By BEN WALKER AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Bryce Harper hit two doubles and became the latest player to steal a base against Noah Syndergaard, helping A.J. Cole post his first major league win as the Washington Nationals beat the New York Mets 4-1 Friday night.
Washington won its fourth in a row and increased its NL East bulge over the wild card-contending Mets to 10 1/2 games.
Like a lot of teams, the Nationals came out running on Syndergaard, swiping four bases in the early innings. Tall and slow to the plate, he’s had 45 runners steal with him on the mound _ the most against any pitcher since Hideo Nomo in 2001, ESPN Stats & Info said.
Only six runners have been caught with Syndergaard pitching. Before the game, Mets manager Terry Collins said Syndergaard had improved at holding runners on base.
Trea Turner led off the game with a single, stole two bases and scored on Harper’s sacrifice fly. Harper doubled with one out in the fourth, stole third with two outs and came home on a single by Wilson Ramos.
Harper’s double set up Anthony Rendon’s two-run single in the ninth.
Cole (1-1) gave up one run and three hits in six innings. He struck out five in his fourth big league start.
Asdrubal Cabrera homered for the sixth time in eight games, sending a drive over the right-center wall in the Mets fourth. His 19th home run came one pitch after he hit a long fly that barely hooked foul into the upper deck in right field.
Mark Rzepczynski, Koda Glover, Oliver Perez and Mark Melancon combined for three innings of scoreless relief. Melancon closed for his 38th save.
Syndergaard (12-8) gave up just three hits in seven innings and retired his final 10 batters.
Along with shutting down the Nationals in the middle innings, Syndergaard might have shut down the crowd, too. Earlier this week, he wrote on Twitter and said on video that he wasn’t a fan of fans doing the wave.
Daniel Murphy singled in the ninth, and has a hit in all 14 games against the Mets this season. He also stole a base against the team he boosted to the World Series last year.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (sore elbow) threw a bullpen and was feeling good, manager Dusty Baker said. There was no timetable for his return to the rotation, but Baker figured “probably pretty soon.”
Mets: Collins said LHP Steven Matz (shoulder tightness) will head to the team’s spring training complex in Florida after this weekend and start throwing again Monday. Matz is on the disabled list and hasn’t pitched since Aug. 14.
Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (14-7, 2.87 ERA) is 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA at Citi Field in seven games, four of them starts.
Mets: RHP Robert Gsellman (1-1, 3.72) makes his second major league start. Among those in attendance will be Laurie Hernandez, who won a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team and will throw out the first ball.
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