7:32 PM PDT, August 18, 2012
Jonathon Niese pitched into the eighth inning and Ike Davis hit a two-run homer in the seventh to lead the New York Mets over the Washington Nationals 2-0 Saturday night.
Nationals starter Edwin Jackson allowed one hit through six innings — a triple to Mike Baxter in the first — and struck out a season-high 10. In the seventh, Jackson (7-8) issued a leadoff walk to David Wright and Davis drove the next pitch the other way to left field for his 22nd home run.
Seventeen of his 22 homers have come on the road, most in the NL.
Niese (10-6) allowed one-out singles to Danny Espinosa and Ryan Zimmerman in the first. With Espinosa on third, Zimmerman stole second, but the left-hander pitched out of trouble.
After allowing a leadoff single to Espinosa in the sixth, Niese retired the last seven batters he faced. Jon Rauch relieved him with one out in the eighth and retired his only two hitters. Frank Francisco worked a perfect ninth for his 20th save in 23 chances.
Francisco was helped by right fielder Mike Baxter’s nice running catch of Zimmerman’s fly ball to start the ninth.
Niese, who is 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA in six games against Washington, allowed five hits and struck out seven without a walk. New York posted its 11th shutout of the season, while Washington was blanked for the fifth time.
Jackson pitched seven innings, allowing two runs and two hits. He walked one and struck out 11.
The Nationals began the game leading the NL East by four games over Atlanta. The two teams begin a three-game series Monday in Washington.
Notes: Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he would give SS Ian Desmond the day off Sunday. Desmond returned Friday from more than three weeks on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle. ... For the 500th straight time, the character portraying Teddy Roosevelt lost in the Nationals’ “Racing Presidents” mascot race. ... The crowd of 42,662 was the second-largest in Nationals Park history.