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Peacock Mesmerizes Mets

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By BEN WALKER   AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Brad Peacock pitched five impressive innings,
blanking the Mets on a mere two singles and earning his first major
league win Wednesday night as the Washington Nationals held off New
York 2-0.

Center fielder Rick Ankiel made a diving catch in left-center on
Jose Reyes’ liner with runners at the corners for the final out.
The Nationals won their fourth in a row and improved to 70-77,
topping last year’s victory total. They also pulled into a virtual
tie with the Mets for third place in the NL East _ the franchise
has not finished third or higher since 2002, when it played in
Montreal.

Michael Morse and Jayson Werth hit RBI singles with two outs in
the third after yet another error by third baseman David Wright,
sending the Mets to their fifth straight loss. Earlier in the day,
Atlanta’s win officially eliminated New York from playoff
contention.

Peacock (1-0) was in command from the start during his second
game in the majors, having made a brief relief appearance last
week. The 23-year-old righty also showed that Washington has more
young, talented pitching in its system besides former overall No. 1
pick Stephen Strasburg.

A 41st-round draft choice in 2006, Peacock set down the first
eight New York batters before walking pitcher Mike Pelfrey on a
full count in the third.

Peacock faced his lone jam in the fourth when a walk to Jason
Bay loaded the bases with two outs. Pitching coach Steve McCatty
strolled to the mound and did most of the talking, with Peacock
nodding yes several times during the visit.

Peacock then demonstrated plenty of poise, mixing fastballs and
curves before tossing a changeup that got fellow rookie Josh Satin
to pop up. The Mets have been lacking key hits all season _ they
lead the majors in stranding runners.

After 94 pitches, three walks and two strikeouts, Peacock was
pulled. He went a combined 15-3 in Double-A and Triple-A this year
and manager Davey Johnson said Peacock would be on a short leash,
but not a pitch count.

Tom Gorzelanny, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen finished with
shutout relief. Storen got his 37th save in 42 chances, working
around a pair of leadoff walks when Justin Turner popped up a bunt
back to the mound. The Mets failed on three bunt tries Tuesday
night in a 3-2 loss.

Pelfrey (7-12) took the hard-luck loss, leaving him with only
one win in his last 10 starts. Both runs against him were unearned
after Wright’s fifth error in seven games.

Reyes went 1 for 5 and never needed to test his bothersome left
hamstring. The speedy star noticeably did not steal in a key spot
Tuesday night, and Mets manager Terry Collins acknowledged before
this game: “At times, it may not be the same guy we know.”

NOTES: Nationals 1B Chris Marrero had two hits, giving him 19 in
his first 17 big league games. … Washington has not allowed a
home run in nine games. … Bay returned to the lineup after
missing a game because of a sore right shoulder. … Mets 2B Ruben
Tejada ranged far toward the line in short right to turn a popup
into a double play. … Mets RHP Chris Schwinden will start the
series finale Thursday. He lost in his major league debut against
Atlanta last week. Nationals LHP Tommy Milone makes his third big
league start. … Mets 1B coach Mookie Wilson and former Boston 1B
Bill Buckner have commissioned a painting of their famous play in
the 1986 World Series, and the artwork will be displayed in the
Mets Hall of Fame at Citi Field. Asked if he ever grows weary of
discussing the play, Wilson said, “If it’s Bill and I, no. All
these years later, we find different aspects to talk about, like
what set it up. If it’s someone coming up and saying, ‘What were
you thinking at the time?’ then yes, I do get tired of it.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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