Mets starter Chris Young gives up homer, then finds rhythm

Chris Young pitches against the Nationals. (July 23, Chris Young pitches against the Nationals. (July 23, 2012) Photo Credit: David Pokress

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Starting pitcher Chris Young had nothing to show after throwing six consecutive hitless innings and 106 pitches during a season-high seven-inning outing against the Nationals on Monday night.

"The two runs I let up in the first were two too many," Young said. "It was just a two-run homer, that's it. I found my rhythm after that and settled in."

Bryce Harper, the second batter Young faced, sent a 3-and-2 fastball over the wall in right-centerfield, marring one of Young's best performances of the season before he could craft it. After two more at-bats against Young, even Harper was impressed with his stuff.

"It's that riseball," Harper said. "You look at it, and it looks like a good pitch to hit, and then it's over your head and you can't catch up to it. He threw a great game tonight."

Following the rocky first inning, Young retired 18 of the next 20 batters he faced, surrendering just two walks. In a span from the third to the seventh inning, Young retired 13 consecutive batters, leaving Washington hitters guessing.

After the Mets' 12-inning marathon loss Sunday against Los Angeles, manager Terry Collins stressed the importance of Young being able to go deep in the game Monday to give the overworked bullpen a rest. After throwing 34 pitches in the first inning, Young was economical in holding the Nationals hitless over the next six innings, throwing just 72 pitches.

Despite being taken out with his team down 2-1, Young left the Mets in a position to tie it, which they would do on a solo home run by Ike Davis in the bottom of the seventh.

For the second night in a row, however, the Mets opened the floodgates in extra innings, allowing six runs in the 10th. For Young, the Mets' 10th loss in 11 games diminished any satisfaction that his impressive outing might have brought.

"It's a good outing, but it's not good enough," Young said. "I'll keep building on it. I hope to get stronger as the season progresses. Ultimately, it's a team loss and that's all I really care about."

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