Hairston’s error helps Mets take lead over Nationals

NEW YORK - In a game where the Nationals and Mets have done most of their damage on balls hit too far to be caught by fielders, the biggest blow could turn out to be a ball that stayed in the park and wasn’t caught by a fielder.

Carlos Beltran, who’d hit homers in his first two at-bats, lofted a deep fly ball to left center in the sixth inning. Jerry Hairston Jr. looked to be in place for an easy catch, but he short-armed his attempt to grab the ball, and it bounced off the end of his glove. David Wright went from first to third on the error, and Beltran went to second. Two batters later, Ike Davis tripled into the cavernous center field here, and the Mets took a 5-4 lead. They added another run on a pair of ground ball base hits off Brian Broderick, and lead 6-4 in the seventh.

Tom Gorzelanny’s first start for the Nationals was an uneven one; he struck out eight batters in 5 1/3 innings, and really only had trouble with Beltran. But he walked two batters and both of them wound up scoring. Right now, that’s the difference in the game; and of course, Hairston’s error is looming large, as well.