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Nats fall to Mets as Harvey bests Scherzer

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Nats fall to Mets as Harvey bests Scherzer

By BEN WALKER

NEW YORK (AP) -- Matt Harvey outpitched Max Scherzer, barely, and the New York Mets backed their ace with a lot of fancy fielding before breaking away from the Washington Nationals 4-0 Friday night.

Michael Cuddyer homered early as the Mets stopped their longest losing streak of the year at three. Daniel Murphy added a three-run double in the eighth inning when left fielder Jayson Werth mistakenly broke in and then slipped trying to recover.

The Nationals, who had won 15 of their last 16 at Citi Field, were denied a season-high four-game winning string.

Harvey (5-0) became the first five-game winner in the majors, giving up five hits and striking out three in seven innings. He's won every time he's started this year after missing last season while recuperating from Tommy John surgery.

Scherzer (1-3) fanned 10, and also allowed five hits in seven innings. But Cuddyer tagged him for a drive in the fourth, leaving Scherzer with only one win in five starts despite a 1.26 ERA.

Mets manager Terry Collins left no doubt how much this early matchup between his surprising club and the favored Nationals meant. He brought in Jeurys Familia with a 1-0 lead to get five outs, and the closer responded for his 10th save in as many chances.

On the day that Major League Baseball began implementing warnings and fines under its pace of play rules, there was no dawdling. On a brisk night, it was a brisk game in 2 hours, 29 minutes.

The Mets kept things moving with their defense.

Gold Glove center fielder Juan Lagares raced in to rob Ian Desmond -- now in an 0-for-29 slump -- and first baseman Lucas Duda neatly reached into the stands to grab a foul pop.

Rookie catcher Kevin Plawecki protected the one-run lead by throwing out Bryce Harper trying to steal second to end the sixth. Originally called safe, Harper was erased after Collins called for a replay challenge.

Shaky shortstop Wilmer Flores made his seventh error, but second baseman Dilson Herrera -- promoted from Triple-A hours earlier -- helped out on a pair of double plays.

The Nationals also were sharp with their gloves, until Werth's misplay. Center fielder Michael Taylor raced way back and reached real high to catch Plawecki's shot to the warning track. Harper later threw out Curtis Granderson at the plate when he tried to score from second on a single.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: CF Denard Span sat out, a day after leaving in the sixth inning because of general soreness. He's had a pair of recent surgeries in his core muscle area and started the season on the disabled list. Manager Matt Williams hopes Span will be able to play Saturday.

Mets: Flores will get a planned day off Saturday and Ruben Tejada will start, but it's no more than that. "He's had a couple of bad games and everybody wants to write him off," Collins said before the game. "I understand it," he said, but added, "you've got to give him a chance."

UP NEXT

LHP Gio Gonzalez (1-2, 5.01 ERA) starts for the Nationals. He's 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA in eight career starts at Citi Field. LHP Jonathon Niese (2-1, 2.74) pitches for the Mets.

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Can slumping Nationals, Gio Gonzalez end losing streak Monday vs. Padres?

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Can slumping Nationals, Gio Gonzalez end losing streak Monday vs. Padres?

When the Washington Nationals visited San Diego on May 7-9, they won the first two games of a three-game series to move within 1 1/2 games of the National League West lead.

At the time, the Nationals were on a bit of a run and the Padres were reeling with a 13-24 record.

Two weeks after that series, the Padres and Nationals meet again in Washington, D.C (7:05 p.m. ET, Monday). And the fortunes of the two teams have changed a bit.

Since winning that series finale at Petco Park to avoid being swept by the Nationals, the Padres have gone 7-4 and are riding a three-game winning streak.

The Nationals have gone 4-4 and just lost a third straight game to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday in Washington to slip four games off the lead in their division.

The Nationals are the home team this time for a three-game series that opens Monday night with a matchup of left-handers -- Gio Gonzalez (4-2, 2.36 ERA) going for Washington with Robbie Erlin (1-2, 3.46) making a spot start for San Diego.

On paper, the pairing clearly favors the hosts.

Erlin, 27, has met the Nationals twice in his career. Both games were at Nationals Park. Erlin is 0-2 in the matchups with a 16.39 ERA.

In Erlin's two previous outings in the nation's capital, Erlin has given up 17 runs, 19 hits and six walks with six strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings. The Nationals have hit .413 against Erlin, who has a 2.68 WHIP against Washington.

This will be only the second start of the season for Erlin, who returned this year after having Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery midway through 2016.

Thirteen of Erlin's 14 appearances this season have been out of the bullpen. His one previous start was April 16 against the Dodgers. He gave up six runs (five earned), seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts in three innings.

Erlin is filling the vacancy created when rookie left-hander Joey Lucchesi went on the disabled list with a slightly strained glute. The Padres are hoping Lucchesi will miss only one start, although it looks like it could now be two or three.

Gonzalez is no stranger to the Padres. He started the May 9 game that the Nationals lost 2-1. Gonzalez allowed one run, five hits and three walks in six innings. Afterward, he said he struggled with his command.

Gonzalez was not involved in that decision. During his career, he has made seven starts against the Padres and has a 3-2 record with a 3.21 ERA, a 1.357 WHIP and a .253 opponents' batting average. Against the Padres, Gonzalez has given up 19 runs (15 earned), 41 hits and 16 walks with 41 strikeouts in 42 innings.

When the Nationals were in San Diego, first baseman-left fielder Matt Adams went 3-for-8 with a double, two homers, six RBIs and three runs scored -- although he got the third game off.

Since leaving San Diego, Adams has hit only .143. Washington's Bryce Harper is hitting .125 in the last eight games with a homer and three RBIs.

Another key player in the first Padres-Nationals series was Howie Kendrick, who was 5-for-12 with a double and two runs scored. But Kendrick has been lost with a ruptured Achilles tendon and on Saturday the Nationals promoted a 19-year-old prospect from Double-A.

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Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

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Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

WASHINGTON  -- Kike Hernandez and Yasiel Puig each hit two-run homers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Hernandez's blast off Stephen Strasburg in the fifth inning put the Dodgers up 3-2. Yasmani Grandal also homered off Strasburg (5-4), who allowed three runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts.

Alex Wood (1-4) pitched six innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs. Wood came out to start the seventh, but returned to the clubhouse after showing some discomfort during his warm-up tosses.

Trea Turner homered for Washington, which swept Arizona last weekend and then went five days without playing a full game because of rain before getting swept by the Dodgers.

Los Angeles, after losing six consecutive games, has now won four straight overall and five of six over Washington this season.

Washington's Juan Soto, at 19 the youngest active player in the majors, made his debut in the eighth as a pinch-hitter and struck out against Erik Goeddel.

The Dodgers added two runs in the ninth. Josh Fields recorded the final four outs for his second save of the season.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.