PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Those seeking fireworks from Bryce Harper on Monday left Digital Domain Park disappointed. Those seeking a solid individual effort did not. Harper reached base three times in three plate appearances and Rick Ankiel homered, leading the Nationals to a 3-1 victory over the Mets.
The only thing Harper did not do was factor into the scoring. The Nationals took the lead for good against new Mets closer Frank Francisco in the fifth inning, scoring on Mark Teahen's sacrifice fly. That came three innings after Ankiel hit an opposite-field solo home run, providing the only offense against Mets starter Dillon Gee.
"Maybe during the year I don't throw that pitch," Gee said of his 2-0 fastball to Ankiel. "But that's just kind of how you go."
Harper singled in the second inning off Gee and walked in the fourth against Matt Harvey, in a matchup of two of the game's brightest prospects. He then beat out what appeared to be a routine ground ball to third for an infield single in the sixth.
"He's a great player," said Harvey, who struck out Harper twice during their previous meeting in the Minors. "I'm just trying to stay positive and hope I can stay healthy and get there."
The Mets jumped out to an early lead against Nationals starter John Lannan after Andres Torres walked, stole second and scored on Daniel Murphy's single in the first. Lannan pitched three innings, striking out one, walking one and allowing three hits.
Though the Mets put two runners in scoring position with no outs in the sixth, reliever Ryan Perry recorded three straight outs to escape the jam. The Nationals then tacked on an insurance run on Jhonatan Solano's RBI groundout in the eighth.
Up next for Mets: Johan Santana will make his long-awaited spring debut for the Mets on Tuesday, facing Major Leaguers in an official game for the first time since undergoing left shoulder surgery in September 2010. Santana will start against the Cardinals in a 1:10 p.m. ET game at Digital Domain Park, throwing the lesser of two innings or 40 pitches. The game will be on MLB.TV. A split squad of Mets will also take to the road for a 1:05 p.m. game against the Astros, which can be heard on Gameday Audio.
Up next for Nationals: Left-hander Gio Gonzalez will make his Nationals debut on Tuesday in a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Braves at Disney. The game can be heard on Gameday Audio. Gonzalez is expected to throw 40 to 45 pitches. He most likely will follow Stephen Strasburg in this season's rotation.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.