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NYM@WSH: Gee shuts down Nats with bat, glove

The Mets, still searching for an identity, sent their 2012 season leader in homers to Triple-A, moved their second baseman to first base and center fielder to second. Within a week, they anticipate adding their most touted pitching prospect to the club.

Changes have been made, with more on the way. Patience might be necessary.

The Mets get a second look at their freshly crafted squad as they host the Cardinals on Wednesday night.

In their first game without Ike Davis, who was sent to Triple-A Las Vegas to work on his swing, Daniel Murphy slid to first base and made an error that led to five unearned runs. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, in his first start since being recalled from Las Vegas, missed a deep fly ball in center field that cost the Mets two more unearned runs.

When it was all settled and the Mets took an uncomfortable 9-2 loss, they had allowed seven unearned runs. It was just the fourth time in franchise history the Mets had surrendered at least nine runs while two or fewer were earned.

The first round of changes may not have been an instant success, but the Mets are likely to stick with Murphy at first until Davis returns from the Minors.

"This is about winning baseball games," Murphy said. "It's not about playing one position over another. We've got to win baseball games."

With the once-shining Davis demoted, the Mets are hoping for a spark.

"It does send a message that, you know what, you've got to perform here," said manager Terry Collins.

Wednesday starter Dillon Gee has been one player performing in dire situations. With the threat of Zack Wheeler's looming promotion, which could happen during an upcoming series against the Braves, Gee has fought for his spot in the starting rotation admirably.

With a 6.34 ERA on May 25, Gee has since thrown two straight impressive games, striking out 19 batters over 14 1/3 innings while allowing just 13 total hits and two total runs in back-to-back wins.

"I can't be satisfied," Gee said after his last start. "I've got to continue to do it."

The last time Shelby Miller pitched against the Mets, he served them their 14th loss in 18 games.

This time, the Mets enter having lost seven of eight.

Miller, who has yet to allow more than three runs in a Major League start, is second in the National League with a 1.91 ERA. He's hoping to become the second straight rookie to beat the Mets after Michael Wacha held them to two runs on Tuesday for his first Major League win.

"All those guys that are getting called up are here for a reason, they know what they need to do. The rookie staff that we have is really strong," said Miller, who stopped by the MLB Fan Cave on Tuesday. "They're all doing really well."

Mets: Three moves at once
In addition to Davis, the Mets sent two others down to Triple-A Las Vegas in a roster shakeup.

Mike Baxter (.212 average) and Robert Carson (8.50 ERA) were also demoted as the three were replaced by first baseman Josh Satin, outfielder Collin Cowgill and left-hander Josh Edgin.

Satin was hitting .305 with nine homers, Cowgill was hitting .268 with five homers and Edgin had a 5.91 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings.

Satin is expected to fill in for Murphy at first base when needed, while Cowgill could platoon with Nieuwenhuis in center field.

Cardinals: Lyons' future uncertain
In two starts, Tyler Lyons was 2-0 with a sparkling 1.29 ERA. The 25-year-old rookie then allowed four earned runs in each of his next two starts, and his future with the Cardinals has become cloudy.

The club announced Jake Westbrook would return from the 15-day disabled list Friday and take Lyons' spot in the rotation.

The Cardinals plan to see how the next few days go before making a final decision. If they want to keep Lyons on the Major League roster, they could plug him into the bullpen or send out Wacha instead. Otherwise, it's back to the rotation in Triple-A.

Worth noting
• David Freese had two more hits Tuesday and enters play with a 20-game hitting streak, longest in the Majors. Hitting .209 when it started on May 17, Freese has raised his average to .287.

• Omar Quintanilla homered Tuesday and has hit safely in eight of nine games since being added to the team in late May. He's hitting .325 in that time. The lifelong Minor Leaguer was hitting .333 with Las Vegas before his promotion.

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