Washington Nationals defeat New York Mets, 7-2

WASHINGTON - Not again.

The Mets lost to the Nationals, 7-2, Monday night and watched their division lead sliced to just a half-game over the idle Phillies. Sound familiar?

You can't just blame the bullpen for this one, either.

The Mets mustered just one hit in seven innings against Long Island's John Lannan. Pedro Martinez surrendered four runs in six innings in his first game in eight days. Duaner Sanchez, who entered with two out and none on in the seventh, ens...

WASHINGTON - Jerry Manuel is sticking with Luis Ayala as his closer, but on a much shorter leash after the righthander blew his second save in nine chances Sunday against the Braves. The interim manager said he'd have other options warming in the bullpen and quickly yank Ayala if trouble arises rather than live or die with the ex-National like he would have with Billy Wagner.

Displeased with the bullpen's performance, Manuel planned to have hard-throwing rookie Bobby Pa...