Four hits for Harper in win

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Photo - NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 11:  Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals hits an RBI single in front of Josh Thole #30 of the New York Mets during a game at Citi Field on September 11, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 11: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals hits an RBI single in front of Josh Thole #30 of the New York Mets during a game at Citi Field on September 11, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Sports,MLB,Nationals

Nationals hand Dickey his fifth loss of the year

NEW YORK -- Bryce Harper had his first four-hit game and pinch-hitter Tyler Moore launched a go-ahead homer off R.A. Dickey in the seventh inning to send the Washington Nationals past the punchless New York Mets 5-3 on Tuesday night.

Harper doubled and singled twice off Dickey after the teen star entered 0-for-10 with six strikeouts against the knuckleballer. Leadoff batter Jayson Werth reached base all five times for the NL East leaders, who have won seven straight and 11 of 12 at Citi Field.

MAGIC NUMBERS
13 The Nationals' magic number to win the NL East
8 The Nationals' magic number to clinch a playoff spot.

Looking for a win over baseball's top team to boost his Cy Young Award resume, Dickey (18-5) mostly pitched out of trouble for seven solid innings. But he gave up a two-run shot to Moore that made it 3-2 in the seventh and was unable to tie Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez for the major league lead in wins.

Gonzalez beat the Mets 5-1 in the series opener Monday. Not surprisingly, Dickey got little help from his teammates at the plate.

The fading Mets, losers of five in a row and seven of eight, set a club record by failing to score more than three runs for the 12th consecutive home game. The last time they managed four runs at Citi Field was Aug. 12 in a 6-5 win over Atlanta.

New York has dropped 21 of its last 25 in Queens and is 0-5 on a six-game homestand against Atlanta and Washington.

The Nationals improved to 13-4 against the Mets this season. Tom Gorzelanny (4-2) worked a hitless sixth in relief of a shaky Jordan Zimmermann, who labored through 104 pitches over five innings.

Christian Garcia struck out three of his four batters and Tyler Clippard allowed a solo homer to pinch-hitter Scott Hairston in the ninth before securing his 31st save in 34 attempts.

Harper and Kurt Suzuki each had an RBI single in the ninth for Washington (88-54).

After going an absurd 110 straight innings at home without scoring more than one run, the Mets finally put up a crooked number in the fifth.

Ruben Tejada singled for the third time and scored easily from first when Daniel Murphy's slicing double took an odd carom off the retaining wall in medium left field. Murphy clapped his hands at second base, Dickey cheered from the dugout and then David Wright grounded an RBI single under the glove of a diving Ian Desmond at shortstop.

Suddenly given a 2-1 lead, Dickey soon gave it back. Suzuki singled with one out in the seventh and Moore drove the next pitch to left for his ninth home run in 138 at-bats this season.

Harper shortened his big swing against Dickey, hitting the ball on the ground all four times. After fouling off a bunt attempt, the 19-year-old rookie chopped a double inside third base to set up Ryan Zimmerman's sacrifice fly in the first.

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