WASHINGTON -- So much for a desperately needed sweep of the first-place Washington Nationals.
New York Mets
The Mets (54-60) dropped eight games behind the Nats (61-51) in the NL East standings.
Niese is now 0-4 with a 5.76 ERA in four starts since the All-Star break.
Adam LaRoche had a two-run homer in a three-run first inning. Danny Espinosa opened a 6-0 lead with a three-run homer against Niese in the sixth. It marked only the second time this season Niese allowed two homers in a game (also April 12, against the Los Angeles Angels).
Niese’s final line: 6 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HR.
LaRoche also had a solo homer against Carlos Torres in the eighth. He has 26 career homers against the Mets. That is fourth-most against the Amazin's among active players, trailing only Ryan Howard (40), Chase Utley (32) and Jimmy Rollins (30).
Snapped: Curtis Granderson ended an 0-for-18 skid with a sixth-inning bunt single. He was stranded in scoring position when David Wright grounded into an inning-ending double play with two runners on base.
Debutant: Matt Thornton, a waiver claim from the Yankees, inherited two baserunners from Fister with one out in the top of the eighth in his Nats debut. The southpaw coaxed a fly out from Granderson, but then surrendered a two-out dribbling single through the right side of the infield to Daniel Murphy. That plated Juan Lagares with an unearned run charged to Fister as the Mets avoided getting shut out.
What’s next: Jacob deGrom (6-5, 2.77 ERA), the NL Rookie of the Month for July, opposes right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (7-5, 3.00) in Thursday’s 12:35 p.m. rubber game. DeGrom is 5-0 with a 1.04 ERA in his past five starts.