Reporting Byron Kerr
The New York Mets ruined the return of right-hander Chien-Ming Wang, scoring four times in the first inning, and with a steady 6 2/3 innings from starter Dillon Gee, were able to hold off the Washington Nationals, 8-5, before 30,114 at Nationals Park.
The Nationals have lost six straight games and are now seven games under .500, having lost seven of their last eight games at home.
Pitching for the first time in majors since July 2009, Wang allowed the first five Mets’ hitters to reach base, four of them on singles, and New York scored four runs to set the tone early and lead, 4-0.
He was able to settle down in the second and third frames, but then got into trouble again in the fourth. This time his defense did not help him out. The Mets scored two more times, thanks to base hits by Jason Bay, Ronny Paulino and the pitcher Gee. A fielding error by Danny Espinosa and a misplay from Jayson Werth added to the problems. Jose Reyes’ sacrifice fly made it 6-0, Mets.
Wang completed four innings on 60 pitches, 39 for strikes. He allowed eight hits, six runs, four earned, with one walk, one wild pitch and two strikeouts. It was his first major league start since July 4, 2009.
The Nationals scored two runs in the fourth on hits by Ryan Zimmerman and Werth, sandwiched around a hit by pitch to Michael Morse and an error by Jose Reyes. The Mets advantage was cut to 6-2. A sacrifice fly by Rick Ankiel cut the score to 6-3, Mets. RBI doubles by Paulino and Reyes extended the Mets to 8-3 in the sixth.
Back came the Nationals in the eighth. After a Werth strikeout, the Nats pounded out four consecutive hits to cut the lead to 8-5, Mets. But with the bases loaded, Danny Espinosa and Zimmerman struck out to end the threat.