Jeremy Hefner got the spot start for the Mets Wednesday night against the Nationals in order to give Johan Santana more rest after his 134-pitch no-hitter. Well, he didn’t pitch poorly, but he didn’t win the game, either.
Hefner got off to a rocky start — in the first inning Daniel Murphy booted an easy grounder for yet another Met error, Ryan Zimmerman walked and Adam LaRoche slammed a three-run shot into the seats for the early 3-0 lead.
The Mets tried to nibble away at the lead. In the third Kirk Nieuwenhuis singled-in Omar Quintanilla to make it 3-1.
The Mets took advantage of some poor Nationals defense in the fourth. David Wright singled but was able to get all the way to third on a throwing error by pitcher Edwin Jackson. Wright scored on a Lucas Duda groundout to make it 3-2.
The Nationals added another run in the fifth on singles by Zimmerman, LaRoche and Michael Morse.
Ike Davis doubled to lead off the seventh, advanced to third on a ground out and scored on another ground out to make it a 4-3 game.
Hefner deserves credit for settling down after the terrible first inning and giving the Mets six innings of work. They needed it after depleting the bullpen in Tuesday’s 12-inning marathon.
Tim Byrdak allowed a run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly, making it 5-3.
Mets lose 5-3 and are now in fourth place, two and a half games out of first, after being so close to being on top of the NL East on Tuesday.