Niese struggles as Mets fall 5-2 to Nationals

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 16, 2014 at 11:09 pm •  Published: May 16, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — Not even the New York Mets' stopper could bail out a suddenly stagnant offense.

Jonathon Niese lasted just four innings in his shortest outing since last June in the Mets' 5-2 loss to the Washington Nationals on Friday night.

"He certainly wasn't in a great rhythm when the game started, I didn't think," manager Terry Collins said of Niese, who allowed all five runs, three earned. "We know Jon Niese (2-3) is a guy that, when things don't go good, he's one of those guys who will step up and put an end to it."

The Mets snapped a 22-inning scoreless streak, their second longest of the season, with two runs in the fifth off Nationals starter Tanner Roark (3-1).

But Daniel Murphy missed a ninth-inning tying home run by inches, sending the Mets to their third straight loss and their ninth in a row against the Nationals.

"I thought it had a chance," said Murphy, who instead watched as Jayson Werth made a leaping grab at the wall to preserve Rafael Soriano's ninth save. "In my heart of hearts, I knew it was going to be close. He crowded me just a little bit. He got it on me just a hair."

Niese allowed eight hits and two walks, and threw 84 pitches in his shortest outing since June 20, 2013 at Atlanta, when he left after 3 1-3 innings due to injury.

Tyler Moore had two hits and drove in a pair of runs, and Scott Hairston had an RBI double and a single for Washington, which scored three runs in the first and two in the third.

The Mets' defense hurt Niese early as the first three Nationals hitters reached safely and scored. After Denard Span singled, third baseman David Wright misplayed Anthony Rendon's grounder for an error.

Werth then singled home Span, and Washington added two more runs on a sacrifice fly by Wilson Ramos and a fielder's choice grounder from Moore that might have been a double play. But the ball was bobbled briefly by second baseman Murphy.

"David misplays a ball, I misplay a double-play ball, so we kind of put him into trouble," Murphy said of Niese. "I thought he settled down nicely after that."

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