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Mets' perfect relay ends Nats' surge, game

MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- In addition to his role as the Nationals' No. 5 starter, right-hander Edwin Jackson has taken on a role as one of manager Dusty Baker's pinch-running options late in games. Jackson represented the tying run with two outs in the ninth inning in the first game of Sunday's split doubleheader when he nearly completed a sprint from first base to score.

However, the Mets executed a perfect relay throw to the plate to nab Jackson for the final out and preserve a 6-5 victory.

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WASHINGTON -- In addition to his role as the Nationals' No. 5 starter, right-hander Edwin Jackson has taken on a role as one of manager Dusty Baker's pinch-running options late in games. Jackson represented the tying run with two outs in the ninth inning in the first game of Sunday's split doubleheader when he nearly completed a sprint from first base to score.

However, the Mets executed a perfect relay throw to the plate to nab Jackson for the final out and preserve a 6-5 victory.

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New York was trying to seal a victory with closer AJ Ramos on the mound when Adam Lind collected a two-out single. Jackson entered the game to pinch-run for Lind while Nats second baseman Daniel Murphy stepped to the plate. Murphy doubled into the right-center-field gap, and the ball scooted past right fielder Travis Taijeron, prompting Nats third-base coach Bobby Henley to send Jackson home attempting to score the tying run.

Mets center fielder Juan Lagares was backing up the play and recovered promptly to start a relay to second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera, who fired to catcher Travis d'Arnaud just ahead of Jackson for the game's final out.

The Nationals believed d'Arnaud blocked home plate and did not give Jackson a lane, so Baker challenged the call. But the ruling on the field was confirmed after a 30-second review, and the game was over.

"He didn't give him a lane," Baker said. "It didn't take them very long to make that decision from New York. But from where I was, he didn't have any chance of touching the plate. That's what it looked like to me."

Mets manager Terry Collins was also bothered by the way the game ended because he believed the Nationals waited too long to make the challenge.

"Well, we were told that at the end of the game, you gotta come out right away [to challenge]," Collins said. "We were in the middle of the field and I picked up Dusty and there was no indication that he was gonna check. "

Jackson also believed he was blocked at the plate, and one of the reasons he opted to slide headfirst was he said he was trying to get around d'Arnaud's shin pads. It's one of the risks of sending a pitcher on the basepaths, their competitive instincts takeover from protecting their arms, but Jackson would have scored had the Mets not executed the relay perfectly.

"It was a perfect throw from the outfield," Jackson said. "From I'm guessing the second baseman, to home, perfect throw. Got me out at home."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, New York Mets