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Washington Nationals beat New York Mets, 6-4, move into second place in NL East

Mets starter Mike Pelfrey threw 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and seven hits, with three walks and six strikeouts.

Instead, Stammen made his mark at the plate, driving in a career-high three runs, the most ever in a game by a Nationals pitcher. (Guillermo Mota hit a three-run homer on June 9, 1999, as a reliever with the Expos in a win over the Boston Red Sox.)

"It kept me in the game; it kept met from getting a loss today," Stammen said of his performance at the plate. "Guess that's why we don't have a DH in the National League."

In the second inning, Stammen pulled a two-run single down the third base line to score Adam Dunn and Cristian Guzm?n. Stammen drove in another run in the fourth, slapping a single that skipped past the Mets' infielders as Wil Nieves scored, giving the Nationals a 4-2 lead.

Stammen's shaky start put reliever Tyler Clippard in position for his seventh win, a mark that leads the majors. Clippard pitched one flawless inning in the eighth with the score tied at 4-4.

Asked to estimate his final win total, Clippard replied with a smile and lighthearted humor. "I'll say 40 to 45," Clippard said. "Why not?"

But the day was highlighted by Bernadina's display. A rangy athlete with a powerful bat, he appears to have all the tools, but he missed time last year with a broken ankle.

When he was recalled from Class AAA Syracuse on April 27, Bernadina was one of the hottest hitters in the minor leagues. But in the majors, he has had difficulty identifying pitches to hit.

More recently, he said, he has started to feel confidence. The Nationals have in essence made Bernadina their everyday right fielder, except when facing left-handed hitters. And with his impressive show here, perhaps Bernadina has turned a corner.

"It's one game; it's not a breakout," Riggleman said. "But it could be the start of something good."

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