NEW YORK — The Washington Nationals won with Jordan Zimmermann on the mound for a ninth straight start, getting a two-run homer from Wilson Ramos in the seventh inning of a 3-0 victory over the New York Mets on Sept. 14.
Zimmermann allowed six hits and a walk in outpitching Jonathon Niese for 6 2-3 innings, helping Washington reduce its magic number for winning a second division title in three years to five.
Drew Storen gave up two hits in the ninth but got Juan Lagares to fly to right, finishing the eight-hitter for his fifth save.
Washington’s ninth win in 10 games this season at Citi Field eliminated the Mets from the division race with 12 games to go. New York had won eight of 10 before the Nationals took three of four in this series.
Zimmermann (11-5) hit two batters to up the total hit batsmen in the four-game series to nine, one shy of the record set last year in a series between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, according to STATS. The right-hander nailed Eric Young Jr. and Lucas Duda but still won his sixth consecutive decision.
The Nationals had never won nine straight outings by one starter — three of those wins came against the Mets. Washington improved to 13-3 against New York this season.
Ramos followed Bryce Harper’s third sacrifice bunt of the year with a soaring drive beyond the 390-foot mark in right-center for his 10th homer.
The Nationals have outhomered the Mets 25-7 this season with three games left, Sept 23-25 in Washington.
The Mets had plenty of chances against the stingy Zimmermann, going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Their best opportunity came in the fourth, when they loaded the bases with one out. But Ruben Tejada lined out to the shortstop and Niese fouled out to third base on the ninth pitch of the at-bat.
Niese (8-11) struck out the side after that grueling trip to the plate and fanned seven overall. Slowed by shoulder problems in the second half, the left-hander gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings.
The Nationals added a run in the ninth when Danny Espinosa, who walked, was caught in a run down between first and second. Second baseman Wilmer Flores lost the ball as he slapped a tag on Espinosa and Ian Desmond raced home from third.
(HOWIE RUMBERG, AP Sports Writer)