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Another Rough Night For Santana

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(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Michael Morse hit a grand slam, Bryce Harper
also homered and the Washington Nationals became the latest team to
tag a struggling Johan Santana in their 6-4 victory over the New
York Mets on Friday night.

Ross Detwiler tossed six solid innings and the Nationals sent
Santana to his fifth loss in the last five starts.

Handed a 2-0 lead, the two-time Cy Young Award winner was
perfect through three innings. But the NL East leaders strung
together four consecutive hits in the fourth, capped by Morse’s
12th homer.

Harper, coming off a 3-for-32 road trip, turned on a fastball in
the fifth for a two-run shot.

The Nationals, who have the best record in baseball, returned
home following an 8-2 trip and have won 10 of 12 overall.

Washington began the day four games ahead of second-place Atlanta.
Losers of five of seven, the Mets fell to 10-23 since the
All-Star break and have dropped 10 of 13 to the Nationals this
season.

Detwiler (7-5) allowed three runs and six hits with one
strikeout and a walk.

Craig Stammen gave up a homer to Mets newcomer Kelly Shoppach
leading off the seventh and Drew Storen worked the eighth. Tyler
Clippard walked two in the ninth before earning his 26th save.

Since throwing a career-high 134 pitches to finish off the first
no-hitter in Mets history on June 1, Santana (6-9) has allowed
plenty of hits and runs. The 33-year-old left-hander, who missed
last season following major shoulder surgery, permitted six runs
and seven hits over five innings Friday. He is 0-5 with a 15.63 ERA
in his past five starts, allowing at least six runs in each
appearance. Since the no-hitter, he has lost seven of 10 decisions.

Santana gave up consecutive singles to Jayson Werth, Harper and
Ryan Zimmerman in the fourth, loading the bases for Morse. The
cleanup man launched a 1-1 fastball the opposite way to
right-center for a 4-2 Nationals lead, extending his hitting streak
to 13 games.

Werth kept the fifth inning alive with a two-out single and the
19-year-old Harper sent a shot to right-center for his 11th home
run.

After getting two quick outs in the first, Detwiler gave up
three consecutive hits, including one of three doubles by Scott
Hairston and a two-run single by Daniel Murphy.

Detwiler then walked Ronny Cedeno, but avoided further damage
and allowed only one run and three hits over his final five
innings. In three starts this season against the Mets, the lefty is
2-0 with 1.50 ERA.

Cedeno’s RBI groundout in the sixth scored Hairston.

Zimmerman shined defensively early with three sparkling plays on
hard-hit grounders. The third baseman later started a key 5-4-3
double play in the eighth with the potential tying run at the
plate.

Before the game, the Nationals activated All-Star shortstop Ian
Desmond from the 15-day disabled list. With his return from a
25-game absence due to an oblique strain and other core members
missing time this season with injuries, the Nationals had Desmond,
Werth, Harper, Zimmerman, Morse and Adam LaRoche in the lineup
together for the first time.

NOTES: Desmond finished 0 for 4. To make room for him, the
Nationals designated veteran infielder Cesar Izturis for
assignment. … Hairston’s three doubles matched a team record. …
Including the series opener, Washington plays 27 of its final 44
games at home, more than any team in the majors during the
remainder of the season. … Saturday’s pitching matchup pits
left-hander Jonathon Niese against Washington RHP Edwin Jackson.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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