Beltran, El Duque help Mets sweep Nationals

Hero: Beltran, who had his fourth multihomer game of the season.

Hero, part II: Hernandez, who won his fourth straight decision by allowing just two runs and three hits in seven innings. He hasn't lost since July 4.

Quotable: "We just got outplayed by a better team. There's no luck involved in this. That's why
they won the division last year. That's why they're in first place
right now." -- Nationals manager Manny Acta.

-- ESPN.com news services

Mets 8, Nationals 2

WASHINGTON -- Carlos Beltran didn't take very long to get
comfortable at the plate after a trip to the disabled list.

Beltran homered twice and drove in four runs as the New York
Mets beat the Washington Nationals 8-2 Sunday to complete a
three-game sweep.

The switch-hitting center fielder is batting .294 (10-for-34)
with five homers and 13 RBIs in nine games since he came off the
15-day DL Aug. 10 after missing time with a strained oblique

"It is about feeling good," Beltran said. "I am seeing the
ball, and I feel balanced, and I am staying back."

Beltran homered with one out in the sixth to tie it at 2. He hit
a two-run drive off Chris Schroder in the ninth for his 24th of the
season. It was his fourth multihomer game of the season and the
21st of his career.

"He is in a nice rhythm," New York manager Willie Randolph
said. "I don't know if he is hot, hot."

Orlando Hernandez allowed two runs and three hits in seven
innings for the Mets. El Duque
has won four straight decisions and hasn't lost since July 4.

"I was very excited about getting the 'W' today," Hernandez
said. "I thought my team had good defense and good offense."

Shawn Green's two-run single in the eighth put New York in front
4-2 and sparked a four-run rally. Marlon Anderson also had a
two-run double off reliever Jon Rauch (8-4).

"I left everything up today," Rauch said. "It didn't matter
where the pitch was."

Washington wasted another fine effort by Hill, who was making
just his second start after missing more than three months with a
sore right elbow. He allowed two runs and seven hits in seven
innings, but didn't think highly of his performance.

"It was a lot of luck -- balls hit at guys," Hill said. "I was
all over the place early on."

Hernandez did not allow a hit after Wily Mo Pena went deep in
the fourth for his first home run since joining the Nationals on
Saturday. New York has won each of El Duque's last eight starts.

Jorge Sosa pitched a perfect eighth inning and Pedro Feliciano
got the final three outs for New York.

It was the second loss in five days for Rauch, who leads the
major leagues in appearances with 68.

"During this homestand, I didn't do my part. I cost us two
ballgames," Rauch said.

The 6-11 right-hander denied being tired.

"If I wanted a day off, I'd ask for one -- plain and simple.
Next question," he said.

The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Luis Castillo
walked with one out, advanced to third on David Wright's single to
center and scored on Beltran's sacrifice fly.

Ryan Zimmerman singled in Robert Fick in the third to tie it at

"We just got outplayed by a better team," Washington manager
Manny Acta said. "There's no luck involved in this. That's why
they won the division last year. That's why they're in first place
right now."

Game notes
The Mets placed infielder Damion Easley on the 15-day
disabled list with a sprained left ankle and recalled infielder
Anderson Hernandez from Triple-A New Orleans. ... New York first
baseman Carlos Delgado missed his fourth straight game with a
hyperextended left knee. ... Austin Kearns started in center field
for Washington -- the first time this season he's played there. ...
Pena was acquired with cash considerations from Boston on Friday
for a player to be named. He went 1-for-4 with a walk and scored
two runs in his Nationals debut Saturday.