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Nationals-Mets Preview

May 18, 2016 - 4:31 AM The first showdown of the season between the Washington Nationals and New York Mets was dominated by the starting pitchers. A similar result could be in store Wednesday night with a pair of hurlers who have excelled at Citi Field set to take the mound.

The Mets try to clinch this three-game series between NL East contenders and move atop the division when they send Bartolo Colon to the mound to oppose Gio Gonzalez.

Noah Syndergaard struck out 10 in seven innings, Curtis Granderson homered on Max Scherzer's first pitch and New York beat Washington 2-0 on Tuesday to stop a four-game skid.

"It always helps when you have a horse you can ride on that mound," manager Terry Collins told MLB's official website. "We played good, but we pitched great."

Scherzer, coming off a major league record-tying 20-strikeout performance in his previous start, fanned 10 in 6 1/3 innings but the Nationals managed only five hits. Washington has scored two runs in a three-game losing streak that's left it a half-game ahead of New York and Philadelphia.

The highly anticipated meeting between the top two teams in the NL East also featured the Citi Field return of Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy, who left the Mets as a free agent after last season. The major leagues' leading hitter went 1 for 3 to see his average drop to .399.

''It took a little getting used to, coming out of the third base dugout,'' Murphy said. ''I have been coming out of the other side a couple more times.''

Ending its offensive struggles could prove tough for Washington against Colon (3-2, 3.53 ERA), who's 1-1 with a 1.89 ERA in three home starts this season. He went eight scoreless innings to beat Atlanta 4-1 on May 2 in his most recent outing at Citi Field.

The right-hander, however, is coming off his worst start of 2016, allowing five runs in five innings of a 5-0 road loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday. The poor performance was surprising after the right-hander gave up three runs over 14 2/3 innings to win his previous two starts.

"Balls were up, balls were over the plate," Collins said. "Didn't really have that good life that he's normally had. I told (pitching coach Dan Warthen), he's had two tremendous outings in a row. ... tonight he just wasn't looking real sharp."

As good as Colon has been in his three starts in Queens this season, Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 1.93 ERA) has been even better throughout his career there. The left-hander has gone 6-1 with a 1.54 ERA in 11 starts at Citi, giving him a 9-4 record and 2.66 ERA with 104 strikeouts in 101 1/3 innings over 17 career starts against the Mets.

Gonzalez rebounded from his worst start of the season May 7, when he allowed five runs in 5 2-3 innings of an 8-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs, by throwing five innings and allowing no earned runs in a 5-3 victory over Miami on Friday.

Ben Revere is batting .381 (8 for 21) against Colon, while Jayson Werth is 4 for 9 with a pair of doubles in the matchup.

The Mets' Juan Lagares is 10 for 26 with three doubles, a triple and a homer against Gonzalez.

New York first baseman Lucas Duda didn't start Tuesday because of a stiff back, and Collins said he would probably sit Wednesday. The Mets also lost third baseman David Wright when his back acted up during batting practice and he's day to day.

The Mets have won eight of 10 in this series.

    NEW YORK: 1

    Sep 26 12:09 PM

    NEW YORK: 1
    Bot 9, 2 Outs

    May 18 10:56 PM

  • Wilson Ramos singles to right field. Anthony Rendon scores. Ryan Zimmerman scores.

    Nationals 7, Mets 1  Top 9, 2 OutsMay 18 10:42 PM

  • W.Ramos singled to right, Zimmerman scored, Rend√≥n scored.

    Nationals 5, Mets 1  Top 9, 2 OutsMay 18 10:42 PM

  • Danny Espinosa walks. Anthony Rendon to second. Ryan Zimmerman to third. Jayson Werth scores.

    Nationals 5, Mets 1  Top 7, 2 OutsMay 18 9:43 PM
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    Nationals 4, Mets 1  Top 7, 2 OutsMay 18 9:31 PM

  • Daniel Murphy out on a sacrifice fly to deep center field to Juan Lagares. Ben Revere scores.

    Nationals 4, Mets 1  Top 7, 1 OutMay 18 9:31 PM

  • D.Murphy hit a sacrifice fly to center fielder Lagares, Revere scored.

    Nationals 3, Mets 1  Top 7, 1 OutMay 18 9:31 PM
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    Nationals 3, Mets 1  End 6May 18 9:16 PM
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    Nationals 3, Mets 1  Top 5, 2 OutsMay 18 8:44 PM

  • Anthony Rendon singles to left field. Bryce Harper scores. Jayson Werth scores.

    Nationals 3, Mets 1  Top 5, 2 OutsMay 18 8:44 PM
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    Nationals 1, Mets 1  Top 5, 2 OutsMay 18 8:41 PM
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    Nationals 1, Mets 1  Top 5, 0 OutsMay 18 8:30 PM

  • Yoenis Cespedes homers to left field.

    Nationals 1, Mets 1  Bot 4, 2 OutsMay 18 8:27 PM

  • D.Murphy singled to left, Werth scored, Harper to third.

    Nationals 0, Mets 0  Top 3, 2 OutsMay 18 8:01 PM

  • Daniel Murphy singles to third base. Bryce Harper to third. Jayson Werth scores.

    Nationals 1, Mets 0  Top 3, 2 OutsMay 18 8:01 PM

  • Ben Revere called out on strikes.

    May 18 7:12 PM
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    Nationals vs. MetsMay 18 7:00 PM
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    Nationals vs. MetsMar 13 9:31 AM
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    Nationals vs. MetsDec 12 8:31 AM