Chico strong, bullpen struggles in loss
Starter tosses 4 1/3 scoreless innings against powerful Mets
METS 8, NATIONALS 2
at Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Friday, March 21
Mets at the plate David Wright singled in each of his first two at-bats against Matt Chico and hit his first home run of the exhibition season against Chris Schroeder in the fifth. Carlos Beltran had a well-struck double and a bloop single. The Mets took their first lead in the sixth, when Marlon Anderson drove in one run with a double, then Jose Reyes knocked in another two runs with a double of his own.
Nationals at the plate: Austin Kearns, a Mets nemesis for three years, hit a home run over the left-field wall off Pedro Martinez in the fourth inning. He also scored after he was hit by a pitch in the second. A double by Elijah Dukes advanced Kearns to third, and an infield out by Felipe Lopez scored him. Lopez later added a single.
Mets on the mound: Martinez was solid once again, allowing two runs in five innings and striking out four. Lefty Ricardo Rincon, still trying to crack a crowded Mets bullpen, struck out two in a scoreless sixth inning.
Nationals on the mound: Chico, starting in place of the released John Patterson, held the Mets scoreless for 4 1/3 innings. However, the Mets quickly cracked reliever Schroder, who allowed five runs -- three earned -- over 1 2/3 innings.
Grapefruit League records: Mets 16-7-1, Nationals 9-14-0
Up next for the Mets: Oliver Perez has settled down after a rough start to Spring Training, and has now allowed only one run over his last nine innings. He'll look to extend that streak of success on Saturday, when the Mets travel to Winter Haven, Fla., to face the Indians. Joe Smith and Nelson Figueroa will also pitch in the 1:05 p.m. ET game, and the Indians will counter with lefty Cliff Lee.
Up next for the Nationals: Lefty John Lannan will take the hill on Saturday when the Nats return home to face the Braves at Space Coast Stadium. Saul Rivera is also scheduled to pitch for the Nationals in the 1:05 p.m. ET game. Right-hander Jair Jurrjens will start for the Braves.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.