Mets 4

(15-8, 6-6 away)

Nationals 3

(11-13, 7-4 home)

    7:05 PM ET, March 29, 2005

    Space Coast Stadium, Melbourne, Florida 

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    NYM 010001002 4 - -
    WAS 01010100 - 3 - -

    New York 4, Washington 3

    VIERA, Fla. (AP) -- The Washington Nationals began Tuesday by settling on their pitching staff and shaking up their lineup. They ended it with the bullpen blowing a lead, the offense still struggling and a sixth straight loss.

    New York's Miguel Cairo and Luis Garcia hit solo home runs off Antonio Osuna in the ninth inning, and the Mets came back to beat the Nationals 4-3.

    Osuna came on in relief of starter Tomo Ohka in the eighth with a 3-2 lead and retired the first four batters he faced. But Cairo tied it by driving a 2-0 pitch over the left-field wall, and one batter later, Garcia put New York ahead with a shot to nearly the same spot.

    Washington has scored a total of 14 runs in its past seven games.

    "We saw a couple of better at-bats, but overall, we're not clicking on all cylinders," manager Frank Robinson said. "We just don't have our people swinging their bats the way they're capable of swinging them."

    Washington's Terrmel Sledge hit a two-run homer in the sixth on a 2-0 pitch from Heath Bell, and Brad Wilkerson hit a solo shot off Mets starter Mike Matthews with one out in the second inning for his team-leading fourth homer of the spring.

    Sledge could be a beneficiary of Tuesday's surprise roster move: Endy Chavez, expected to start in center field and lead off, was sent to Triple-A New Orleans. Robinson said he'll tinker with his lineup until he find something that works.

    "Right now, we're in a little slump, but we'll turn it around soon," Sledge said.

    Ryan Church started in center Tuesday and went 0-for-4. Sledge, slated as the fourth outfielder, came on in the fifth and went 1-for-2. He's hitting .277.

    "Whatever role they want me. Wherever they think I'm best, I'll do it," Sledge said.

    Washington also optioned right-handers Gary Majewski and Jon Rauch to the minors, finalizing the 11-man pitching staff and getting the roster down to 26 players, one over the limit.

    Ohka went seven innings, his longest outing of the spring, and looked good, giving up two runs on four hits and striking out three. He threw 81 pitches, 52 for strikes, allowing David Wright's RBI double in the second and Chris Woodward's solo homer to left-center in the sixth.

    Game notes

    Five-time All-Star Andres Galarraga retired after a subpar spring training with the Mets, leaving him one homer shy of 400 for his career. The 43-year-old first baseman signed a minor league deal with New York after making his second successful return from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma last season. ... The Mets acquired three players: INF Benji Gil came from the Mariners for cash, INF Wilson Valdez was claimed off waivers from the White Sox, and free-agent catcher Kelly Stinnett signed a minor league contract. Stinnett started Tuesday and went 0-for-2. ... Washington hired Jim Clarke as its public address announcer after tryouts last week. Clarke was the New Orleans Saints' stadium announcer from 1990-96.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press