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  • Nationals 9, Mets 8: If a four-run lead can't stand up against the Nationals, against whom will it last? The Mets are hoping what was a seven-game lead as recently as Sept. 12 stands up, but they're not helping their fans maintain regular heartbeats. John Maine hit before he threw a pitch and still couldn't get out of the fifth. That's against a team that's last in the Major Leagues in runs scored and playing without its best hitter in 2007, Dmitri Young. Manager Willie Randolph isn't the most popular man among Mets fans these days, and they can't be blamed for feeling that way. That doesn't absolve the relief pitchers of their inability to get anyone out. The odds still favor the Mets' making the postseason, but why does it have to be this difficult? Philadelphia's 14-inning win in St. Louis means the Mets' lead is just 1 1/2 games.

  • Yankees 12, Orioles 0: The Yankees appear to be through with making their fans sweat. They won their second straight game against the Orioles, with Mike Mussina pitching well again in the rout. If the Yankees keep this up, they might catch Boston in the American League East. A Red Sox loss in Toronto on Tuesday leaves the Yankees 2 1/2 games back. Detroit's loss to Cleveland extended the Yankees' wild-card lead to 4 1/2 games. If Mussina has one more good start, he'll likely earn Joe Torre's trust for the postseason. Doug Mientkiewicz and his hot bat also appear to be on their way to doing that, but Torre should think twice about whether a few great games cancel out a large sample size of offensive impotence.