John Maine pitches Mets past Nationals 6-2

Jay Cohen | 9/20/2009, 5:37 p.m.

NEW YORK (AP) -- John Maine pitched five shutout innings to earn his first win since May and the New York Mets beat the Washington Nationals 6-2 on Sunday, Sept. 20. Daniel Murphy had two hits and two RBIs for New York, which won two of three in the weekend series between the bottom two teams in the NL East. Carlos Beltran had an RBI single after resting Saturday and Wilson Valdez added a two-run triple in the ninth.

Maine (6-5) allowed two singles and a walk in his best start since he was sidelined for more than three months with a sore right shoulder. He came off the disabled list last Sunday at Philadelphia and yielded one run and two hits over three innings in a 5-4 loss.
Maine, Elmer Dessens, Sean Green and Brian Stokes combined to retire 12 straight batters before Washington rallied in the ninth. Ryan Zimmerman had an RBI double and scored on Adam Dunn's single. Stokes struck out Josh Willingham for the second out but walked Elijah Dukes to put runners on first and second. Manager Jerry Manuel then brought in Francisco Rodriguez, who threw a called third strike past pinch-hitter Cristian Guzman for his 33rd save.

Washington's best opportunity against Maine came in the fifth, when Willingham led off with a single and advanced to third on Alberto Gonzalez's one-out liner to center. Maine then struck out Jamie Burke and retired pitcher Garrett Mock on a bouncer to second to end the inning.

Maine earned his first win since he threw six shutout innings in a 3-2 victory over Florida on May 31. He also improved to 8-3 with a 4.20 ERA in 13 career starts against the Nationals, his most wins against any opponent. Mock (3-9) allowed four runs and nine hits in seven innings, dropping to 0-4 with a 7.00 ERA in five starts since his last win on Aug. 25 at Wrigley Field.

Murphy keyed the Mets' offense for the second consecutive day. He started the second with a triple and scored when Josh Thole's one-out grounder glanced off Mock for an infield hit. Murphy added a two-run double in New York's three-run third. Murphy is batting .347 (17 for 49) with two homers and 11 RBIs in his last 13 games. He drove in two runs in New York's 3-2 victory Saturday.

Angel Pagan finished with three hits and Luis Castillo had two for the Mets, who scored their most runs since a 10-9 victory at Philadelphia on Sept. 12.

The Nationals return home for their final homestand of the year beginning on Tuesday Sept. 22 with a three game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, a three games series against the Atlanta Braves, and a three games series against the New York Mets. The Nats will end the season on the road with a four games series against the Braves.