for this game

Kearns helps Nationals get rare win vs. Mets

Apr 28, 2007 - 6:28 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Austin Kearns is swinging a hot bat, and he helped make sure the New York Mets did not feel at home in Washington.

Kearns hit a three-run homer in the first inning as the Nationals posted a rare 4-3 home victory over the New York Mets in the opener of a three-game series.

New York outscored Washington, 56-18, in winning eight of nine games at RFK Stadium last season.

The blast by Kearns was his second of the campaign but just the 12th for the Nationals, who are second-to-last in the majors in that category. Kearns has been hammering the ball hitting .382 (13-for-34) in his last nine contests.

"It was good, especially playing the Mets," Kearns said. "It's nice to get out in front and kind of relax a little bit. You don't want to relax too much, but we've struggled scoring runs, especially scoring early."

Ryan Church added an RBI single in the sixth to create a 4-2 lead for the Nationals, who won for only second time in the last 15 meetings with the Mets dating back to the team's days in Montreal. The teams split a weather-abbreviated two-game series at Shea Stadium earlier this month.

Washington rookie Matt Chico (2-2) bounced back from an outing in which he allowed five runs and walked seven in just 4 2/3 innings en route to a 9-3 loss to Florida on Saturday.

The lefthander allowed two runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings Friday.

"It makes it a little easier to work with a lead," Chico said. "My whole thinking after the last start was just to let them hit it. It didn't matter if I gave up hits, I just didn't want to walk anybody. That was my goal. ... I knew our bullpen could take care of the rest of the game for me."

With the Mets coming off their worst loss of the season, an 11-5 setback to Colorado on Wednesday, Oliver Perez (2-2) came up with his second consecutive solid outing after walking seven in a loss to Philadelphia two starts ago.

The lefthander rebounded from that performance to beat Atlanta on Saturday, allowing just two runs and striking out nine in 6 2/3 innings.

Perez allowed four runs and eight hits in seven innings in this one, again striking out nine without issuing a walk. He did, however, make a mistake to Kearns with runners on the corners and two out in the first.

After Ronnie Belliard delivered a one-out single and Dmitri Young stroked a two-out base hit, Kearns launched a 1-1 pitch over the center field wall, giving Washington an early lead.

Perez then settled down and retired 15 of the next 18 batters he faced after the blast by Kearns.

"He settled down nicely," Mets manager Willie Randolph said of Perez. "He gave the one home run to Kearns, a ball I'm sure he wanted back, but he did a great job. He struck out nine tonight and probably the biggest thing was no walks. He showed me something, not bending and coming back strong."

Meanwhile, his opposition Chico, loaded the bases with one out in the sixth before being pulled, despite the fact Perez was due at the plate.

The strange decision followed an equally odd one by Mets manager Willie Randolph, who elected not to hit for his pitcher. That plan backfired as Saul Rivera struck out Perez and got Jose Reyes to ground out to end the inning.

"You always bounce it around in your mind, but it's still early in the game," Randolph said of the decision.

"I thought we could of came back and scored some runs. He was pitching a great game. You can't challenge your people to give you quality starts if you worry about scoring runs in the sixth inning. Ollie deserved to go back out. We had plenty of chances to score runs."

It was the second time the Mets loaded the bases but were unable to come through with a clutch hit. They scored their second run on a groundout by Jose Valentin with the bases full in the fourth.

"We had our chance tonight," Randolph said. "Oliver threw a great game. I think we left nine men on base tonight. We've got to do a better job of taking care of business."

Reyes manufactured a run all by himself in the third. After hitting a double to right, he stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Paul Lo Duca.

The Mets came into the game with the best average in baseball at .295 (221-for-748), but couldn't come through with the any timely hits.

Moises Alou, who is hitting .397 (23-for-74) after signing a one-year, $8.5 million free-agent contract in the offseason, had three hits - including an RBI double, which scored David Wright with none out in the eighth that cut New York's deficit to 4-3. Wright had led off the inning with a double to center.

However, the 40-year-old was stranded as Jon Rauch, who began the inning for the Nationals, retired the next three batters on fly balls. The Mets, who lost for just the third time in their last 10 games, stranded nine overall, and went just 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

"Sometimes we're going to have games like that, you know?" Reyes said. "We just have to put that one in the past and work on tomorrow. That's how baseball is, just put it in the past." Chad Cordero, who has never blown a save opportunity against the Mets, retired the side for his third save of the year.

"We have a solid offensive club," Randolph said. "But it doesn't matter what kind of a club you have if you don't execute in the right spots. ... We just didn't take advantage of some opportunities we had. When you let teams hang around, what ends up happening is that you lose by one or two.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    NY METS 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 3 11 0
    WASHINGTON 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 x 4 8 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: NYM - OLIVER PEREZ, JOE SMITH (8TH) AND PAUL LO DUCA
    WAS - MATT CHICO, SAUL RIVERA (6TH), JON RAUCH (8TH),
    CHAD CORDERO (9TH) AND BRIAN SCHNEIDER

    HOME RUNS: NYM -

    Apr 27 9:53 PM
  • 35
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots

    Mets vs. NationalsApr 27 9:45 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY MOISES ALOU SCORED DAVID WRIGHT.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M ALOU ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 3
    WASHINGTON 4 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR NY METS: S GREEN (.363, 2-FOR-3)

    Mets vs. NationalsApr 27 9:26 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RYAN CHURCH SCORED DMITRI YOUNG.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, 0 LEFT ON, 3 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 2
    WASHINGTON 4 END BOTTOM, 6TH

    Mets vs. NationalsApr 27 9:03 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY JOSE VALENTIN SCORED CARLOS DELGADO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J VALENTIN ON FIRST, M ALOU ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 2
    WASHINGTON 3 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR NY METS: O PEREZ (.250, 0-FOR-1)

    Mets vs. NationalsApr 27 8:16 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY PAUL LO DUCA SCORED JOSE REYES.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 1
    WASHINGTON 3 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR NY METS: C BELTRAN (.333, 0-FOR-1)

    Mets vs. NationalsApr 27 7:50 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY AUSTIN KEARNS (2) TO CENTER WITH 2
    OUT IN THE 1ST OFF OLIVER PEREZ SCORED RONNIE BELLIARD AND DMITRI
    YOUNG.
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 0, WASHINGTON 3
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: R CHURCH (.291, 3 HR, 11 RBI)

    Mets vs. NationalsApr 27 7:23 PM