Campbell, Lagares plays aid Mets

WASHINGTON -- A pair of stellar plays from Mets outfielders proved a big assist in allowing Zack Wheeler to get through Tuesday’s eventual 6-1 win against the Washington Nationals.

lastname Lagares

lastname Campbell Novice outfielder Eric Campbell, in his second major league start in left field, threw out Jayson Werth at the plate in the sixth inning to prevent the Nats from pulling even at 2. An inning later, after the Mets had opened a four-run lead, Lagares dove forward and caught Denard Span's shallow fly ball to strand a runner at third.

Lagares got the wind knocked out of him but was uninjured on the play, according to Terry Collins.

“There’s no substitute for catching the baseball,” Collins said. “We’ll reiterate what we’ve said in the past: Last year, when we started playing good, it’s because we caught the ball. When you have good pitching and you catch the ball, it’s tough to score. And our defense played very well tonight.”

Campbell is a natural infielder, although he has played in 168 minor-league games in left field. His throw to the plate came on a single by Adam LaRoche.

“Even when I’m playing infield, I’m still long-tossing and stretching my arm out, so in case I do go back out to the outfield I’m ready for it,” Campbell said. “What I was more worried about was just catching it first. I knew I could make an accurate throw, but just fielding it cleanly was the key there.

“I hope it shows them that I can play out there a little more, and if they do put me out on a double-switch late in the game that I can handle myself.”

Said Daniel Murphy: “I played a little left field. That was really good. I couldn’t have done it. It changed the whole game right there.”