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May 1, 11:13 PM EDT

Scherzer nicked, Nationals lose to Harvey and Mets 4-0


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NEW YORK (AP) -- When the team bus to Citi Field got stuck in New York traffic, Max Scherzer got a little extra time to think about his matchup against Matt Harvey.

That was OK, the Nationals newcomer likes this kind of game.

He just wished it had come out differently.

Scherzer struck out 10, but Harvey outdueled him Friday night and led the New York Mets over Washington 4-0.

"He's a great pitcher. It's fun," Scherzer said. "You want to face those guys. You want to beat those guys. Unfortunately, we came out on the wrong side tonight."

"You know runs are going to have meaning. You've got to bring your `A' game in these situations," he said.

Michael Cuddyer homered early as the Mets stopped their longest losing streak of the year at three. Daniel Murphy added a three-run double in the eighth inning when left fielder Jayson Werth mistakenly broke in and then slipped trying to recover.

The Nationals, who had won 15 of their last 16 at Citi Field, were denied a season-high four-game winning string.

Harvey (5-0) became the first five-game winner in the majors, giving up five hits and striking out three in seven innings. He's won every time he's started this year after missing last season while recuperating from Tommy John surgery.

"He made pitches when he needed to. It just didn't happen for us tonight," Nationals manager Matt Williams said.

Scherzer (1-3) also allowed five hits and one walk in seven innings. But Cuddyer tagged him for a drive in the fourth, leaving Scherzer with only one win in five starts despite a 1.26 ERA.

Mets manager Terry Collins left no doubt how much this early matchup between his surprising club and the favored Nationals meant. He brought in Jeurys Familia with a 1-0 lead to get five outs, and the closer responded for his 10th save in as many chances.

On the day that Major League Baseball began implementing warnings and fines under its pace of play rules, there was no dawdling. On a brisk night, it was a brisk game in 2 hours, 29 minutes.

The Mets kept things moving with their defense.

Gold Glove center fielder Juan Lagares raced in to rob Ian Desmond - now in an 0-for-29 slump - and first baseman Lucas Duda neatly reached into the stands to grab a foul pop.

Rookie catcher Kevin Plawecki protected the one-run lead by throwing out Bryce Harper trying to steal second to end the sixth. Originally called safe, Harper was erased after Collins called for a replay challenge.

Shaky shortstop Wilmer Flores made his seventh error, but second baseman Dilson Herrera - promoted from Triple-A hours earlier - helped out on a pair of double plays.

The Nationals also were sharp with their gloves, until Werth's misplay. Center fielder Michael Taylor raced way back and reached real high to catch Plawecki's shot to the warning track. Harper later threw out Curtis Granderson at the plate when he tried to score from second on a single.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: CF Denard Span sat out, a day after leaving in the sixth inning because of general soreness. He's had a pair of recent operations in his core muscle area and started the season on the disabled list. Williams hopes Span will be able to play Saturday.

UP NEXT

LHP Gio Gonzalez (1-2, 5.01 ERA) starts for the Nationals. He's 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA in eight career starts at Citi Field. LHP Jonathon Niese (2-1, 2.74) pitches for the Mets.

HARPER VS. HARVEY

Harvey is 3-1 with an 0.68 ERA in six career starts against the Nationals and owns the matchup with Harper. The Washington cleanup man struck out and popped out, leaving him 0 for 12 with six strikeouts vs. Harvey. Harper did finally reach against him, drawing a walk that extended his career-best streak of getting on base to 17 games.

Harper tried to alter his approach against Harvey, looking to hit to the opposite field and trying a bunt, which he fouled off.

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