New York Mets defeat Washington Nationals, 7-2

WASHINGTON - Jerry Manuel had joked that he would let Johan Santana's pitch count rise to 170 if it meant avoiding drama with the bullpen.

No need. For a change, the Mets had a stress-free victory. Honest.

Brian Schneider belted two homers and Santana took a scoreless effort into the seventh as the Mets salvaged a four-game split with an atypically comfy 7-2 win over the Nationals Thursday night.

The Mets (86-57) remained a half-game behind victorious Philadelphia...