7,649: Harris’ diving catch in 9th robs Mets of walk-off win

Walk-off denied

Willy Tavares’s four RBI day, a seven-strikeout relief effort by Washington’s Tyler Clippard and a ninth-inning diving catch by Willie Harris gave the Nationals to a 4-3 win over the New York Mets at Citi Field on Saturday.

Rod Barajas lined what appeared to be a bases-loaded, two-out game-winning hit in the ninth, but Harris, the left fielder, made an incredible diving catch to end the comeback effort and the game.

Mets starter Oliver Perez was a bit inconsistent, giving up four runs on four hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings, while striking out six. He retired the side in the first and third innings, but yielded two runs in both the second and fourth innings.

Perez lost his no-hitter in the second on a Josh Willingham single, bumping our NoNoHitters.com count to 7,649 New York Mets games without a no-no. Willy Taveras drove in Willigham and Pudge Rodriguez that inning with a two-RBI triple to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead.

The Mets got both runs back in the bottom half of the inning on RBIs from the eighth and ninth spots, with Henry Blanco driving in Jason Bay with a sacrifice fly, and Perez helping his cause with an RBI single.

Taveras got his third and fourth RBIs on the day with a fourth inning single, and the Mets got one back in the fifth when Fernando Tatis scored Bay with an RBI single.

The Mets also got close to tying the game was in the eighth, when Luis Castillo led off with a slow-rolling single to right and Fernando Tatis moved him over to second with a sacrifice bunt. But Clippard fanned Frank Catalanotto and Angel Pagan to keep the one-run lead that Nats starter Jon Lannan built.

Jose Reyes led off the ninth with a line-drive single up the middle off closer Matt Capps, Alex Cora sacrificed him over and David Wright drew a walk, but Bay struck out on three pitches. Jeff Francoeur then drew a walk to load the bases before Barajas was robbed of his walk-off celebration.

The Mets left 12 runners on base.

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