Nationals beat Mets for fifth straight win

Associated Press photo by Frank Franklin II -- Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman hits a home run during the sixth inning of the Nationals' 3-0 win over the Mets on Wednesday in New York.
Associated Press photo by Frank Franklin II -- Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman hits a home run during the sixth inning of the Nationals' 3-0 win over the Mets on Wednesday in New York.

NEW YORK — Dan Haren pitched one-hit ball for six innings, Ryan Zimmerman homered and the Washington Nationals won their fifth straight game, beating the New York Mets 3-0 on Wednesday in a night full of 9/11 tributes.

Mets manager Terry Collins wore an NYPD hat during batting practice, and there were several remembrances on the field, on the scoreboard and over the public-address system of those affected by the terror attacks 12 years ago.

The Nationals improved to 22-9 in their late charge toward a playoff spot. They remained six games behind Cincinnati for the final NL wild-card spot with only 17 to play.

Denard Span extended his hitting streak to a career-high 22 games and Anthony Rendon added a two-run double that broke it open in the eighth inning. Jayson Werth delivered another extra-base hit and Bryce Harper beat out an infield hit after missing four games because of a sore left hip.

Haren (9-13) and the Washington bullpen held an overmatched New York lineup to three singles. The Mets started five rookies and lost for the eighth time in 10 games — on Monday night, they were shut out on one hit by Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez.

Battered by the Mets and Marlins in his previous two starts, Haren dominated. He gave up a single to Juan Lagares in the fourth, struck out eight and walked one.

Xavier Cedeno, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano combined for three scoreless innings of relief. Soriano closed for his 41st save, giving up a bunt single to Lagares.

Zack Wheeler (7-5) gave up one run and eight hits in seven innings, striking out six and walking one. He wound up with his third loss in four starts.

Zimmerman opened the sixth by homering beyond the leap of left fielder Eric Young Jr. His 22nd home run came on an 0-2 pitch and was the first long ball permitted by Wheeler in 36 innings — he was tagged for nine homers in his first 57 innings this year as a major leaguer.

Marlins 5, Braves 2: In Miami, Marlins rookie sensation Jose Fernandez pitched seven innings, hit his first major-league homer and engaged in a standoff with the annoyed Atlanta Braves that cleared both benches and bullpens.

When he had completed his eventful evening, Fernandez slowly walked off the mound one last time, removing his cap as the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Two relievers pitched the final two innings, and the woeful Marlins beat the playoff-bound Braves 5-2.

The game was the last of the season for the demonstrative 21-year-old Fernandez because he passed his 170-inning limit set by the Marlins.

A top candidate for National League Rookie of the Year, he finished 12-6 with an ERA of 2.19, second-lowest in the majors behind only the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw.

Interleague

Pirates 7, Rangers 5: In Arlington, Texas, Clint Barmes homered and drew a bases-loaded walk for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who completed a three-game sweep in an interleague matchup of wild-card leaders.

Justin Morneau, acquired from Minnesota less than two weeks ago, snapped an 0-for-14 slump with four hits while scoring twice.

The Pirates (84-61) moved within a half-game of NL Central-leading St. Louis, which hosted Milwaukee on Wednesday night.

Texas (81-64) has dropped nine of its last 12, a stretch in which the Rangers have lost four consecutive series.

They have gone from a three-game lead in the AL West to 2½ behind Oakland before the Athletics played at Minnesota on Wednesday night.

A.J. Burnett (8-10) struck out seven in 6 1-3 innings, though he faded late after retiring the first 13 batters he faced.

Kyle Farnsworth, the fourth Pittsburgh reliever, worked the ninth for his first save since 2011.

Matt Garza (3-4 with Texas, 9-5 overall) needed 89 pitches to get through four innings and left down 3-0. He struck out six, but also walked four and gave up five hits.

Garza, acquired July 22 from the Chicago Cubs to bolster the Rangers’ rotation, is 0-2 his last four starts.

Felix Pie had a leadoff walk in the third, stole second and scored on Neil Walker’s single. The Pirates loaded the bases in the fourth before Barmes drew a walk, and another run came home on a fielder’s choice after shortstop Elvis Andrus bobbled a likely double-play grounder.

Barmes’ solo homer in the eighth, for a 7-5 lead, was the only home run hit by either team in the series.

Burnett struck out five the first two innings and didn’t allow a base runner until A.J. Pierzynski’s one-out double in the fifth. That might have been caught if Gold Glove center fielder Andrew McCutchen wasn’t getting a day off, with the ball going over the outstretched glove of Pie.

After getting his last strikeout before a grounder to end the fifth, Burnett wasn’t so good against the last 10 batters he faced. The right-hander gave up five hits and walked two over that span.

The bottom two batters in the Rangers lineup walked to start the sixth before a single by Ian Kinsler. Andrus drove in two with a single that ricocheted off shortstop Barmes’ glove into short left as he tried to make a backhanded stop.

Pierzynski doubled again to start the seventh and scored on David Murphy’s single that chased Burnett. Kinsler and Andrus had consecutive RBI singles off reliever Jeanmar Gomez that got Texas within 6-5.\