<
>

Morning Briefing: Bumbling Nats allow Mets to maintain division lead

15h

NEW YORK --

FIRST PITCH: The New York Mets' lead atop the National League East remains at 6 1/2 games thanks to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Brandon Moss had a walk-off three-run homer as the Cardinals beat the Washington Nationals, 8-5, on Tuesday at Busch Stadium.

Now, Matt Harvey looks to lead the Mets to a rubber-game victory against the Philadelphia Phillies. Harvey (11-7, 2.48 ERA) opposes rookie right-hander Aaron Nola (5-1, 3.26) on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET.

TUESDAY'S NEWS REPORTS:

  • Jonathon Niese surrendered five runs in the third inning for a second straight start, both against the Phillies, and the Mets never climbed out of the hole in a 14-8 loss on Tuesday. Niese ultimately was charged with six runs in five innings -- giving him a 9.92 ERA in his last three starts. Trailing 6-0, the Mets produced four runs in the fifth against Aaron Harang, capped by a two-run homer from Yoenis Cespedes that snapped his 0-for-16 drought. However, Bobby Parnell walked the first two batters he faced in the sixth in his return from the disabled list, then had a throwing error on Freddy Galvis' bunt in what became an eight-run frame. Parnell's ERA swelled to 6.52 in a miserable season returning from Tommy John surgery. The Mets had a franchise-record-matching 10-game winning streak against Philadelphia snapped. Ex-Diamondback Addison Reed tossed a scoreless inning with one strikeout in his Mets debut. The teams combined for the most runs in a game in Citi Field history. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Record and at MLB.com.

  • Noah Syndergaard's weekend start in Miami will be skipped to conserve innings. Steven Matz, newly activated from the disabled list, will take Syndergaard's turn (although potentially on Sunday instead of Saturday, with Bartolo Colon staying on standard rest). The next turn, the Mets are expected to implement a six-man rotation. That means Niese, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom remain lined up to face the Nationals in a series that begins Monday in D.C. They are expected to oppose Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday and at MLB.com.

  • Vic Black cleared waivers and was outrighted back to Triple-A Las Vegas to open the 40-man roster spot for the activation of Erik Goeddel from the 60-day DL. Kevin Plawecki, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Eric Young Jr., Eric Campbell, Matz, Parnell and Goeddel all were active Tuesday with the big league club. Lucas Duda, Logan Verrett and likely Dario Alvarez will increase the active roster to 35 players at some point. Black and Danny Muno both were outrighted this week with the Mets needing to open 40-man roster spots for Goeddel and Young.

  • Every ESPN expert polled picked the Mets to hold on and win the NL East.

  • The Mets and Yankees have the two most homegrown rosters in baseball, Joel Sherman writes in the Post.

  • WOR produced a video featuring broadcaster Howie Rose. Watch here.

  • Ex-Met Lenny Dykstra allegedly has been naughty, TMZ reports. Read more in the Daily News.

  • Read more about Parnell's struggles at NJ.com.

  • Read more on Reed joining the Mets in the Post.

  • Infielder Jeff McNeil, knuckleballer Mickey Jannis and reliever Beck Wheeler will represent the Mets in the Arizona Fall League. The Mets will name four additional players at a later date.

  • Logan Verrett allowed six runs, including three homers, in 6 1/3 innings, but Las Vegas beat El Paso, 8-7. Brock Peterson had a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the ninth and Binghamton moved closer to clinching a postseason berth with a 7-6 win against Reading. Jimmy Duff tossed a scoreless relief inning to earn his first Florida State League win as St. Lucie salvaged a doubleheader split with Charlotte. Michael Katz drove in two runs in a four-run fourth as Savannah split a doubleheader with Augusta. Kevin Kaczmarski had three RBIs as Kingsport beat Danville, 6-2. Johnny Sewald, the brother of Mets farmhand Paul Sewald, had a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth and Tri-City beat Brooklyn, 5-4.

  • From the bloggers … Mets Report believes the Mets should skip Niese, not Syndergaard. … The Kings of Queens suggests Matz's return couldn't come at a better time.

BIRTHDAYS: The late Marv Throneberry was born on this date in 1933.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

YOU'RE UP: Should manager Terry Collins have gone to Parnell in the sixth inning Tuesday after the Mets pulled within two runs on Cespedes' homer?