World Baseball Classic in 2009. Wright also sees the Nationals as a model franchise of sorts.
“They’ve done a tremendous job, not just building to win right now, but they’ve got a plan and they are executing that plan, and it’s not just short-term success,” Wright said. “They are going to be built for a long time.
“They don’t have any kind of glaring weaknesses. Their starting pitching is right up there with the best in baseball. Same thing with their bullpen and offensively there’s nothing you look at and say, ‘We can expose them here.’ They’ve done a terrific job.”Follow @NYPostsports