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Thursday, April 3, 2014
Wheeler faults himself despite quality start

By Adam Rubin

NEW YORK -- When Zack Wheeler departed after six innings Thursday, the New York Mets trailed by only a run.

The Washington Nationals ultimately won 8-2 at Citi Field. Yet Wheeler faulted himself, not a bullpen that surrendered five runs or batters that were kept off the scoreboard the final eight innings.

Wheeler’s line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR.

“It all starts with me, though, giving up the three runs,” Wheeler said. “I should have done better and not given up any. If you’re going to win ballgames, you’ve got to keep the walks down, keep the runs down, keep guys off the bases.”

Washington took a 3-2 lead with a two-run fifth that began with Wheeler walking the leadoff batter, No. 8 hitter Sandy Leon.

The homer was a solo shot by Ryan Zimmerman in the second, after the Mets had staked Wheeler to a 2-0 lead.

“A slider right down the middle that didn’t do anything,” Wheeler said.

Despite being critical of himself, Wheeler said he was pleased with the changeup he has been incorporating more into his repertoire this year.

“It’s been a good pitch for me lately, especially throughout the spring,” Wheeler said. “I continued to use it today, because I had success with it last time against them [in spring training].”