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Davis hits long home run as Mets lose to Nats 5-4

By JON SANATUCCI

Associated Press

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) Ike Davis hit a long two-run homer, and prospects Rafael Montero and Jacob DeGrom combined to throw four perfect innings as the New York Mets lost to the Washington Nationals 5-4 Friday in the first spring training game for both teams.

Davis, competing with Lucas Duda for New York's first-base job, hit a two-out homer off Christian Garcia in a four-run fifth. The drive landed on the sidewalk behind the grass berm in right field and bounced out of the ballpark.

He hit a career-low .205 last year with just nine home runs and 33 RBIs

"I could tell in BP I was hitting the ball a little better than last year," Davis said of batting practice. "It's all about making contact. ... It's going to take time and games. Obviously, I've put up decent numbers in spring before."

Davis went 1 for 3 and struck out once. Duda went 1 for 3 with a double and was robbed of a second extra-base hit on a diving grab by center fielder Eury Perez.

"It was great, Ike and Duda both," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Lucas hit the ball good twice. It was really good to see. They came ready to play, ready to make the club and it certainly was a good day for them both.

"I really think that they're bound and determined to make every game count. I told them both, `I know it's spring training and we have a long way to go, but each time they're out there, get yourself ready to play.' They showed that today."

Trying to become the Mets' fifth starter, Montero struck out two in two innings - he retired Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche with back-to-back three-pitch strikeouts.

"I liked that I kept my pitch count down," Montero said through an interpreter. "That's what I try to do every time I get out there is keep my pitch count down."

Nationals starter Taylor Jordan was also impressive, allowing one hit in two scoreless innings and striking out two.

"I'm not going to push for something that's not capable out of me," Jordan said. "I just tried to throw strikes. I wasn't trying to throw a no-hitter or anything."

Nationals first-year manager Matt Williams said the coaching staff had a dry run prior to Friday's game, talking about where each coach would stand or sit in the dugout.

There are still some things Williams is learning as he goes.

"LeCroy asked me the other day, `Matt, are you a pacer?" he said, referring to bullpen coach Matt LeCroy. "I said, `I don't know,'" Williams went on. "We'll have to find that out. As a player, I used to sit on the far end of the dugout - as far away from the manager as I could. I can't do that anymore."

Mets infielder prospect Wilfredo Tovar sustained what was thought to be a minor hamstring injury while running to first base against the Nationals and was taken out of the game. Collins said Tovar was moving well after the game and will be fine.

Mets closer Bobby Parnell is scheduled to throw batting practice Saturday. It will be the first time Parnell faces hitters since July 30. He missed the final two months of the season and underwent surgery Sept. 10 to repair a herniated disk in his neck.

Updated February 28, 2014

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