Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/23/12

NEW YORK -- One hit came after the other in the top of the 10th inning for Washington, suddenly leaving the New York Mets so far from a win it became hard to see how close they once had been.

Just like the defeats that have piled up recently, Monday night's 8-2 loss to the Washington Nationals left the Mets trying to recognize the team that once threatened to challenge Washington in the NL East.

Instead, the Nationals racked up six runs in the 10th, giving the Mets their second straight meltdown of a loss in extra innings. Washington started the day putting Ian Desmond on the disabled list, but earned its third victory in a row.

The win gave the Nationals a 4 1/2-game cushion over the Atlanta Braves and 9 1/2-game lead over the reeling Mets.

New York lost for the 10th time in the last 11 games to fall two games below .500.

Bryce Harper, who had given the Nationals an early lead with a two-run homer, sparked the outburst with an RBI single in the 10th.

Harper's one-out, bases-loaded single to right was followed by Ryan Zimmerman's bases-clearing double and Michael Morse's two-run homer to break out of the 2-2 tie. It marked the second game in a row the Mets rallied to tie the game, only to watch a reliever fall apart in the last inning, as they gave up five runs in the 12th to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.

This time, Pedro Beato (0-1) absorbed the damage, all while recording just one out.

Roger Bernadina singled to lead off the inning against reliever Tim Byrdak. Sandy Leon then reached when shortstop Ruben Tejada dropped the throw on a force play at second for an error. Tejada, spiked by Bernadina trying to break up the double play, remained on the ground for a few moments, but was able to stay in the game.

Beato came on and fired to third on Mark DeRosa's bunt to cut down the lead runner for the first out, but Steve Lombardozzi singled to load the bases.

With the infield in, Harper then singled over leaping second baseman Daniel Murphy for a 3-2 lead, and the Nationals busted the game open from there.

The Mets had a shot in the ninth when Murphy smacked a two-out double off Tom Gorzelanny (3-2), his second hit of the game. But Jason Bay grounded out and the Mets headed for extra innings for the second straight game.

Mets starter Chris Young gave up a pair of runs on three hits in the first, but held the Nationals hitless in the next six innings, exiting after the seventh with seven strikeouts.

Jordan Zimmermann pitched six innings of one-run ball, allowing four hits while striking out six for Washington.

Drew Storen recorded the first out of the seventh for Washington, but Michael Gonzalez came in and was greeted by Ike Davis, who hit a game-tying solo homer to right on the first pitch, to make it 2-2.

Harper gave the Nationals a 2-0 lead in the first with a two-run shot to right, his ninth homer of the season. The Mets got on the board in the fourth on Wright's 15th homer of the season.

The teams were busy before the game as the Nationals put All-Star shortstop Desmond on the disabled list while the Mets welcomed top pitching prospect Matt Harvey, who will make his major-league debut Thursday.

Desmond had been playing through his left oblique injury for most of the season, but an MRI on Sunday revealed it was torn, forcing him onto the 15-day DL. Danny Espinosa will move to shortstop, with Steve Lombardozzi becoming the second baseman, Nationals manager Davey Johnson said.

"That shows you how tough he is out there, playing through it," said Johnson, who added Desmond would not need surgery, but the timetable for his return wasn't yet known.

Harvey will be officially activated Tuesday, and Mets manager Terry Collins said the 23-year-old righty will remain in the rotation the rest of the season.

"I'm just gonna do what got me here," said Harvey, who acknowledged he might struggle since he did when he first arrived at Class AA and AAA. "... I can't be perfect. The only thing I can do is go out and do the best I can, and try to win as many games as I can."

NOTES: A few days after classifying the Mets as trade-deadline "buyers," GM Sandy Alderson said before Monday's game he would have to be "realistic" because the team wasn't in the same position it was a few days ago, having dropped nine of 10. Alderson said he wouldn't call them "sellers," but said he's "exploring a lot of different scenarios." ... Mike Baxter (dislocated collarbone) started for Class AAA Buffalo in a rehab game Monday night, his first game at that level. He could join the team later in the week. ... RHP Frank Francisco (strained left oblique) will begin a rehab assignment with Class A Brooklyn on Tuesday. ... Outfielder Corey Brown was called up from Class AAA Syracuse to replace Desmond on the roster. ... Nationals catcher Jesus Flores (back) was out for the third straight game. Johnson said the injury bothers Flores while hitting.

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