Harper, Desmond, Span Homer, Nationals Beat Mets
WASHINGTON (AP) Bryce Harper, Ian Desmond and Denard Span all homered, powering the Washington Nationals to a 4-1 win over the New York Mets on Saturday.
Dan Haren (5-11) pitched seven innings for his first win since May 9, allowing one run and three hits.
Desmond and Span hit back-to-back homers against Dillon Gee (7-8) in the second inning and Harper followed with a two-run drive in the third.
Harper returned to the starting lineup after being limited to pinch-hitting duty in the second game of Friday’s doubleheader. The All-Star outfielder aggravated his left knee while diving for a ball in the opener.
After Haren’s leadoff double in the third, Harper hit his 15th home run of the year.
Despite a tumultuous week, which included the Nationals firing their hitting coach and demoting former closer Drew Storen to the minors, Washington has won three of four games after dropping six straight following the All-Star break.
David Wright had two singles and an RBI for the Mets, who have lost two straight, scoring a combined two runs after winning Friday’s doubleheader opener 11-0.
The game was delayed by rain for 62 minutes with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Only scattered fans from the original crowd of 37,464 returned to watch the final five outs.
Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth for his 26th save.
In his longest start since May 30, Haren walked one and struck out six. Haren’s winless drought wasn’t a case of bad luck but primarily poor pitching.
In between victories, the veteran right-hander made 11 starts, going 0-8 with a 6.18 ERA. Even worse, Washington lost all 11 games, including three since Haren returned from the disabled list on July 8.
With Eric Young Jr. on second following a single and stolen base in the sixth, Wright’s two-out single ended Haren’s shutout hopes.
Haren and the Nationals bullpen held New York to one hit over the final three innings. Reliever Tyler Clippard pitched a spotless eighth.
Gee had not lost since June 17 and did allow an earned run in his preceding two starts. He dominated the Nationals in three previous starts this season, posting a 3-0 record with an 0.96 ERA.
Gee pitched seven innings, allowing four runs on six hits.
Span hit his first home run with the Nationals and first for the former Minnesota outfielder since Oct. 2, 2012, a span of 426 plate appearances.
NOTES: Minus the delay, the game took 2 hours, 17 minutes. … Washington has seven sets of back-to-back home runs this season. … The Mets are moving to a six-man pitching rotation in an attempt to limit the number of innings pitched by starters Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. Following Gee and Carlos Torres in Washington, Jeremy Hefner pitches Monday at Miami followed by Wheeler, Jenrry Mejia and Harvey. … Torres (1-1, 0.94) opposes Washington’s RHP Taylor Jordan (0-3, 3.68) in Sunday’s series finale.