The Washington Nationals have been one of the best teams in baseball and owe a lot of credit to the New York Mets for making that happen.
Washington seeks its second three-game sweep of the Mets this season Wednesday at Citi Field and is 13-4 in the series. The Nationals, who took all three games in New York from July 23-25, are unbeaten in the past seven matchups in Flushing and recorded a 5-3 triumph last night.
Tyler Moore hit a pinch-hit two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning and rookie Bryce Harper finished 4-for-5 with an RBI, as National League East- leading Washington improved to 11-3 in its last 14 games overall. Kurt Suzuki had two hits, a pair of runs scored and an RBI for the Nationals, who are 2-0 on a six-game trip and have a 7 1/2-game lead over Atlanta in the division.
"We want to win as many games as we can here and you can't go to sleep now," Harper said afterward. "A bunch of teams are playing well and you can never count anyone out until it's over."
Nats starter Jordan Zimmermann tossed five innings and gave up just two runs on six hits in the no-decision. Tom Gorzelanny picked up the win for throwing a scoreless sixth inning and Tyler Clippard registered his 31st save even though he allowed a run in the ninth.
The Nationals are the majors' only team to have a winning record every month this year and own an 8-3 mark this month. They are 38-6 when scoring three or more runs since the All-Star break and will visit the Braves for three games this weekend.
Slugging outfielder Michael Morse is expected to miss a few games with a sore left wrist, and went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts last night. Morse, who is scheduled to undergo an X-ray and MRI, said he has been experiencing issues with the wrist for quite some time and feels he is not helping the team.
"I'm not helping the team when I'm not 100 percent. I'm not helping myself either," Morse told the Nats' website. "I'm going to get it looked at the next couple of days and get down to the bottom of it -- try to get back to 100 percent.
"I'm not worried. It's just good to know ... precautionary. I just want to get something going from here, because I'm sick of hurting the team."
John Lannan hasn't hurt the team in his two starts since coming up from the minor leagues, and is slated to take the mound this evening. Lannan has some big shoes to fill and will make his first start as Stephen Strasburg's replacement in the rotation. Strasburg is done for the season to rest.
Lannan made his 2012 debut in a 5-2 win over Atlanta on July 21, tossing seven innings and giving up two runs, then nailed down a win versus Miami on Aug. 3. He held the Marlins to three runs in six innings of a 7-4 win, and has a 3.46 earned run average through 13 innings so far.
In 11 career meetings with the Mets, the left-hander is 4-4 with a 3.75 ERA (69 2/3 innings). Lannan spent most of his time this summer with Triple-A Syracuse and has started two Opening Day games for Washington.
New York, meanwhile, hopes to salvage the finale of this series and put a clamp on its recent home woes.
R.A. Dickey was aiming for his 19th win of the season on Tuesday, but was reached for three runs and eight hits in seven innings to absorb the loss.
"I didn't feel like I had erratic control tonight," Dickey said. "My knuckleball wasn't everything I wanted it to be, but I did go seven innings. I got some double plays in there, but I also made some mistakes."
Scott Hairston hit a solo home run, while Daniel Murphy and David Wright each drove one in for the Mets, who have lost five in a row and seven of eight games. The Mets are 0-5 on a six-game homestand and 19-37 since the break.
The Mets also have lost 21 of the past 25 games at Citi Field, where they have tallied three runs or less in 12 consecutive tries.
New York, which will visit Milwaukee for three games this weekend, will send rookie Matt Harvey to the mound in hopes of avoiding a sweep. Harvey was 2-0 in three starts until a 5-1 loss at St. Louis his previous time out last Tuesday. He gave up three runs in five innings of that one and is 3-4 with a 3.04 earned run average in eight outings.
The right-hander has never faced Washington and is 0-1 in two home starts.