for this game

Boone's defense keys Nationals' win over Mets

May 15, 2008 - 9:52 PM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

FLUSHING, New York (Ticker) - Aaron Boone broke up Mike Pelfrey's no-hit bid in the seventh inning and started two key double plays in the final two frames as the Washington Nationals pulled out a 1-0 victory over the New York Mets in the finale of a four-game series on Thursday afternoon.

Washington managed just four hits and Boone had two of them, including a line-drive single to open the seventh that ended Pelfrey's bid at the franchise's first no-hitter.

Boone's hit did not lead to Washington scoring its run. That happened in the eighth when Jesus Flores lined a double for the only extra-base hit of the contest. Flores took second on pinch hitter Willie Harris' sacrifice bunt and scored the decisive run on Felipe Lopez's sacrifice fly to left.

Boone then made it stand up in the eighth and again in the ninth.

He turned a double play after Luis Castillo sacrificed Jose Reyes over to second. Instead of staying at second, the speedy Reyes tried to take third but was met by shortstop's Cristian Guzman's tag following a perfect throw from Boone at first base.

"Guzzie (Guzman) made a great play to stay ahead of Reyes there," Boone said. "He was able to make his first reception of his career and I was able to complete the first pass of my career. We were able to get him. It was a big play for us and I'm glad it worked out."

That prevented Luis Ayala from blowing the game and the defense helped Jon Rauch convert his ninth save in 11 opportunities and seventh in a row.

Rauch gave up a lead-off single to Carlos Beltran but was helped by a great diving catch by Harris in left against former National Ryan Church. As Church's flyball hung up in the air, Harris sped towards the left field line and stretched himself out for the diving catch.

"It was one of those plays where Church is having a great season so far and we had a little shift on him towards right field," Harris said. "He hit it weakly down the left field line.

"I got a good read on it. I had no idea if I was going to catch it. I just ran after it as if I was going to catch it and have an opportunity to catch it. The ball stayed up in the air long enough and I was able to make a play."

After Harris' catch, Beltran stole second and advanced to third on Flores' throwing error. Just five pitches later, Delgado hit a sharp line drive to Boone, whose throw to third baseman Ryan Zimmerman easily caught Beltran, who ran on contact.

"With Carlos (Delgado) up, I played the line more and we're obviously in," Boone said. "So he hit hard enough to get it to me in the air and once I caught it, I saw Beltran was way off (third), so it was an easy double play at that point."

"On that particular play right there, I'm going on contact," Beltran said. "As soon as he hit that ball, I just broke (for home) and that's what happened when you go on contact, you have chances of being doubled up."

The key defensive plays and the seven innings of three-hit ball by Jason Bergmann (1-1) gave Washington its fourth win in the last five games over the Mets.

"It just gave us a huge lift," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "Our defense did a good job. Willie Harris won the game for us and I'm very proud of these guys."

The double plays continued the early-season inconsistency from the Mets (20-19), who concluded a disappointing 3-4 homestand and head into the "Subway Series" at Yankee Stadium just one game over .500.

"We don't play consistent," Reyes said. "We have to find a way. We have to be consistent on a daily basis."

The Mets also wasted the best start of Pelfrey's career. Pelfrey (2-4) pitched a career-high 7 2/3 innings and allowed just three hits.

"I'd rather go out there and give up five runs and get a (win)" Pelfrey said. "That's why we're all here. We have to win games"

He was not able to get the win because his teammates managed just three hits off Bergmann, who returned to the majors after a stint in the minors. He allowed a pair of singles to Castillo, a base hit to Marlon Anderson and also recorded nine strikeouts as he fanned the final four hitters he faced and six of the final 10.

"I was really pumped up, New York on a Thursday afternoon," Bergmann said. "I was excited to back. It took me a couple of innings to settle down and throw a little more effectively."