Jackson brilliant, but it’s not enough

When your pitcher goes out and dominates the opposition the way Edwin Jackson dominated the Mets tonight, you’d like to see that guy get rewarded with a win.

That didn’t happen, which will eat at the Nationals’ hitters a little bit.

“That’s about as good as we’ve seen him,” Adam LaRoche said of Jackson. “Sucks to waste it like that.”

Entering tonight’s game, the Nationals had scored the most runs of any team in the majors since the All-Star break, so they won’t hang their heads for too long. Given the way they’ve played lately, they’re allowed a stinker every now and then. It’s just unfortunate that Jackson had to get stuck with a loss after striking out 11 and really making just one mistake over seven fantastic innings.

“He probably threw less bad pitches than (Mets starter Jon) Niese,” LaRoche said. “I mean hittable pitches. And one of them happened to leave the park. It’s tough. (It would) be nice to get him some runs. Didn’t work out. Get ‘em tomorrow.”

Jackson wasn’t willing to congratulate himself for a strong start after the game, instead focusing on the end result.

“At the end of the day, the result’s not what we wanted. So it pretty much doesn’t matter,” Jackson said. “It’s good to come out and pitch good. But at the end of the day, the objective is for the team to win the game.

“Tonight, Niese was the better pitcher. He came out and held us scoreless and their bullpen did the same. I gave up two runs and we lost. At the end of the day, it was a battle. We continue to fight. We hit the ball hard. They just hit the ball hard.”

Niese got out of a jam in the first, stranding runners at second and third, and also left a runner in scoring position in the fourth and fifth innings. But the Nats never really mounted any serious threats after that first inning, largely because Niese’s control allowed him to avoid the middle of the plate for much of the night.

“We were hoping to get Niese out of there and get into that bullpen,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “That was kind of the goal at the beginning. When you get a guy rolling like that, it’s tough. You just try to break up his rhythm. Get a hit here and there. We had a couple chances to score, but not many overall. We were pretty much shut down all night. So were they for the most part.”

Zimmerman did strike one ball pretty well - a liner to the corner in right leading off the bottom of the ninth which initially looked like it would drop, bringing the potential game-tying run to the plate with no outs.

Instead, Mets right fielder Mike Baxter, who was playing pretty deep and a few steps towards the line on the play, drifted back to make a running catch right up against the wall.

“I have no idea where he was playing and why he was playing there,” a befuddled Zimmerman said. “Two-nothing, I don’t know why you would play no-doubles. It’s a good catch. But I really don’t know why he was there. But he got me out, so it worked.”

In a sense, that play just kind of summed up the night for the Nats, who couldn’t catch a break against Mets pitching.

“Yeah. Line drive that would have hit the wall right on the foul line and he didn’t even have to dive to catch it,” Zimmerman said. “But I guess whatever they were dong worked because they got me out.”

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