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Washington Nationals top New York Mets in series opener

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washington nationalsA.J. Cole earned his first Major League win, and the Washington Nationals have a double-digit lead over the New York Mets in the NL East after a 4-1 win Friday night.

Cole (1-1, 3.86 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) allowed one run on three hits in six innings, striking out five and walking two.

Four Nats (79-55) relievers limited the Mets to two baserunners in three innings of work. Mark Melancon (38 saves, 1.28 ERA, 0.91 WHIP) got the last three outs.

Bryce Harper (.252/.383/.479, 23 HR, 76 RBI) was 2-for-3 with a sac-fly RBI in the first. Wilson Ramos (.314/.361/.508, 20 HR, 72 RBI) had an RBI single in the fourth to score Harper, and Anthony Rendon (.274/.353/.454, 16 HR, 64 RBI) added a two-run single in the ninth to provide some needed insurance.

Noah Syndergaard (12-8, 2.56 ERA, 1.11 WHIP) took the loss for the Mets (69-66), giving up two runs on three hits in seven innings of work.

The win reduces Washington’s magic number to clinch the NL East to 18.

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