Despite the loss, the New York remained two games behind the Cardinals, who lost to Cincinnati on Friday, in the National League Wild Card race, which is the more relevant race for the Mets at this point of the season.

Thor's productive outing

Thor’s productive outing

WSH@NYM: Syndergaard tosses seven solid innings

Noah Syndergaard pitches seven innings of two-run ball on three hits and one walk while striking out four against the Nationals

“When you look up and you see you haven’t lost any ground, it’s not as frustrating,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “You’re still there. You know that if you start winning a couple more, if we win the next couple nights, we’re not going to lose any more ground. It’s all about us taking care of our business.”

deGrom to miss next start with forearm soreness

Making his fourth career start, Cole retired eight straight Mets at one point, cracking only for Asdrubal Cabrera‘s leadoff homer in the fourth. By that point, he was already working with a two-run cushion, thanks to Harper’s sacrifice fly in the first inning and Ramos’ RBI single in the fourth.

Ramos' RBI single

Ramos’ RBI single

WSH@NYM: Ramos drives in Harper on a single to center

Wilson Ramos knocks an RBI single to center field in the top of the 4th inning to plate Bryce Harper and extend the Nats’ lead to 2-0

Syndergaard allowed no other runs, though four Nationals stolen bases — including two by Trea Turner in the first inning — spoiled his overall effort. The Nationals then added on late, putting the game out of easy reach when Anthony Rendon singled home two runs in the ninth.

Bloom: Murphy continues to haunt Mets

“Those are big runs that Anthony added on because [the Mets] are always dangerous hitting that ball out of the ballpark. They live on [the] home run,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. “We played a good game. That off-day helped us. We looked sharper than we had been. Hopefully, we keep rolling from here.”

Steal on Syndergaard, then score: The Nationals showed they could manufacture runs. In the first inning after he led off with a single, Turner stole second and third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Harper. Three innings later, after he doubled with one out, Harper stole third and scored on a single by Ramos.

“We evolved as a team as far as running the bases,” Harper said. “That starts with [first-base coach Davey] Lopes over there. He does a great job over there. It’s a lot of fun to have him come up to us every day … and tell us to get your butt going and run the bases. Anytime you can get in scoring position to help your team out in that situation, it’s great for us.”

Turner steals third

Turner steals third

WSH@NYM: Turner swipes his second bag of the inning

Trea Turner steals third base for his 20th steal of the season and second of the inning in the top of the 1st inning

Second time’s the charm: One of the NL’s most productive hitters in recent weeks despite a chronic knee injury, Cabrera elicited a murmur from the crowd in the fourth inning, when he clubbed a would-be homer a few dozen feet foul into the right-field upper deck. One pitch later, Cabrera straightened things out, blasting his solo shot toward the bullpen area in right-center field. It was the shortstop’s sixth home run in his last eight games.

Solid start by Cole: Other than the fourth inning, in which he allowed the home run to Cabrera, Cole had the best game of his Major League career, pitching six solid innings and allowing one run. It also earned his first Major League victory.

“It’s great [to get the first win]. It’s what I’ve been working towards. I went out there today, not trying to do too much and make my pitches work,” Cole said. More >

Cole's stellar outing

Cole’s stellar outing

WSH@NYM: Cole stifles Mets over six innings

A.J. Cole surrenders just one run on three hits and two walks while striking out five over six strong innings against the Mets

“I was a little tense and anxious — Nationals in town, weekend series. I was a little bit out of my delivery, probably the first three innings or so. … But I was able to make some pretty good pitches and go seven.” — Syndergaard

Turner is the first rookie in franchise history to steal at least 20 bases since Mike Lansing swiped 23 for the Expos in 1993.

Syndergaard has allowed 45 steals, more than twice as many as all but two other pitchers. He is tied for 20th in Major League history in stolen bases allowed in a single season, three-quarters of the way to the record 60 that Dwight Gooden permitted in 1990.

Nationals: After not even making the Nationals’ starting rotation last season, Tanner Roark has developed into one of their most reliable starters. He is looking to win his 15th game, which would tie teammates Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. He’ll pitch in the middle game of the series at 7:10 p.m. ET at Citi Field on Saturday.

Mets: The injury-replacement portion of the Mets’ rotation will take its turn beginning Saturday, when Robert Gsellman starts at Citi Field. Gsellman will be making his second career start after losing his first one. Overall, he is 1-1 with a 3.72 ERA.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Source: Mets News / Mets lose despite Thor’s 7 innings, Cabrera’s HR