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Mets win 6 of 8 while Nationals continue to slide

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Still making adjustments after all these
years, Tom Glavine is still picking up wins, too.

Glavine carried a shutout into the sixth inning for his 274th
career win, David Wright's grand slam capped a five-run first off
Livan Hernandez, and the New York Mets beat the Washington
Nationals 5-2 Saturday night.

The Mets (77-77) have won six of their last eight games, and if
they complete a series sweep Sunday, they'll move up to fourth
place in the NL East and drop the Nationals (78-77) into last.

Both teams will be eliminated from playoff contention with one
more loss.

"If there was ever a time I'd like to be going to the playoffs,
it'd be now, the way I'm pitching," said Glavine, who is 2-0 with
a 1.59 ERA his last two starts. "Unfortunately, we may not get
that chance unless something spectacular happens. But there's
obviously satisfaction in the way that I've pitched."

Washington, a loser of six of its past seven, started a lineup
filled with rookies and reserves, and manager Frank Robinson said
before the game that he'll rest most regulars the rest of the way.

That gives room for players such as Ryan Zimmerman, drafted No.
4 overall in June, and now starting for Vinny Castilla at third
base. Zimmerman went 3-for-4, giving him eight hits in the last
three games and putting his average at .483.

"He's very impressive so far," Robinson said, "but three,
four, five ballgames does not make a season."

Glavine relied on just a sinker and curveball much of last
season, but now the 39-year-old lefty is mixing in a lot more. And
he looks more confident.

"His body language is different," said manager Willie
Randolph, ejected along with Jose Reyes in the seventh after the
shortstop struck out. "And that's what happens when you pitch well
and you're producing. And that's the Tommy Glavine I remember for a
lot of years."

Only three pitchers have made more NL starts than Glavine, and
only Roger Clemens and former teammate Greg Maddux have more wins
among active pitchers.

Glavine (12-13) gave up two runs and four hits in eight innings,
retiring 14 straight batters at one point. He also hit two singles,
while taking over sole possession of 29th place on the majors'
career victory list.

Roberto Hernandez pitched the ninth for only his second save in
eight chances.

The evening began bleakly for Washington, when Reyes hit a
sinking ball to left, and rookie outfielder Brandon Watson lost the
ball in the lights, then tried to make a sliding catch but dropped
it. It was a ruled a double, and when Miguel Cairo tried to bunt
Reyes over, Hernandez fielded the ball and threw in time to first.
But Tony Blanco -- a rookie making his first start at first base --
dropped the ball for the first of his two errors.

"I just missed the ball," Blanco said.

Carlos Beltran drove in a run with an infield single, Cliff
Floyd walked to load the bases, and Wright took two balls.

"I needed to come with something in the middle," Hernandez
said, "because I didn't want to walk him."

The result: A 2-0 fastball that Wright drove off the facing of
the mezzanine in left-center for his 22nd homer of the season and
second career grand slam.

"I put a good swing on it," Wright said.

So, 11 minutes and 18 pitches in, it was 5-0. Hernandez (15-9)
left after eight innings, having allowed six hits and four earned
runs.

Glavine gave up two runs in the sixth, which featured
Hernandez's second career triple, when right fielder Anderson
misjudged the ball and stumbled as it sailed past him. Hernandez
slowed to a walk approaching first base, then started running until
he was able to jog into third.

Watson followed with an RBI single. Zimmerman made it 5-2 by
driving a ball off the top of the wall in left for a double, his
second hit off Glavine.

"Just being in the same sentence as him is fun," Zimmerman
said.

Game notes
Nationals first basemen made a total of seven errors in 154
games entering Saturday. Asked whether Blanco will get another
chance, Robinson said: "Next question." ... Blanco's bat sailed
into the stands on a swing-and-miss in the seventh and was caught
by a fan sitting five rows behind the Nationals dugout. The fan
received another bat in exchange, and Blanco got his back to finish
the at-bat.