Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mets Squander Opportunity

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mets Squander Opportunity

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - In these final weeks of the regular season, Terry Collins has allowed his eyes to wander toward the scoreboard. He has preached for weeks that his team can focus only on its own results, but now he checks to see how the Cardinals and Giants are faring.

It allows the Mets manager and his players to stomach losses such as Wednesday's 1-0 defeat to the Nationals a little easier when they know the other teams in the wild card chase didn't gain any ground.

"We caught up a lot in the last couple of weeks where we got ourselves right where we need to be. Today is tough when the other two teams lose, but they're saying the same thing," Collins said. "We've got a chance to do some damage if we take care of our own business."

The Mets missed a chance for their seventh straight series win. Jay Bruce defused a bases-loaded rally in the first by striking out for the second out, and Fernando Salas allowed a homer to Wilson Ramos in the seventh.

Robert Gsellman tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings and the Mets (77- 69) remained a half-game ahead of St. Louis for the second wild card spot. They fell 10 behind Washington in the division.

"We have to play good baseball here," Bruce said. "Not worry or focus on what anybody else is doing. We have a wild card spot now. We keep playing good baseball and I think we'll be fine."

Losing two of three games to the Nationals may be nothing more than a temporary speed bump, but this series could have been a great three days. The Giants, a half-game ahead of the Mets, were swept by the Padres, while the Cardinals dropped two of three to the Cubs.

New York had a chance early to take command of Wednesday's game, but Bruce continued his struggles here and the team never threatened again.

Bruce stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out against Tanner Roark, and struck out on three pitches He swung at the first two pitches, both of which he called borderline, then looked at a third strike on a two-seam fastball that cut back over the plate and caught the corner. …

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