Carter's tiebreaking double keys Mets' rally past Nats

NEW YORK -- "The Animal" came off the bench to cap a stirring comeback by the New York Mets.

Pinch-hitter Chris Carter, just called up from the minors, delivered a tiebreaking double in his first at-bat for the Mets and New York scored six runs in the eighth inning to rally past the Washington Nationals 8-6 on Tuesday night.

"It's a great feeling. It's really special," Carter said. "I definitely felt like part of the team right there."

Jason Bay and David Wright led the charge, lifting New York out of its recent offensive doldrums with three hits apiece. Four relievers combined for 4 2-3 scoreless innings as the Mets climbed out of a 6-1 hole following a poor start by Jonathon Niese.

The go-ahead hit was provided by Carter, nicknamed "The Animal" by manager Jerry Manuel in spring training for his intensity and work ethic.

"Sounds good to me," Carter said.

Raul Valdes (1-0) worked the eighth for his first major league win and Francisco Rodriguez got three quick outs for his fifth save.

Rookie first baseman Ike Davis turned in a spectacular catch on a game-ending foulout, tumbling into the New York dugout to make a dangerous grab for the second time in five days.

"It's not that far of a drop," Davis said. "I'd rather end the game than worry about getting a bruise."

Jeff Francoeur drove in two runs and Hisanori Takahashi provided another stellar effort in long relief, tossing two shutout innings.

New York was down by four when Bay opened the eighth with a single off Brian Bruney. Wright followed with his second double and Davis hit an RBI grounder that shortstop Ian Desmond threw away for an error.

Tyler Clippard (6-1) struck out Francoeur, but Rod Barajas hit a two-run double high off the left-field fence that barely missed being a tying homer.

"I just didn't get it done after that," Clippard said. "It hurts."

Alex Cora dropped down a perfect bunt single and the Mets were in business, trailing 6-5 with runners at the corners and one out. Angel Pagan tied it with a single and Carter yanked a changeup down the right-field line, pumping his fist as he pulled into second base with the first extra-base hit of his career.

"These guys are some tremendous fighters," Manuel said.

During a postgame interview, Carter took a cream pie in the face from his new teammates.

Acquired from Boston last season as a player to be named in the trade that sent reliever Billy Wagner to the Red Sox, Carter had a strong spring for the Mets but did not make the opening-day roster.

He was called up from Triple-A Buffalo, where he was hitting .336 with six homers and 22 RBIs, when New York designated reserve outfielder Frank Catalanotto for assignment after Monday night's loss.

"I think he had a bat ever since the third inning," Manuel said. "He's a very focused individual. We all feel he can add some spice to our lineup."

Bay drew a bases-loaded walk from Miguel Batista, making it 8-6.

Davis hit a drive deep into the second deck in right and was surprised when it was called foul, crouching to the ground and raising his hands in disbelief. But umpires upheld the ruling after a video review, and Davis said they got the call right after he saw a replay himself.

"I might have shown too much emotion there," Davis said.

Bay also contributed a big play in the field -- his running catch of Nyjer Morgan's bases-loaded drive to left-center ended the fifth with the score 6-1.

Adam Dunn hit a three-run homer and Ivan Rodriguez had a two-run single for the Nationals, who had won three straight. They also had been 14-0 when leading after seven innings.

"They've been lights-out all year. This kind of stuff happens," Dunn said. "It's bound to happen and it's just kind of a shame it happened tonight."

Washington starter Scott Olsen shook off a line drive that hit him on the left ankle in the second inning, then was lifted in the sixth with a five-run cushion. It was another solid outing by the left-hander, who took a no-hitter into the eighth inning of his previous start against Atlanta.

Game notes
Mets CF Carlos Beltran (knee surgery) has started limited baseball activities, such as swinging a bat and light jogging, at the team's complex in Florida. 1B Daniel Murphy (sprained right knee) is playing in extended spring training games and reliever Ryota Igarashi (left hamstring) is throwing bullpens, club spokesman Jay Horwitz said. ... Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said LHP John Lannan (left elbow discomfort) will be limited to 100 pitches when he returns to the rotation Thursday night at Colorado.