NEW YORK - With Billy Wagner looming in the bullpen, the New York Mets are going to be tough to catch in the late innings.
Especially if they get this kind of help from the umpires.
Tom Glavine outpitched Livan Hernandez in a matchup of World Series MVPs, newcomer Xavier Nady went 4-for-4 and David Wright homered to help New York edge the Washington Nationals 3-2 Monday.
“Our defense and pitching carried us today,” new first baseman Carlos Delgado said.
Alfonso Soriano certainly looked competent in his first game as a major league outfielder — and he was the player thrown out at the plate when Tim Tschida missed a key call in the eighth inning.
With the Nationals trailing by one, Soriano singled leading off and — with none out — was curiously waved around third by coach Tony Beasley on Ryan Zimmerman’s double into the left-field corner.
Jose Reyes’ accurate relay throw to the plate beat a diving Soriano, but replays showed new catcher Paul Lo Duca juggled and dropped the ball after applying the tag.
Tschida, who had properly rotated down from first base, didn’t see it, perhaps blocked by Lo Duca’s back from his position in front of the plate.
“Just show it and sell it,” Lo Duca said. “It trickled down my arm and I just grabbed it and showed the umpire. It was a break. Sometimes you need those. You’re going to get breaks against you during the year.”
Surprisingly, the Nationals never argued the call.
“I didn’t see the ball come out. I didn’t see the replay. I don’t want to see it,” Washington manager Frank Robinson said.
Aaron Heilman escaped the inning without any damage. Wagner, the All-Star closer who signed a $43 million, four-year contract with New York in the offseason to nail down tight games just like this one, worked the ninth for a save in his Mets debut.
He ran in from the bullpen to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” the same anthem Mariano Rivera has across town with the Yankees.
“I was so nervous they could have shot fire rockets behind me, I wouldn’t have known,” Wagner said.
He also got an assist in the form of ill-advised baserunning by the Nationals when Jose Vidro was easily thrown out at second by Carlos Beltran to end the game on a single to left-center.
“I’ve got to get to second base. I’ve got to try my best to do that. I was going to be aggressive,” Vidro said. “It took a perfect throw.”
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