Nationals pulling away from Mets

NEW YORK - We’re in the bottom of the eighth inning here, and the Nationals are facing the prospect of winning their first game this year that wouldn’t require a save situation. They lead the Mets 6-2 in the eighth inning, after adding three in the top of the eighth.

Ivan Rodriguez got his first hit of the year, taking a single the other way to drive in two with the bases loaded. Manager Jim Riggleman said this morning the catcher has been working on hitting the ball to right field, and it paid off for him with the Mets’ middle infielders opening a big hole between first and second.

The Nationals have drawn nine walks today, and two of the runs in the eighth came from walks.

Now, to put this in perspective, it took the Nationals until their sixth win (and 11th game) of the season to win a game without a save, and only three of their 13 wins last April were in non-save situations - it’s a big part of the reason Matt Capps landed in the All-Star Game. This isn’t a team built to win many games comfortably, but they have a chance to do so today.

Todd Coffey is warming up for the ninth inning, and it’s likely the Nationals would save Sean Burnett unless Coffey gets into trouble. But if things hold up, the Nationals will have their first win streak, and pull within a game of .500.