LaRoche hit his 28th career homer against the Mets, a two-run
shot in the first inning that gave the Nationals a lead they
wouldn't relinquish in a 6-2 victory.
The Nationals -- who improved to 83-62 and reduced their magic
number for winning the National League East to nine -- have won 13
straight games at Citi Field dating back to June 30, 2012. It is the
longest winning streak in Queens by a Mets opponent in the Mets'
"We don't really notice it at all," said Nationals right-hander
Tanner Roark, who improved to 13-10 after allowing two runs on seven
hits and one walk while striking out one over 6 2/3 innings.
"Another game we've got to go out there and win. That's what the
LaRoche, meanwhile, can't help but notice his numbers against the
Mets. He has more homers and RBIs (83) against the Mets than any
other opponent. In 14 games versus the Mets this year, LaRoche is
hitting .361 with five homers and 14 RBIs.
"I don't know what it is," LaRoche said. "This year, I know I've
been pretty comfortable against them, for whatever reason. There's
certain pitchers, as hitters, you match up well, just timing-wise.
You're just kind of in rhythm."
LaRoche has been in rhythm against everyone in September. His
two-hit effort Thursday -- he also had an RBI single in the third
inning -- was his fifth two-hit game in nine games this month,
during which he is hitting .355 with five homers and 15 RBIs.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon also continued his hot September by
going 3-for-5 with a two-run homer that extended the Nationals' lead
to 6-0 in the fourth inning. Rendon is hitting .324 with seven RBIs
and eight runs scored this month.
Mets right-hander Bartolo Colon was ejected when he hit right
fielder Jayson Werth in the upper left arm one pitch after Rendon's
homer. Colon, who began the day averaging a National League-low 1.2
walks per nine innings, also plunked shortstop Ian Desmond
immediately after LaRoche's homer.
Mets manager Terry Collins was ejected for arguing the beanings were
unintentional and Colon said there was no purpose behind the
pitches. The Nationals seemed to think otherwise.
"I think it just slipped," LaRoche said with a smirk.
"I don't have an opinion one way or the other," said Nationals
manager Matt Williams, who played with Colon in Cleveland in 1997.
"All I know is he's got excellent control. So we deal with it and
Catcher Anthony Recker homered leading off the fifth for the Mets,
who pulled within 6-2 on second baseman Dilson Herrera's RBI single
in the seventh. But right-hander Craig Stammen relieved Roark and
retired the potential tying run, shortstop Wilmer Flores, on a 6-4-3
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The Mets loaded the bases again in the eighth, but left-hander Matt
Thornton got first baseman Lucas Duda to line out and right-hander
Tyler Clippard escaped the jam by striking out Recker.
"We've got to play better," Collins said. "That's the only reason
they're beating us at home. We're just not playing. Just like
tonight: We had several opportunities to get back in the game and we
didn't do anything."
The loss ended a four-game winning streak for the Mets (71-76), who
fell 6 1/2 games behind Pittsburgh in the race for the NL's second
The Mets also endured a pair of injury scares when starting catcher
Travis d'Arnaud left after five innings with a wrist injury and
third baseman Daniel Murphy exited after being hit on the left wrist
in the eighth. The wrist immediately swelled up on Murphy but X-rays
Duda, Recker and left fielder Eric Young all had two hits apiece.
Colon fell to 13-12 after allowing the six runs (five earned) on
seven hits and two walks while striking out two over three-plus
NOTES: Nationals 3B Anthony Rendon (illness) and SS Ian Desmond
(back) each returned to the lineup Thursday after sitting out
Wednesday's game against the Atlanta Braves. ... Nationals 3B/OF
Ryan Zimmerman, who hasn't played since June 22 due to a strained
right hamstring, is with the club in New York and will participate
in baseball activities prior to all four games. Manager Matt
Williams hopes Zimmerman can play in instructional league games next
week. ... Following his brief stint Thursday, Mets RHP Bartolo
Colon, 41, has thrown 182 2/3 innings this season. The only Mets
pitcher 40 years or older to reach 200 innings in a season was Tom
Glavine, who threw 200 1/3 innings as a 41-year-old in 2007. ...
Mets OF Matt den Dekker (swollen left hand) was out of the lineup
for a second day in a row but pinch-ran for 3B Daniel Murphy in the
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