Zimmerman, Redding lead Nats past Mets

May 14, 2008 7:46:58 PM PDT
Ryan Zimmerman hit a long homer and Tim Redding pitched two-hit ball for six innings, sending the Washington Nationals to a 5-3 victory over the New York Mets on Wednesday night.Jesus Flores hit a tiebreaking single with two outs in the seventh off Aaron Heilman, who was booed on and off the mound by the Shea Stadium crowd. Washington added three more runs in the inning, sticking Claudio Vargas with a tough-luck loss in his Mets debut.

Brian Schneider homered and drove in two runs against his former club, but New York (20-18) dropped to a disappointing 3-3 on its seven-game homestand against last-place teams.

Redding (5-3) allowed one run and struck out four, improving to 3-0 in three road starts this season. Carlos Beltran's RBI single off Jon Rauch cut it to 5-3 in the eighth, but Rauch retired Endy Chavez on an inning-ending flyout with runners at the corners.

Chavez was in the game as a replacement for left fielder Moises Alou, ejected by plate umpire Dana DeMuth for slamming his bat to the ground following a fifth-inning strikeout.

Rauch worked a perfect ninth, earning his eighth save.

The Nationals won without cleanup hitter Nick Johnson, who traveled back to Washington for additional tests on his sore right wrist. The oft-injured Johnson strained a tendon on a swing late in Tuesday night's game and could be sidelined for a while.

Cut by Milwaukee in spring training, Vargas signed a minor league deal with the Mets and was called up Tuesday from Triple-A New Orleans. He'll get a chance to solidify a spot at the shaky back end of New York's rotation, and he looked good against Washington.

Schneider gave the right-hander a 1-0 lead in the fifth with his second homer of the year.

Zimmerman tied it in the sixth with his second home run in two nights. He drove a 2-0 delivery off the facing of the second deck of left-field stands for No. 7 this season.

Vargas (0-1) walked Elijah Dukes with one out in the seventh and was lifted for Heilman after throwing 97 pitches. Dukes moved up on a slow groundout and scored on a sharp single by Flores, the young catcher left unprotected by the Mets in the 2006 winter meeting draft (Rule 5).

Felipe Lopez added an RBI single, and Cristian Guzman's two-run single off Heilman made it 5-1.