NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Weekend series against Washington and its stingy starting rotation. Wrong time for the New York Mets to hit a serious slump at the plate.
Doug Fister pitched the Nationals to their second straight 1-0 win at Citi Field on Sunday, breezing through his latest dominant outing against the skidding Mets before handing a lead to the bullpen.
“We’re not getting big hits, that’s for sure. The middle of our lineup, we got neutralized pretty much today,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Ryan Zimmerman blooped an RBI single in the first inning, and the Nationals took three of four from the NL East leaders to make it 17 victories in their last 19 tries in Queens. A heavy favorite to win the division, Washington (12-14) has won five of six following a six-game losing streak.
“The offense isn’t going. Pretty good pitching staff over there. I think it’s a combination of both,” cleanup man Michael Cuddyer said. “We ran into two guys the last two days that pitched really, really well, kept the balls off the barrel, and we didn’t help ourselves. It’s a bad combination.”
Matt Thornton struck out Lucas Duda with two runners in scoring position in the eighth, and Aaron Barrett whiffed Cuddyer to end the inning. Drew Storen pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save.
“We haven’t been able to get the big hit,” Cuddyer said. “When we were winning games last week, we were getting the big hit.”
It was the first time in franchise history, dating to the team’s Montreal debut in 1969, the Nationals won consecutive 1-0 games, according to STATS.
Prior to Gio Gonzalez’s victory Saturday night, saved by Storen, the Nationals had not won 1-0 on the road since May 15, 2008, also against the Mets.
Fister (2-1) threw 68 of 89 pitches for strikes before a quick hook from manager Matt Williams following a one-out double in the seventh. Tanner Roark, one of four relievers who combined to finish the five-hitter, kept New York off the scoreboard.
Fister allowed those five hits and walked none while improving to 5-0 with a 0.82 ERA in five starts against the Mets, who have dropped five of six. They are 3-7 since their 11-game winning streak.
“We’re still what, (six) games over (.500), still top of the division right now?” Cuddyer said. “There’s no reason to press.”
Dillon Gee (0-2) was chased in the sixth. He has lasted at least five innings in 51 consecutive starts, breaking the previous club record held by Dwight Gooden (1987-89). It is the longest active streak in the majors.
Gee faded quickly after working hard in the middle innings. He was pulled with the bases loaded following his fifth walk, but Alex Torres momentarily rescued the Mets by striking out three straight to prevent any damage.
“I thought that was going to give us a huge energy boost and we could come back in and get some runs, but we just couldn’t get squared up,” Collins said.
Gee said he owes Torres “way more than a steak dinner.”
“I feel terrible that I left him in that spot, but he was unbelievable. He came in and just dominated,” Gee said.
The right-hander walked his first batter and New York, shaky on the infield, squandered two chances to turn a double play. That proved costly when Zimmerman poked a two-out RBI single off the end of his broken bat on an 0-2 pitch.
Fister retired 14 of 15 before Gee’s two-out single in the fifth.
“We haven’t hit the ball over the last 10 games like we can or like we should,” Collins said.
Cuddyer robbed Zimmerman of a fourth-inning home run with a leaping grab at the 358-foot sign in left.
“Probably the most un-athletic catch of a home run ball you’ll ever see,” Cuddyer said. “I was probably just as shocked as anybody else.”
The last time the Mets had lost 1-0 on consecutive days was Sept. 4-5, 1990, at St. Louis and Pittsburgh, STATS said. The previous team to defeat New York 1-0 on back-to-back days was the Chicago Cubs in April 1973 at Shea Stadium. Ferguson Jenkins beat Tom Seaver in the first game in a matchup of future Hall of Famers.
Nationals: CF Denard Span (abdomen) was back in the leadoff spot after missing two games because of soreness and fatigue.
Mets: Struggling SS Wilmer Flores was rested for the second consecutive game. “We’ve got to get his mind straight first,” Collins said. “We’re just hoping that a couple days off kind of refreshes him and gets him back on track.” Ruben Tejada started at shortstop again and went 0 for 3.
SOMEONE CATCH THAT KID!
In the most adorable moment of the day, a little girl wearing an oversized David Wright jersey took off in a beeline for shallow center field during a fan-friendly promotion between innings. A ballpark worker finally chased down the youngster and ushered her in the right direction, toward third base.
Nationals: Following a 5-5 road trip in NL East cities, Jordan Zimmermann (2-2) pitches Monday night at home in the opener of a three-game series against Miami.
Mets: Monday and Thursday are off days for the Mets, bookending a two-game interleague series versus visiting Baltimore. Bartolo Colon (4-1, 3.31 ERA) starts Tuesday night against Bud Norris (1-2, 12.18).
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