Wright lifts Mets after Maine goes out

WASHINGTON -- David Wright had already staked the New York Mets to a quick three-run lead when John Maine took the mound.

Maine's night was a short one, though. Fortunately the Mets had Raul Valdes.

Valdes filled in admirably for Maine, who left after facing just one batter. He worked five innings Thursday and the New York Mets beat the Washington Nationals 10-7.

In his first at-bat since sitting out for first time this season Wednesday night, Wright put the Mets ahead 3-0 with a double. But in the bottom half, Maine threw just five pitches -- a walk to Nyjer Morgan -- before Mets manager Jerry Manuel removed him.

Maine, who has had problems with his right shoulder, left the game "for precautionary reasons," the Mets said. He will see a doctor Friday.

He wasn't pleased about being removed.

"I didn't get asked," Maine said. "They said they saw something, and they were taking me out. I'm a little hurt by that."

Manuel had conferred with Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen, who had noticed during Maine's pregame bullpen that his velocity was down. He had Valdes warming up during Morgan's at-bat.

"He wanted to pitch. We got into a little exchange about that, and I told him I was trying to protect his best interests," Manuel said.

Valdes (2-1) allowed three runs and seven hits. He struck out six and walked one.

Wright's fourth RBI came on a sacrifice fly during a five-run fifth inning for the Mets, who had lost nine of 11. New York was 2-6 on its road trip and return home to play the crosstown rival Yankees for three games starting Friday night.

Wright went 1 for 4 without a strike out, ending a streak where he struck out in a career-high 15 straight games.

"I don't think you can ever expect going out there and scoring 10 runs a game," Wright said. "When we take advantage of their mistakes, when we're keeping the line moving, that's when we're at out best."

Luis Atilano (3-1) allowed seven runs in 4 2/3 innings for Washington.

Valdes, a 32-year-old rookie left-hander signed this spring from the Mexican League, had never pitched four innings.

All three of Valdes' decisions have come against the Nationals -- a win on May 11 and a loss Wednesday.

Valdes allowed a run in the second when Roger Bernadina's fielder's choice scored Adam Dunn and two runs in the sixth on Willie Harris' pinch-hit single.

By then, the Mets were ahead 10-3.

New York scored five runs in the fifth on a sacrifice fly, Jeff Francoeur's two-run single, an infield RBI single by Jose Reyes and a sacrifice fly by Alex Cora. Rod Barajas' 10th home run of the year, a two-run shot in the sixth, gave the Mets 10 runs -- equaling their high for the year.

"Valdes did a great job. For some reason that's been happening lately if our starter goes out early, the long guy shuts them down. It's huge," said rookie first baseman Ike Davis,who equaled career highs with three hits and three runs.

Washington, which has lost six of seven, scored three runs in the eighth off Jenrry Mejia and one in the ninth off Francisco Rodriguez.

"We just played terrible baseball," Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. "We played hard, but we didn't play smart."

Washington committed three errors -- tying a season high.

Game notes
Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner was struck by a ball while standing in right field during batting practice. Lerner was in uniform and shagging balls. According to The Washington Post, Lerner was struck on the bridge of his nose and received stitches. A team spokesman declined comment. ... This was the second time in Mets history that a starting pitcher was removed from a game after facing just one batter. It last happened on Apr. 26, 1981, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... Valdes' five-inning relief stint was the longest by a New York reliever since Darren Oliver worked five innings against Florida on July 7, 2006.