AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) _ Bryce Harper had his first four-hit game and
pinch-hitter Tyler Moore launched a go-ahead homer off R.A. Dickey
in the seventh inning to send the Washington Nationals past the
punchless New York Mets 5-3 on Tuesday night.

Harper doubled and singled twice off Dickey after the teen star
entered 0 for 10 with six strikeouts against the knuckleballer.
Leadoff batter Jayson Werth reached base all five times for the NL
East leaders, who have won seven straight and 11 of 12 at Citi

Looking for a win over baseball’s top team to boost his Cy Young
Award resume, Dickey (18-5) mostly pitched out of trouble for seven
solid innings. But he gave up a two-run shot to Moore that made it
3-2 in the seventh and was unable to tie Nationals lefty Gio
Gonzalez for the major league lead in wins.

Gonzalez beat the Mets 5-1 in the series opener Monday.

Not surprisingly, Dickey got little help from his teammates at
the plate. The fading Mets, losers of five in a row and seven of
eight, set a club record by failing to score more than three runs
for the 12th consecutive home game. The last time they managed four
runs at Citi Field was Aug. 12 in a 6-5 win over Atlanta.

New York has dropped 21 of its last 25 in Queens and is 0-5 on a
six-game homestand against Atlanta and Washington. The Nationals
improved to 13-4 against the Mets this season.

Tom Gorzelanny (4-2) worked a hitless sixth in relief of a shaky
Jordan Zimmermann, who labored through 104 pitches over five
innings. Christian Garcia struck out three of his four batters and
Tyler Clippard allowed a solo homer to pinch-hitter Scott Hairston
in the ninth before securing his 31st save in 34 attempts.

Harper and Kurt Suzuki each had an RBI single in the ninth for
Washington (88-54).

After going an absurd 110 straight innings at home without
scoring more than one run, the Mets finally put up a crooked number
in the fifth.

Ruben Tejada singled for the third time and scored easily from
first when Daniel Murphy’s slicing double took an odd carom off the
retaining wall in medium left field. Murphy clapped his hands at
second base, Dickey cheered from the dugout and then David Wright
grounded an RBI single under the glove of a diving Ian Desmond at

Suddenly given a 2-1 lead, Dickey soon gave it back. Suzuki
singled with one out in the seventh and Moore drove the next pitch
to left for his ninth home run in 138 at-bats this season.

Harper shortened his big swing against Dickey, hitting the ball
on the ground all four times. After fouling off a bunt attempt, the
19-year-old rookie chopped a double inside third base to set up
Ryan Zimmerman’s sacrifice fly in the first.

Zimmerman became the first Nationals player with an RBI in eight
consecutive games. He also singled in the eighth, extending his
hitting streak to 15 games.

In a tradition that began after the terror attacks of Sept. 11,
2001, the Mets wore caps commemorating the NYPD, FDNY and other
first responders during batting practice and the national anthem.

The Nationals wore their special blue game jerseys with stars
and stripes, and both teams lined up along the baselines for a
moment of silence before the first pitch. Hours earlier, the Mets
held a meet and greet with players and Tuesday’s Children, a
non-profit family service dedicated to helping individuals affected
by 9/11 and terrorism worldwide.

NOTES: Nationals manager Davey Johnson smiled in the dugout
after Harper’s third hit. Before the game, he explained his
decision to start the youngster. “He’s going to have to learn how
to hit a knuckleball. It’s too early to be dodging anybody,”
Johnson said. “Bryce has had a day off and he doesn’t need one.
He’s stronger and younger than anybody out there. And that
knuckleball might find his bat. It may take a wrong little knuckle
and go right into his bat, and I know he’s going to be swinging
hard enough, it could cause some damage. So I’m willing to take
that chance and have him in the lineup.” … Johnson said LHP Sean
Burnett (elbow) should be available Wednesday. … Johnson said he
met New York quarterbacks Eli Manning and Mark Sanchez at a charity
function near the World Trade Center site Tuesday morning. “It’s
just a great cause,” Johnson said. “It was nice to be there.”
… It was Moore’s second pinch-hit home run. … Nationals LHP
John Lannan, from nearby Long Beach, will make his first start at
Citi Field since April 2010 when he faces Mets rookie Matt Harvey
in the series finale Wednesday night. … New York RHP Jenrry Mejia
is probably lined up for three starts the rest of the way, manager
Terry Collins said. The Mets also plan to give RHP Jeurys Familia
his first big league start during the final week of the season.

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


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