- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 27, 2010

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. | Ryota Igarashi blew a one-run lead in the eighth inning and Kiko Calero gave up a two-run homer to Alberto Gonzalez in the top of the 10th Saturday, giving the Washington Nationals a 7-5 victory over the New York Mets.

Luis Castillo hit a three-run homer in the seventh to give the Mets a 5-4 lead but the bullpen could not protect the lead.

Calero, who signed a minor league deal with the Mets after going 2-2 with a 1.95 ERA with the Marlins in 2009, allowed his second game-winning homer in a week. Last Saturday, he gave up a walkoff homer in a 6-5 loss to the Cardinals.

“In the first inning I felt pretty good,” Calero said. “The second inning, I haven’t done that in a long time. I threw, like, 10 pitches to the first batter and after that I felt a little out of gas. But hey, you have to be ready.”

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Igarashi, who signed a two-year, $3 million contract in December, struggled again Saturday and has an ERA of 5.40 this spring.

Mets third baseman David Wright went 3 for 3 with a double and two RBIs and a stolen base — his third this spring.

“It’s good to see the results, but there is still some work to be done between now and opening day,” Wright said. “You go out with a good approach and you get good results.”

Craig Stammen tossed five innings of two-run ball for the Nationals, lowering his spring ERA to 3.14. Matt Capps threw a scoreless inning and Miguel Batista pitched two hitless innings of relief, striking out one.

Mets starter Hisanori Takahashi gave up four runs — his first of the spring — and four hits in three innings.

Nationals catcher Pudge Rodriguez had an RBI double in the second, before the Nationals touched Takahashi for three runs in the third.

Adam Dunn had an RBI double and Josh Willingham added a two-run double in the inning off Takahashi, who walked one and struck out three.

Takahashi, a starter most of his career in Japan, is trying to make the Mets as a second left-handed arm out of the bullpen.

“I made good pitches and I made some bad, bad pitches,” Takahashi said through an interpreter.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel said despite his struggles Saturday, the 34-year-old, who is in camp on a minor league deal, still has a good chance of making the team.

“He throws strikes,” Manuel said. “And, I like the fact that he mixes his pitches very well.”

Mets shortstop Jose Reyes ramped up his rehab program again Saturday, working out on the back fields for nearly three hours. Reyes ran sprints, took grounders and did some baserunning with his teammates.

The Mets’ shortstop said he continues to feel strong after missing three weeks of camp due to an overactive thyroid.

“Running-wise it’s good,” Reyes said. “Now it’s just getting the timing in my swing. Everything else is good.”

Manuel said the Mets will continue to increase Reyes’ workload, while monitoring how he feels each day before making a decision on when he might play.

Carlos Beltran, who hopes to return to the Mets’ lineup sometime in May after having offseason knee surgery, said he continues to be pain-free during his rehabilitation.

“I feel good,” Beltran said. “I’m still following the program. In April I will get back to doing baseball activities. Compared to how I felt before, I do feel the difference since the surgery.”

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