Outburst, homers boost Nats

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Wilson connected first, sending a 1-0 pitch from Kris Benson deep down the left-field line for his 23rd homer. Castilla then crushed Benson’s next pitch over the 410-foot sign in center field, the kind of shot rarely seen at RFK Stadium but a welcome sight for the Nationals at Shea.

“That was a real good pick-me-up,” starter Esteban Loaiza said. “We’re still battling hard, trying to climb up on the lead in the division or the wild card. We’re playing good ball right now. We’re not giving up.”

Loaiza (11-10) himself battled to earn this win. He surrendered a run in the first and two more in the fourth but shut the Mets down after that and departed following the seventh having struck out five and walked none.

Two of Robinson’s workhorses from the bullpen then finished things off. Gary Majewski came back after a two-inning stint the night before to retire the side in the eighth. Chad Cordero pitched the ninth for his 46th save, though it didn’t come without a moment of trepidation.

Cliff Floyd led off the inning by popping up just right of the pitching mound. Cordero, Castilla and Nick Johnson converged, then all watched as the ball fell to the ground. No matter, Cordero got David Wright to ground into a double play, then got Mike Piazza to fly out to end yet another strange Nationals ballgame.

“Come to the ballpark,” Robinson said. “Expect something to happen.”

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