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Monday, April 9, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Nats 3

By Adam Rubin




Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT HAPPENED: Using a lineup with eight homegrown players pre-September roster expansion for the first time since April 19, 1990, the Mets beat the Washington Nationals, 4-3, Monday night at Citi Field in walk-off fashion.

Mike Baxter opened the ninth by walking against Henry Rodriguez. Baxter then went to third when Rodriguez threw away Ruben Tejada's sacrifice bunt. Daniel Murphy plated Baxter with a line single to right field.

At 4-0, the Mets are off to their best start since also winning four straight to open 2007.

Murphy produced his second career walkoff RBI -- the other coming on Aug. 16, 2009 against the San Francisco Giants.

KIRK CHAMPION: Kirk Nieuwenhuis produced his first major league homer and RBIs with a two-run shot off Edwin Jackson in the fourth inning, which evened the score at 3.

Nieuwenhuis became the 12th Met to homer at least once in his first three major league games. The others: Mike Jacobs (2005), Kazuo Matsui (2004), Lenny Dykstra (1985), Mike Fitzgerald (1983), Lee Mazzilli (1976), Benny Ayala (1974), Ron Hodges (1973), Dave Schneck (1972), Ken Singleton (1970), Duffy Dyer (1969) and Ron Swoboda (1965).

Nieuwenhuis’ shot hit the Modell’s sign in the old nook in right field, which would have bounced back into play a season ago. The Mets have now out-homered opponents 2-0 in balls that would have remained in play under the old Citi Field dimensions. The other long ball that would not have been a homer the previous three seasons: Lucas Duda’s fourth-inning shot Saturday against Atlanta’s Jair Jurrjens.

OPEN MIKE: Mike Pelfrey surrendered three runs and 10 hits while striking out a career-high-tying eight and walking one in 5 2/3 innings. He threw 104 pitches (63 strikes) in his first 2012 start.

Pelfrey left two Nats on base with two out in the sixth, and Miguel Batista stranded them by striking out Ian Desmond.

Batista issued a pair of walks to open the following inning, but Ramon Ramirez eventually bailed him out by getting Jayson Werth to hit into an inning-ending double play. Jon Rauch contributed two scoreless relief innings.

The Mets had not trailed all season until Adam LaRoche’s RBI single in the first inning -- the third straight hit against Pelfrey. But the right-hander rallied that inning by fanning Werth with a 95 mph fastball, then coaxing a groundout from Mark DeRosa.

LAST STRAW: David Wright pulled within four RBIs of matching Darryl Strawberry’s franchise-record 733 with a run-scoring single in the third inning that pulled the Mets within 3-1.

0 NO: Ike Davis remained hitless. Davis, who is scheduled to sit Tuesday, went 0-for-4 and is now hitless in 15 at-bats this season. With Tejada on third base and two out in the seventh and the score tied at 3, Tom Gorzelanny intentionally walked Wright to get to Davis, who grounded out.

WHAT’S NEXT: Terry Collins goes to the righty half of his center-field platoon as Scott Hairston starts at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday. Hairston pinch hit for Nieuwenhuis in the eighth inning Monday and struck out to strand the potential go-ahead run at second base. Dillon Gee makes his season debut opposite Nats left-hander Ross Detwiler.