It’s a win the Mets are glad to have. Their postgame schedule includes an early-morning flight to Cincinnati, with mere hours to prepare for their 1:10 p.m. Labor Day series opener against the Reds.

Bruce ensured that it would be happy flight, three innings after Granderson gave the Mets the lead for good with a two-run homer off Nationals starter Reynaldo Lopez. Lopez lasted only four innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk.

The Nationals plated their only run off Lugo on Danny Espinosa‘s homer in the second. The most successful of New York’s rotation fill-ins, Lugo improved to 3-1 with a 2.19 ERA in four starts.

The Magic Lugo: Early on, Lugo’s chances of submitting a gem seemed tenuous at best. He allowed the first two runners he faced to reach safely, loading the bases with two outs. But he induced a soft tapper from Wilson Ramos to wriggle out of that jam, then stranded another runner on base in the second. That keyed a run of 11 consecutive outs.

Lugo gets Turner swinging

Lugo gets Turner swinging

WSH@NYM: Lugo fans Turner, receives ovation in 7th

Seth Lugo gets Trea Turner swinging to complete seven impressive innings and walks off the field to a nice ovation by the Citi Field crowd

Lopez’s night ends early: With the chance to give Max Scherzer an extra day of rest before the stretch run, the Nationals decided to push him back a day and start Lopez instead. But Lopez struggled again in his sixth career Major League start, giving up three runs on six hits in four innings, with three wild pitches. Both of his successful outings came against the Braves; he has yet to make it out of the fifth inning in the other four starts.

Lopez strikes out Rivera

Lopez strikes out Rivera

WSH@NYM: Lopez strikes out Rivera swinging in the 4th

Reynaldo Lopez gets Rene Rivera swinging in the 4th inning to record his third strikeout of the game

Jay’s OK: Bruce’s two-run shot off Mat Latos in the sixth inning opened a four-run lead for the Mets, who never looked back. Bruce, who will return to Cincinnati on Monday for the first time since the deal that sent him to the Mets at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, suddenly has eight hits — including two homers — in his last five games. He had eight hits in his previous 16 games combined.

Bruce's two-run homer

Bruce’s two-run homer

WSH@NYM: Bruce extends lead with two-run homer in 6th

Jay Bruce hits a two-run homer in the 6th to give the Mets 97 home runs at Citi Field, surpassing their 2006 record at Shea Stadium

Offensive funk: The Nationals have scored more than four runs only once in their last 10 games, a span that has put pressure on their pitching staff. When they receive a short outing from their starter, as they did on Sunday night, they have not been able to make up for it. Washington did not have a hit with a runner in scoring position on Sunday for the second consecutive game and is now 0-for-15 with RISP over the last two nights.

With a single in the sixth inning, Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy collected a hit in all 16 games against the Mets this season. That breaks Tony Gwynn’s record for the longest such streak to begin a career against New York.

Nationals: The Nationals return home to host the Braves on Monday at 4:05 p.m. ET. In three starts against Atlanta this season, Scherzer (15-7, 2.89 ERA) is 2-0 with a 4.66 ERA with 19 K’s and nine walks (one intentional) in 19 1/3 innings.

Mets: After landing in Cincinnati in the wee hours of morning, the Mets will open a three-game series on Monday against the Reds. The 1:10 p.m. ET Labor Day matinee will be Bruce’s first game back in Cincinnati since his Aug. 1 trade to the Mets. He’ll play behind starting pitcher Bartolo Colon (12-7, 3.35 ERA), who flew to Ohio ahead of his teammates on Sunday.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Source: Mets News / Two HRs, Lugo keep Mets on Wild Card pace