WASHINGTON (AP) — Ivan Rodriguez capped a three-run comeback in the ninth inning with an RBI single and the Washington Nationals, who couldn't score for Stephen Strasburg, rallied against Francisco Rodriguez to beat the New York Mets 6-5 Saturday.
Trying to protect a 5-3 lead, Francisco Rodriguez (2-2) opened the ninth by walking Cristian Guzman. Willie Harris' one-out single and a walk to Ryan Zimmerman loaded the bases.
Adam Dunn nearly hit a game-winning grand slam, but his drive to center just beyond the reach of Angel Pagan hit the top of the center-field wall and caromed back onto the field.
Guzman retreated to third base to tag up and nearly collided with Harris, who was running full speed and had to do a neat shuffle-step to barely avoid running into — or passing — his teammate.
Both runners scored, one after the other as the relay throw came home, on Dunn's double, tying the game.
Umpires went inside to look at the replay but upheld the call after a 2-minute video review. Josh Willingham was intentionally walked and Ivan Rodriguez lined a 1-0 pitch into right field, scoring Zimmerman.
After rounding first, Rodriguez was mobbed by teammates in the infield. The Nationals won for the first time in 40 games when trailing after eight innings, spoiling an excellent start by Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.
Strasburg battled early wildness, issuing three first-inning walks. He allowed two runs and four hits in five innings, striking out five.
Washington has scored one run in the last 24 1-3 innings Strasburg has pitched, and none in his last 18 innings.
Matt Capps (2-3) escaped a jam in the ninth for the win.
The nationally televised game drew a sellout crowd of 39,214 to Nationals Park, though many exited after Strasburg was pulled. It was Washington's fourth sellout of the season, all but one coming when Strasburg has pitched.
Strasburg needed 37 pitches to get through the first inning, when the Mets took a 1-0 lead and had Washington reliever Miguel Batista warming in the bullpen.
After walking seven hitters in his first five starts, Strasburg walked two of the first four hitters he faced before Jason Bay's two-out RBI double to right-center. Josh Thole then walked in a 10-pitch at-bat, loading the bases before Jeff Francoeur flied out to right.
In the third, David Wright and Ike Davis singled before Thole bounced a two-out single up the middle on Strasburg's 68th pitch to make it 2-0.
Strasburg departed after throwing 96 pitches and Washington, limited to three hits in five innings, tied the game on two unearned runs in the sixth.
Dickey walked Willie Harris before rookie shortstop Ruben Tejada, filling in for injured Jose Reyes, booted Zimmerman's grounder for an error. After Dunn struck out swinging, Willingham and Ivan Rodriguez hit consecutive RBI singles.
Wright's RBI single snapped a 2-all tie in the eighth, and the Mets got an RBI double by Thole and a sacrifice fly by Tejada later in the inning.
New York reliever Bobby Parnell gave up an RBI single to Adam Kennedy in the eighth.
NOTES: Dickey allowed two unearned runs in seven innings, walked two and struck out four. ... After falling behind five of his first seven hitters, Strasburg got first-pitch strikes on 13 of his final 15. ... Reyes (lower back tightness) missed a fourth straight game and was not permitted to participate in pregame hitting or fielding drills. Reyes said he didn't expect to play Sunday. ... The Nationals scratched RF Roger Bernadina (lower back tightness) from the starting lineup and replaced him with Harris. ... Washington's only non-Strasburg sellout was an opening-day loss to Philadelphia on April 5. ... Nationals manager Jim Riggleman used RHP J.D. Martin as a pinch-hitter in the fifth. Martin grounded out in his first career pinch-hitting appearance.