By John Schweibacher
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After riding high for much of April, the New York Mets have been shut down in May, having dropped three straight series and finding themselves on the losing end of consecutive 1-0 home losses for the first time in 42 years.
The Washington Nationals made it 17 wins in their last 19 games at Citi Field with the back-to-back victories Saturday and Sunday.
The Mets had not lost consecutive 1-0 home games in a series against the same team since dropping two straight to the Chicago Cubs on April 17 and 18, 1973 at Shea Stadium.
Doug Fister and four relievers combined on the Nats’ shutout Sunday afternoon after Gio Gonzalez and three Nationals relievers led Washington to the win over the Mets Saturday night at Citi Field.
Before this weekend, the Mets had lost just three 1-0 home games to the Nationals-Expos franchise in club history:
— 5/3/15: Nationals 1 at Mets 0. Doug Fister (win), Tanner Roark, Matt Thornton, Aaron Barrett, and Drew Storen (save), five-hit shutout. Ryan Zimmerman RBI single in first. Dillon Gee loss.
— 5/2/15: Nationals 1 at Mets 0. Gio Gonzalez (win), Aaron Barrett, Matt Grace and Drew Storen (save), six-hit shutout. Michael Taylor RBI single in second. Jon Niese loss.
— 5/15/08: Nationals 1 at Mets 0. Jason Bergmann (win), Luis Ayala and Jon Rauch (save), five-hit shutout. Felipe Lopez sacfly in eighth. Mike Pelfrey loss.
— 9/18/03: Expos 1 at Mets 0. Javier Vazquez (win), Scott Stewart and Chad Cordero (save), three-hit shutout. Todd Zeile solo homer in third. Steve Trachsel loss.
— 7/30/73: Expos 1 at Mets 0. Steve Rogers (win) seven-hit shutout. Jon Matlack loss. Ken Singleton RBI double in ninth.
The lone win in the four-game set with the Nationals came thanks to Matt Harvey, who is now 5-0 in five starts this season after throwing seven scoreless innings against the Nats in the Mets’ 4-0 victory Friday night at Citi Field.
Harvey became the fifth pitcher in club history to win each of his first five starts in a season:
— Frank Viola: 1990, 7
— Dwight Gooden: 1988, 6
— Armando Reynoso: 1998, 5
— Pedro Martinez: 2006, 5
— Matt Harvey: 2015, 5
Daniel Murphy made his first appearance of the season at third base Friday night, moving over to the hot corner with Dilson Herrera getting the start at second base.
Murphy has now played 453 games at second and 47 (as of Sunday) at third in his career. Here are the players who have made at least 70 appearances at both second base and third base in their Mets careers:
— Edgardo Alfonzo: 524 (2B), 515 (3B)
— Jeff Kent: 390, 102
— Gregg Jefferies: 328, 125
— Wayne Garrett: 138, 711
— Justin Turner: 108, 71
— Charlie Neal: 85, 78
Ichiro Suzuki’s three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning broke open the game in the Marlins’ 7-3 win over the Mets in the rubber game of their three-game series last Wednesday night in Miami.
Ichiro was 41 years and 189 days old when he hit that homer. Thanks to the player game finder on baseball-reference.com, here are the 12 players who homered at least once against the Mets at age 41 or older:
— Stan Musial
— Warren Spahn
— Vic Davalillo
— Graig Nettles
— Davey Lopes
— Darrell Evans
— Rickey Henderson
— Julio Franco
— Tim Raines
— Barry Bonds
— Raul Ibanez
— Ichiro Suzuki
The Marlins won the middle game of the three-game set between the Meta and Miami, 4-3, last Tuesday night at Marlins Park.
Carlos Torres walked two batters in the eighth inning before allowing Michael Morse’s go-ahead single. Mets pitchers had issued only 36 walks in their first 20 games of the season, four of which were intentional. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, over the last 80 years, only two other major league teams walked as few batters over their first 20 games of a season: the 2005 Twins (27) and 1968 Giants (also 36).
The Mets rallied to win the opener of their series in Miami, 3-1, last Monday night. With the Mets trailing 1-0 in the ninth inning, Daniel Murphy hit a three-run homer against Marlins closer Steve Cishek to put New York in front to stay.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other second baseman in Mets history before Murphy to come to bat in the ninth inning or later with New York trailing and hit a go-ahead home run was Damion Easley, who hit a three-run homer against the Diamondbacks’ Jose Valverde that turned a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 lead in an eventual 9-4 Mets victory in Arizona back on May 3, 2007.
Nine Miles of Rough Road: Wilmer Flores. Mets shortstop has made seven errors in 21 games this season after making just four in 51 appearances at short in 2014.
Happy Recap: Juan Lagares. Mets center fielder has at least one hit in all 14 games at Citi Field this season, going 20-for-53 .377 overall in home games.