NEW YORK (AP) —Jonathon Niese pitched seven sharp innings, some of them in heavy rain, and Justin Turner added to his surprising tear with a two-run double that sent the New York Mets to a 3-0 victory over the light-hitting Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.
With maybe a few thousand hardy souls in the stands on another wet night at Citi Field, the Mets' depleted lineup scratched out enough offense to help Niese (3-4) win his second consecutive start.
David Wright, Ike Davis and Angel Pagan, New York won for the eighth time in 12 games and tied Washington for fourth place in the NL East.
Jason Bay had a sacrifice fly in the first inning and Turner cracked a two-out double in the sixth to chase Tom Gorzelanny (2-3) after 116 pitches. Jose Reyes singled three times, drew an intentional walk and scored twice from his leadoff spot.
With deep puddles forming on the infield, Jason Isringhausen worked a one-hit eighth and Francisco Rodriguez got three outs for his 13th save in 14 chances. K-Rod blew his first opportunity of the season, but has tossed 17 shutout innings dating to April 17.
With two on, he retired pinch-hitter Laynce Nix and then Roger Bernadina on consecutive flyouts to left.
New York allowed eight hits in its first shutout this season. Washington was blanked for the sixth time.
Quiet nights at the plate are nothing new for the Nationals. They began the day ranked last in the NL in batting average (.225), on-base percentage (.298), slugging (.348), hits (302), total bases (467) and doubles (57).
Both teams were rained out Tuesday night — the Nationals at home against Pittsburgh, and the Mets at home against the Marlins. That came after New York and Florida played through the mist on a muddy track Monday night.
The announced attendance Wednesday was 24,527, but nearly all the seats were empty and hecklers could be heard from the stands.
After some torrential rain in the afternoon, the heavy stuff stopped in time to start the game on time — with no more than a couple hundred fans in the ballpark. The grounds crew worked hard between innings all night to try to dry out the infield and it was absolutely pouring when Bernadina grounded out with the bases loaded to end the seventh.
Still, play went on without interruption.
Niese gave up six hits and one walk, striking out seven. The left-hander threw 72 of 112 pitches for strikes.
Reyes hit a leadoff single in the first, went to third on Turner's double and scored on Bay's sacrifice fly.
Scott Hairston reached on an infield single to start the sixth, easily beating a throw from his brother, Jerry, at third base. With two outs and first base open, Reyes was intentionally walked to bring up Turner. He doubled to center over the head of the speedy Bernadina, who was playing awfully shallow.
Before that hit, New York was 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
Turner, called up from the minors last month to share playing time at second base, has provided an offensive spark. He shifted to third base Wednesday to fill in for Wright and began the day hitting .370 with nine RBIs in his last eight games.
He hit his first major league homer and drove in a career-best five runs Sunday in Houston to lead the Mets to a victory.
NOTES: Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said RHP Stephen Strasburg is preparing to throw off a mound "any day now," the next step in his recovery from Sept. 3 elbow surgery. ... Washington OF Rick Ankiel (right wrist) is close to beginning a minor league rehab assignment and could be back in about a week. ... As planned, the Mets put Wright (lower back) on the 15-day DL, retroactive to May 16, and called up 1B-OF Nick Evans from Triple-A Buffalo.