WASHINGTON (AP) – Mike Piazza drove in the go-ahead run in the 11th inning with his third hit and the New York Mets handed the Nationals their first series loss at home since April by beating Washington 3-2 Thursday.

Piazza returned from a day off and went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, including the run-scoring single that gave the Mets three wins in the four-game series. New York also snapped the Nationals’ 12-game winning streak in one-run games, three shy of the major league record.

Luis Ayala (7-5), in his second inning of work, struck out Mike Cameron to start the 11th, then gave up a double to Carlos Beltran.

Cliff Floyd was walked intentionally, bringing up Piazza, who lifted a blooper that fell in between second base and right field, scoring Beltran. Right fielder Jose Guillen, who was sick and only entered the game in the ninth, threw home too late, but catcher Brian Schneider threw to second to get Piazza. Shortstop Jamey Carroll threw back home to get Floyd at the plate to end the inning with a rare 9-2-6-2 double play.

The bottom of the 11th was delayed while Nationals manager Frank Robinson argued with umpires after the Mets sent Heath Bell (1-3) out to the mound to warm up, then replaced him with closer Braden Looper.

Looper worked the final three outs for his 20th save. Bell pitched two innings for his first major league win.

The Nationals had won nine straight series at RFK Stadium, dating to April 25-27, when Philadelphia took two of three games.

The Mets tied it at 2-all off Tony Armas Jr. in the fourth when Piazza doubled home Beltran, who had singled.

The Nationals had their chances to retake the lead, loading the bases with two outs in the fifth before Carlos Baerga swung at a borderline 3-2 pitch and grounded out to starter Kris Benson. In the ninth, Washington failed after putting two on with one out.

The only time from the fifth through the 10th that a Mets runner reached second was in the eighth, when Hector Carrasco walked Cameron, who advanced on a wild pitch but was stranded.

Washington took a 2-1 lead in the third on Jose Vidro’s two-run double off Benson.

The Mets pushed across their first run in the first inning without a hit. Armas started leadoff hitter Jose Reyes with two strikes, then threw four straight balls. Reyes stole second, moved to third on Cameron’s sacrifice bunt, and scored on Beltran’s groundout to short.

Both starters went seven solid innings and allowed two runs. Benson gave up seven hits and two walks and struck out six, while Armas allowed four hits and one walk while striking out three. Armas retired 11 of his last 12 batters.

Notes: There was a moment of silence after the sixth inning for the victims of Thursday’s attacks in London. Nationals spokesman John Dever said the team was in contact with Major League Baseball security and local law enforcement officials before the game to discuss tightening security. … The announced attendance was 44,492, just short of capacity, although the stands did not appear to be that full. … RHP Pedro Martinez pulled out of the All-Star game because he’s scheduled to start for the Mets on Sunday. … Guillen was taken out of the starting lineup a little more than an hour before the game with what the team said was bronchitis. He pinch-hit in the ninth with one out and two on and flied to center. “I have a cold. I have a fever,” Guillen said before the game. “I felt like this for the past three days. It just got worse.”

AP-ES-07-07-05 1649EDT


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