- Associated Press - Monday, July 20, 2015

Clint Robinson’s two-run double to deep center was the biggest blow as the Washington Nationals jumped on New York Mets starter Matt Harvey for five runs in the first three innings and won, 7-2.

A day after leaving 25 men on base and going 1-for-26 with runners in scoring position in an 18-inning road victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, the Mets‘ troubled offense left 10 men on and went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Indeed, it was Harvey (8-7) who drove in both of New York’s runs with a bases-loaded single in the fourth inning off Gio Gonzalez (7-4).

Dialing up his fastball to 99 mph, Harvey retired the last 14 batters he faced after his rocky beginning. He wound up going seven innings, charged with five runs — four earned — and five hits.

Gonzalez allowed two runs and six hits in six innings. He got help from center fielder Michael A. Taylor, who made a long run for a nice grab of Eric Campbell’s fly ball before bumping into the out-of-town video scoreboard to end the fifth inning with two men aboard.

Robinson, starting at first base for the injured Ryan Zimmerman, drove the ball over the head of center fielder Juan Lagares in a three-run third that also included Mets third baseman Daniel Murphy’s bad throw for his second error of the game.

Zimmerman is one of four everyday Nationals currently on the disabled list, along with left fielder Jayson Werth, infielder Anthony Rendon and center fielder Denard Span.

In the first, Yunel Escobar delivered an RBI single after one of Bryce Harper’s two walks. Later, on a pitch in the dirt, Harper took off from second and kept going, scoring while Escobar got caught in a rundown.

Ian Desmond tacked on a two-run home run off Mets reliever Alex Torres in the eighth.

Mets manager Terry Collins aligned his rotation to have his top pitchers face Washington, and he didn’t try to hide how important he believes this matchup is. The Nationals opened the series two games ahead of the Mets.

“We’re trying to catch these guys, so it’s big,” Collins said. “It’s big for us.”

Reigning National League Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom (9-6, 2.14 ERA) will make his first appearance for the Mets since his terrific All-Star Game outing of three strikeouts on only 10 pitches. In three career starts against the Nationals, the righty is 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA.

The Nationals plan to call up rookie right-hander Joe Ross (2-1, 2.66) for his fourth major-league start.

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