Flushing, NY – Adam LaRoche hit a two-run home run and R.A. Dickey lost a game for the first time in over three months as the Washington Nationals took a 5-2 win over the New York Mets at Citi Field.
Dickey (13-2) came into the game having not lost since April 18 at Atlanta, but he gave up five runs -- four earned -- on eight hits over six innings to drop just his second game of the season. He went 11-0 in his 17 games prior to Tuesday.
"There were a lot of things I did right tonight that I've got to be able to take, discard what went wrong and build on what went right," Dickey said. "I'm going to try to do that."
Ryan Zimmerman went 3-for-5 with a run scored while Danny Espinosa and Jesus Flores each drove in a run for the Nationals, who have won four straight.
Gio Gonzalez (13-5) snapped a two-start losing streak thanks to a one-run, two-hit outing that also saw him walk two and strike out four over seven innings.
"We're sensing a good vibe," Gonzalez said. "Everyone here is trying to stay positive, swing the bat, defense, catching, bullpen. Everyone is just trying to do their part. Nobody wants to be left behind, especially when the team is taking off like this."
Ronny Cedeno drove in a run while Jordany Valdespin hit his fifth pinch-hit home run of the season for the struggling Mets, who have dropped five straight and 11 of their last 12.
The Mets lone win during this skid came on July 19 when Dickey downed Gonzalez in a 9-5 victory in Washington.
The Mets took the first lead of the game in the second inning. Scott Hairston reached base on an error by Espinosa and stole second when Jason Bay struck out for the second out of the inning. Cedeno then punched a single to right and was tagged out at second trying to stretch it into a double, but not before Hairston crossed the plate for a 1-0 lead.
Washington tied the game in the fourth. Ryan Zimmerman doubled to lead off the frame and, after Michael Morse popped out, moved to third on a LaRoche groundout. Espinosa then singled to left to make it a 1-1 game.
The Nationals took the lead for good in the sixth. With two outs, Morse singled and LaRoche followed with his 17th home run of the year. Espinosa then singled and Roger Bernadina followed with a slow roller down the first base line that saw him avoid the tag of Ike Davis. Flores then singled to left and Jason Bay's throw to home got by Mike Nickeas, allowing both runners to score for a 5-1 lead.
After the second, the Mets didn't get another hit until Davis singled with two outs in the seventh, but Valdespin continued his pinch-hit magic in the eighth with a leadoff home run off Ryan Mattheus.
Sean Burnett then took over on the hill and set the next three batters down in order.
Tyler Clippard set the Mets down quietly in the ninth for his 17th save of the season.
Valdespin set a Mets record for pinch-hit homers in a single season. The MLB record is seven, set by Dave Hansen with the Dodgers in 2000 and Craig Wilson with the Pirates in 2001...The Nats have taken eight of 11 from the Mets this season...Washington will go for the sweep on Wednesday with Stephen Strasburg on the mound, while the Mets will counter with Jeremy Hefner.