Each time the Mets have had a glimmer of hope of saving their season, a chance to climb back into the race in the National League East, the Nationals have shut the door. New York entered on a roll, winners of seven of its past nine games. Meanwhile, Washington’s lead in the NL East had dwindled to 7 1/2 games over the second-place Braves, the smallest it had been since May 26th.

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