Maine, Mets shut down Nationals

May 13, 2008 7:19:06 PM PDT
Ryan Church homered, doubled and drove in four runs against his former team and John Maine pitched six sharp innings to lead the New York Mets over the Washington Nationals, 6-3, on Tuesday night.A night after Mets starter Nelson Figueroa called the Nationals "softball girls" for cheering in the dugout during his loss, Maine (5-2) hit Felipe Lopez with his first pitch of the game. The ball grazed Lopez's right leg but the leadoff hitter angrily threw his bat in front of the plate and briefly glared at Maine as he walked down first base.

There were no other moments of potential trouble, even when David Wright had to dive to the dirt to avoid being hit by a pitch, as the Mets amassed more than 10 hits for the second straight night but got timely hits this time to beat the Nationals and improve to 3-2 on their seven-game homestand against last-place teams.

Maine was mostly dominant for his second straight start, allowing just two runs - one earned - and two hits and retiring 11 of the last 12 batters he faced after giving up Ryan Zimmerman's two-run homer in the third.

In his last outing, Maine took a shutout into the ninth inning against the Dodgers.

He was removed for pinch-hitter Fernando Tatis, who was called up from Triple-A New Orleans earlier Tuesday. Tatis singled in his first big league at-bat since 2006 and scored on Church's sharp liner that fooled Austin Kearns in right field. Kearns came in on the ball, then couldn't recover as it zipped over his outstretched glove for a two-run double and a 4-2 lead.

Matt Wise, activated from the disabled list Tuesday, gave up a run in the seventh, Duaner Sanchez walked two in a scoreless eighth and Billy Wagner gave up a hit in the ninth to finish the four-hitter and earn his eighth save.

John Lannan (3-4), 3-1 with a 2.17 ERA in five previous starts, gave up 12 hits and four runs in six innings.

It could have been worse if not for two stellar defensive plays with runners on first and second to keep it tied.

In the fourth, the speedy Reyes hit into a difficult 5-4-3 double play. And Lastings Milledge made a running basket catch of Delgado's drive, crashing into the wall as he corralled the ball to end the fifth. Milledge, however, made an error in the eighth that led to Reyes' RBI single and Church's sacrifice fly for a 6-3 lead.

Church, who came to New York in an offseason trade with Washington, nearly hit the big red apple just beyond the center-field fence leading off the bottom of the third to tie it at 2.

The Mets took the early lead in the second on Brian Schneider's groundout after Moises Alou hit an infield single and Carlos Delgado bunted for a base hit.