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01-13-2018, 12:15 AM
WASHINGTON -- Dillon Gee lost track of the count and pulled off a bad acting job that fooled his own manager. Daniel Murphy didnt stop running from second on a groundball to third, scoring the crucial insurance run. Bryce Harper failed to hustle on a grounder, prompting the substitute manger to proclaim: "Its something weve got to fix." Such little dramas make for fascinating baseball, enough to make the New York Mets 3-2 win over the Washington Nationals on Friday night something more than a playing-out-the-string team beating one trying to keep faint hopes alive. Gee (10-9) mastered the Nationals the way he always does, allowing six hits and two solo home runs over 7 2-3 innings and outdueling Jordan Zimmermann (15-8) as the Mets won for only the third time in nine games. Gee is 7-2 lifetime against Washington. His weird moment came when he flexed his arm awkwardly after a pitch to Ian Desmond in the seventh inning. The manager and trainer rushed onto the field, only to learn that Gee had lost track of the count. Gee thought he had struck out Desmond and was genuflecting to save face after realizing there were only two strikes. "I feel bad. I felt like an idiot out there," Gee said. "I tried to play it off and played it off the wrong way and then they come out. It was just a disaster." Gee then got Desmond to swing at a low pitch for strike three. It was Murphys hustle that gave the Mets a 3-1 lead in the eighth. On second base after a two-out double, he didnt slow down after Andrew Brown hit a smash down the line. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman made the stop, but he unwisely uncorked a no-hope throw to first on the run. Adam LaRoche couldnt field the short hop, allowing Murphy to score easily while Brown got credit for a single and an RBI. "Coming around third there, once I thought Zimmerman was going to throw it to first, and I felt like I could make the play at the plate," Murphy said. "If he puts in his pocket, Im dead." Nationals bench coach Randy Knorr, in charge for most of the game after manager Davey Johnson left the dugout due to illness, couldnt blame Zimmerman for not eating the ball. "In his mind, hes trying to get the out," Knorr said. "I bet hes thinking right now that maybe I shouldve done it that way, but hes made great plays so you cant fault him for that." Knorr had stronger words for Harper, the 20-year-old slugger who came to the plate with men on first and second and two outs in a one-run game. With a 3-0 count against reliever Scott Rice -- and with hot-hitting Jayson Werth on deck -- Harper swung at an inside pitch and fouled it off. Then he swung again at 3-1 -- "probably ball four," he called it -- and hit a grounder to second, where Murphy bobbled the ball but could take his time recovering because Harper wasnt hustling to first. Knorr doesnt fault himself for giving Harper the green light -- and hes fine with Harper swinging at the pitch -- but he wants to see the young slugger run out the grounder. "I dont think he does it intentionally, but hes going to have to start picking it up a little bit because weve got everybody else doing it," Knorr said. "And he gets frustrated at times and it just comes out in him. "Its something that weve got to fix. ... Hes got a lot going on. Its hard for me to say; Im not 20 years old in the big leagues with stuff going on around me. Its something weve got to get to the bottom of, and keep talking to him because eventually were just going to have to take him out of the game." Asked what happened on the play, Harper said: "I have no clue. Groundout to Murphy, hes pretty good over there, so in that situation I think he makes that play every single day." Told what Knorr said about the play, Harper replied: "Ill guess I learn from it." The Nationals, who began the day 6 1/2 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the NLs second wild-card spot, lost for just the second time in 10 games. Gee faced three batters above the minimum through seven innings. The only scoreboard damage came on Wilson Ramos homer to lead off the third and pinch-hitter Steve Lombardozzis two-out solo shot in the eighth. Zimmermann, who remains tied with Adam Wainwright for the NL lead in wins, allowed three runs and six hits over 7 2-3 innings. He didnt allow a hit until Murphys single to lead off the fourth, but that was followed two batters later by Ike Davis opposite-field home run. Notes: Knorr said Johnson left the dugout sometime around the fourth inning. "Hes fine. I think hes coming down with something," Knorr said. "He got a little light-headed, so he just went back upstairs. I think he might be catching a cold or something." ... LaTroy Hawkins pitched the ninth for his sixth save. ... 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We have to fight to the end." Nashville, 10th in the Western Conference, trails eighth-place Phoenix by seven points with five games to play. Hornqvist has 13 points (six goals and seven assists) in his last 10 games. Pekka Rinne stopped 27 shots for the Predators, who led 4-1 after the first period. Rinne tied former Predators goalie Tomas Vokoun for most franchise wins with 161. "It feels great to tie Tomas for most wins; hes had a very successful career," Rinne said. "Ive had up and downs this season but its good to see the crew get the win. Were going to battle to the end." Kyle Palmieri and Daniel Winnik scored for Anaheim. Wilson jammed the puck past Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller for his ninth goal of the season at 5:36 of the first to give the Predators a 1-0 lead. Wilson added his second of the game and 10th of the season when he took advantage of an Anaheim miscue in front of the Ducks net and his backhander made it 2-0 with 7:19 left in the period. "Its good to snap our losing streak against them," Wilson said. "We knew they are never out of a game. Were not out of the playoffs yet. Were looking forward to going into the Shark Tank tomorrow and it will be fun against San Jose." Just 1:11 later, Fisher scooped up a loose puck behind the Ducks net and wrapped it around into an open net past Hiller to make it 3-0. It was Fishers 19th goal of the season. Palmieri got Anaheim on the board with his 13th of the season when he beat Rinne with a wrist shot with 5:00 to go in the first. Hornqvist scored his 18th goal as he drilled it past Hiller 2:05 later to increase Nashvilles lead to 4-1. Hiller, who was playing for the first time in three games, was immediately replaced by rookie Frederik Andersenn following Hornqvsts goal.dddddddddddd Andersen left the game after the second period after suffering an upper body injury. Hiller returned to the net for the third period. The Ducks cut the lead to 4-2 following Winniks fifth goal at 3:18 of the second, but Fisher got his second goal of the game with 4:00 left in the period. "They (Anaheim) are something like plus-36 in the second period, so I was concerned going into the second period," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "Our fifth goal was huge for us. After that, I didnt feel any pressure in the third period." The Ducks, who outshot the Predators 24-16 in the first two periods, had two goals nullified late in the second. "We played a solid defensive game," Trotz said. "We got a couple early goals on Hiller and that helped us. Theres no quit in these guys. They are very professional about their jobs and weve been playing sharper lately." Despite the loss, Anaheim remains atop of the Pacific Division with 108 points, one point ahead of the second-place San Jose with both teams having four games remaining. The Ducks, who completed its three-game homestand on Friday, also trail the Western Conference-leading St. Louis Blues by three points for the overall points lead. Anaheim coach bruce Boudreau said his team has to start playing harder earlier in the game. "We cant let this happen," he said. "We have to find a way. Sometimes, for one reason or another, were not getting the job done early. Were a really good team with the lead, but we just havent had the lead lately. We just didnt answer the bell tonight." Nashville, playing for the first time in five days, climbed out of last place in the Central Division, moving past Winnipeg. The Predators prevented the Ducks from tying a franchise record of 28 home wins and 110 points in a season. NOTES: Friday was the first time the Ducks hosted Nashville since Feb 16, 2013. ... 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