VIERA, Fla. -- Three runs in the first inning helped the Nationals defeat the Mets, 6-5, at Space Coast Stadium on Thursday afternoon.
Washington took the lead in the bottom of the first inning off Mets right-hander Mike Pelfrey. With the bases loaded, Adam LaRoche doubled over the head of Kirk Nieuwenhuis in center field to score Nyjer Morgan and Ian Desmond.
Jayson Werth then scored the third run of the game on a groundout by Ivan Rodriguez. Pelfrey, who pitched four innings, would allow one more run before leaving the game. Werth walked with the bases loaded, scoring Jonathan Van Every to make it 4-0.
Right-hander Chad Gaudin started for Washington and became the first member of the staff to pitch five innings. He didn't allow a run during his time on the mound.
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The Mets would score their first run in the top of the seventh, when Nieuwenhuis scored on a single by Joshua Satin.
Washington added two more runs off reliever Manny Alvarez in the bottom of the seventh. Werth highlighted the scoring with a double to left-center field, scoring Desmond.
The Mets staged a rally in the ninth inning, scoring a run on an error by Destin Hood, and then three more on a home run by Lucas Duda. Tyler Clippard retired Nick Evans to end the game.
Up next for Mets: The Mets return to Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Friday to play the Marlins at 1:10 p.m. ET on MLB.TV. Left-hander Jon Niese will make the start for New York, while relievers Mike O'Connor, Alvarez, Tim Byrdak, Jason Isringhausen and Francisco Rodriguez are expected to see action in the game.
Up next for Nationals: Washington returns to Space Coast Stadium to play the Astros at 6:05 p.m. ET on Friday on MLB.TV. Livan Hernandez will make his third start of the spring. In his most recent start, Hernandez pitched four shutout innings in a Minor League game against the Astros on Sunday, allowing just one hit.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.