WASHINGTON (AP) – Demoted from leadoff to seventh in the lineup, Jose Reyes responded with two hits and scored the tying and go-ahead runs Monday, helping the New York Mets to a 5-2 victory over the Washington Nationals.

With the score 2-2 in the ninth, Reyes legged out an infield hit, stole his 24th base and scored on pinch-hitter Jose Offerman’s single off Sun-woo Kim (1-1). An RBI double by new leadoff hitter Mike Cameron and an RBI single by Carlos Beltran provided insurance runs as the Mets moved back to .500.

The loss snapped the Nationals’ six-game winning streak in the first Fourth of July game in the nation’s capital in 37 years. Washington had a rare setback at home, where it had won 16 of 17 and still leads the majors with a 29-11 record.

Roberto Hernandez (4-2) pitched two scoreless innings in relief, his 14th consecutive appearance without yielding a run. He has a 0.00 ERA in 17 2-3 innings in road games this season. Braden Looper worked the ninth for his 18th save.

Reyes’ inability to work the count cost him the top spot in the order – he entered with just 10 walks and a .276 on-base percentage. Cameron hit leadoff for only the second time this season, while Beltran batted second for the first time.

The new lineup was ineffective for six innings against John Patterson, who finally tired in the heat. Marlon Anderson singled and David Wright doubled to start the seventh, chasing Patterson. Reyes singled off Luis Ayala to score Anderson, ending a 19-inning scoreless drought for the Mets, who were shut out Sunday by Florida’s Dontrelle Willis.

The Nationals caught a break when Chris Woodward’s comebacker left Wright in a rundown, and he was tagged out. But Cameron tied it with a broken-bat single to score Reyes.

Patterson threw 116 pitches and allowed just four hits in six-plus innings. He walked two, struck out seven and left to a standing ovation, but got his ninth no-decision in 14 starts.

New York lefty Kazuhisa Ishii had his best start since late May, allowing five hits and two runs in 5 1-3 innings.

Vinny Castilla, celebrating his 38th birthday, doubled to open the second inning and scored on Junior Spivey’s two-out double. Jose Guillen made it 2-0 in the sixth with an RBI double.

Notes: The injury-riddled Nationals played only three regulars – Brad Wilkerson, Guillen and Castilla. The missing contingent included Jose Vidro, Nick Johnson, Cristian Guzman and Ryan Church. … Attendance was 44,331, just short of a sellout. The Nationals said it was the biggest crowd of the season because the 45,596 announced at the home opener has since been adjusted to 43,861. … All six of Offerman’s RBIs have come as a pinch-hitter. … The Nationals, who already top the majors in players used this season, padded their lead when Matt Cepicky grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh. Cepicky, promoted from Triple-A New Orleans on Sunday, became the 44th player the club has used. … The Senators beat the New York Yankees 4-2 in 1968 in RFK Stadium’s last Independence Day game. … Woodward departed in the seventh with a bruised left knee.

AP-ES-07-04-05 1704EDT


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