New York Mets defeat Washington Nationals, 4-3

ST. LOUIS - The Mets finally face a lefthanded starter Friday night when the Nationals' Scott Olsen opposes Johan Santana at Citi Field in the opener of a three-game series.

So Jerry Manuel finally gets to fill out a righty-oriented lineup card.

The manager projected that Gary Sheffield and Fernando Tatis will man the corner outfield spots over lefty hitters Ryan Church and Daniel Murphy, although Manuel said "flip a coin" as to which player is assigned which spot. The ...

Once every five days, the Mets are worry-free.

At least Johan Santana makes most of those concerns go away for a few hours.

The lefty ace won't pitch again until Wednesday, but Santana provided another sigh of relief Friday night with his latest lights-out performance in the Mets' slump-stopping 4-3 victory over the lowly Nationals at Citi Field.

Santana's ERA actually ticked upward to 0.70 because he allowed one run - a solo homer to ex-Yankee Nick Johnson - on s...