- Associated Press - Friday, September 12, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - Facing a first-place team brought out the worst in the New York Mets.

Bartolo Colon was ejected in the fourth inning after hitting his second batter of the game - both immediately after home runs - and the Mets made a series of deflating gaffes in a 6-2 loss to the Washington Nationals on Thursday night that left them beaten and bruised.

“We’re running a young team out there, and it may stay young,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “We’ve still got to fight through it, but a little anger doesn’t hurt either.”

Travis d’Arnaud lost track of the outs and was doubled up on a soft pop by Dilson Herrera in the second inning.

A mix-up on coverage at second by Herrera and shortstop Wilmer Flores on a third-inning comebacker led to a throwing error by Colon (13-12) and an unearned run.

With the Mets trailing 6-1, Eric Young Jr. was thrown out when he tried to go from first to third on an errant pickoff throw by Tanner Roark.

And Daniel Murphy left the game after he was hit on the left wrist by a pitch from Matt Thornton in the eighth. X-rays were negative.

“I was kind of afraid to look at it,” said Murphy, who didn’t think it was intentional.

He could be out of the lineup for a few days.

“Very, very swelled up,” Collins said.

D’Arnaud was taken out after four innings because of a wrist problem that Collins wouldn’t specify - not even which wrist.

“I’m trying to keep it from being national news,” the manager said.

D’Arnaud blamed himself for the double play - he thought there were two outs.

“It’s that simple,” he said.

On Colon’s throwing error, Collins faulted Herrera, who made his big league debut on Aug. 29.

“That was Dilson’s bag at the time,” he said. “Nobody realizes how athletic Bartolo can be, and he’s so quick and Dilson just never got there.”

Adam LaRoche and Anthony Rendon hit two-run homers off Colon, and the Nationals won their 12th straight at Citi Field. Washington improved to 26-4 at Citi Field since September 2011, outscoring the Mets 156-68 and outhomering them 49-18 in that span.

LaRoche had three RBIs, including a first-inning homer against Colon that clanked high off the right-field foul pole. He has 28 home runs against the Mets.

After LaRoche’s homer, Colon hit Ian Desmond with a pitch near the waist two pitches later. Rendon’s homer in the fourth made it 6-0, a drive that struck the orange line atop the left-field wall, ricocheted off the dark green railing behind, hit back off the orange line and bounded onto the field.

The play was upheld on a video review, and Colon hit Jayson Werth above the left elbow with the next pitch. Werth looked out toward the mound, and plate umpire John Tumpane ejected the pitcher. Collins came out of the dugout to speak with Tumpane, and he also was ejected.

“I think I didn’t do anything wrong,” Colon said through a translator. “I was surprised they threw me out of the game.”

New York had entered with four straight wins, tying its season high, and a 19-inning scoreless streak by its pitchers. But Colon allowed six runs - five earned - seven hits and two walks in three-plus innings. Colon has a 7.07 ERA in the first inning this year, allowing 22 earned runs and 38 hits in 28 innings.

Roark (13-10) gave up two runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings to win four the first time in four starts since Aug. 20. After Herrera’s RBI single in the seventh, Craig Stammen relieved with the bases loaded and got Flores to hit into an inning-ending double play.

With the bases loaded in the eighth, Lucas Duda lined out against Thornton, and Tyler Clippard struck out Anthony Recker.

“We’ve got to play better. That’s the only reason they’re beating us at home. We’re just not playing,” Collins said. “Tonight we had several opportunities to get back in the game, and we didn’t do anything.”

REMEMBERING

Only 2,000 to 3,000 fans were in the stands during the pregame ceremony marking the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Washington wore its alternate dark road jerseys with a stars and stripes curly “W,” and during batting practice the Mets wore hats of the New York police and fire department and other services. While the announced attendance was 21,111, it appeared less than half that amount was in the stands.

ON THE OFFENSE

Anthony Recker has homered in three straight games - the others were Aug. 31 and Sunday. … Bobby Abreu hit an eighth-inning single, ending an 0-for-22 slide as a pinch hitter.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: OF Matt den Dekker missed his second straight start after being hit by a pitch on his left hand Tuesday but pinch ran for Murphy in the eighth.

UP NEXT

LHP Gio Gonzalez is slated to start for Washington on Friday and RHP Dillon Gee for New York.

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