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Friday, June 24, 2011

Preview: 2011 Regular Season Game 76 - Mets at Rangers

New York Mets (37-38) at Texas Rangers (40-36), 8:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: NY Mets - Mike Pelfrey (4-5, 4.70) Texas - Matt Harrison (5-6, 3.16)

Mike Pelfrey tries to follow up his first complete game of the season tonight when the New York Mets open a three-game interleague series against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Pelfrey went the distance to beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Saturday, holding them to a run and five hits, while striking out five without walking a batter.

"It doesn't happen much these days as it did in the past, but it's fun to go out there and finish what you start," said Pelfrey, who has never faced the Rangers.

The road, though, has given Pelfrey problems this season, as he is just 1-5 away from home this season with a 6.75 ERA in eight starts.

Pelfrey's road woes could continue tonight, as he faces a lethal Rangers' lineup that has given National League pitchers fits this season, especially Nelson Cruz and reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton.

Cruz is batting .400 with two homers and six RBI in six interleague games this season, while Hamilton has hit .375 with two homers and eight RBI. He also has a 17-game interleague hitting streak at home.

The Rangers were denied a series sweep of Houston in heartbreaking fashion on Wednesday, as Neftali Feliz blew his fourth save of the season, surrendering four runs in the ninth in the 5-3 loss.

"It stinks that we didn't win," Rangers starter Colby Lewis said. "The main thing is that we all show up to win. We had an opportunity and we let it slip away."

Tonight the Rangers turn to lefty Matt Harrison, who is 5-6 with a 3.16 ERA. Harrison pitched well in Atlanta on Saturday, but did not get a decision, despite allowing just one earned run in 6 1/3 frames of a 5-4 win.

He has never faced the Mets, who enter this series on the heels of taking two of three from the Oakland Athletics. New York won the rubber match of that set on Thursday, as Jose Reyes had two hits, two RBI and a run scored to back six scoreless innings by Chris Capuano to give the Mets a 4-1 victory at Citi Field.

Capuano (6-7) allowed five hits and did not issue a walk while striking out seven, but left the game due to a right oblique injury after the sixth inning.

"I had decent separation between my changeup and fastball today, which I was able to get some strikeouts in early," Capuano said. "They adjusted to it later in the game, but early I was able to get some swings."

Francisco Rodriguez tossed a perfect ninth inning to earn his 20th save of the year to give New York its third win in the last five games.

The Mets also got some rare good news on the injury front on Thursday, as third baseman David Wright, who has been sidelined with a stress fracture in his lower back, was cleared to start workouts, and could rejoin the team as soon as three weeks.

New York has won four of the six all-time meetings in this series. This, though, is the team's first trip to Arlington since 2003.

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