"I knew the fan got a hand on it, and I thought he reached below the orange line. Once they went to check it out, I knew they weren't going to give it to us." --John Lannan, May 25, 2009.

THE RESULT: A controversial home run call made a bad outing worse for Washington Nationals starter John Lannan, as the Nats fell to the New York Mets 5-2 in the first of a seven-day, six-game road trip at CitiField before 41,103 Mets faithful.

Lannan (L, 2-4, 4.11) was not his usual sharp self, giving up five earned runs on eight hits and four walks over five innings. He only threw 53 of his 92 pitches for strikes.

He came out for the sixth but couldn't record an out. Luis Castillo led off with a double for the Mets (24-20) before Carlos Beltran walked setting the stage for the dramatics by Gary Sheffield. He hit a long drive to left field, which hit near the top of the 15-foot, eight and one-half inch wall, but a fan reached over the railing and touched the ball before it had a chance to hit the wall.

Was it a home run? Was it fan interference? The play was ruled a home run on the field, despite the ball never leaving the park. After six minutes of review, umpire crew chief Larry Vanover upheld the ruling on the field, and the home run stood. Lannan walked the next batter, and his night was over.

The replay clearly showed the fan touched the ball before the ball hit, but it was inconclusive whether the ball would have hit the orange line at the top of the fence that indicates a home run.

Regardless, the fan reaching over the railing and into the field of play should have stopped the play right there for a two-base interference call.

Washington (13-31-1) left 13 men on base, including two in the top of the ninth. Austin Kearns struck out swinging and Willie Harris popped out to end any threat of a comeback against Francisco Rodriguez.

Daniel Cabrera made his first appearance since being banished to the bullpen last week, and walked three batters in two-thirds of an inning.

John Maine (4-3, 4.18) got the win and Rodriguez notched his 13th save of the season.

THE TAKEAWAY: Yes, the home run call went against the Nats, but they had plenty of chances in this one and failed to capitalize. They had only six hits, but walked nine times, so there were lots of runners on base all night

They just couldn't come through with the big hit when they needed it.

THE GOOD: Wil Nieves. The backup catcher was the hitting star, going 2-for-3 and a walk, with an RBI and run scored.

THE BAD: Austin Kearns. 0-for-5 with two strikeouts. He looked as lost as he ever has at the plate last night.

THE UGLY: Daniel Cabrera. C'mon, like you didn't expect this? The guy is a train wreck, and when Flores and Dukes come back at the end of the week he better be on the next bus out to Syracuse. Or wherever.

NEXT GAME: Tonight at 7:10 pm. Craig Stammen (0-0, 5.68) makes his second career start against old friend Livan Hernandez (3-1, 4.93).

NOTES: Ryan Zimmerman had a hit and a walk and has safely reached base in 43 consecutive games, topping the franchise's single-season record, set by Tim Raines in 1986. The overall record is 46, held by the estimable Rusty Staub.