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Monday, April 09, 2012

Preview - Game 4 - Nationals at Mets - Pelfrey tries to make it 4 in a row

Washington Nationals (2-1) at New York Mets (3-0), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Washington - Edwin Jackson (0-0, 0.00) New York - Mike Pelfrey (0-0, 0.00)

Former first-round pick Mike Pelfrey makes the first start of what he hopes will be a bounce-back season tonight when the unbeaten New York Mets host the Washington Nationals in the first of three games at Citi Field.

The Mets enter the fray after opening the season with three straight home wins against National League East rival Atlanta, marking the first time in the franchise's 50-year history that it opened with three consecutive defeats of a division foe.

Starter Jonathon Niese, fresh off signing a new five-year, $25.5 million contract, carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and struck out seven as the Mets completed the sweep with a 7-5 victory.

Niese (1-0) allowed four runs - two earned - and two hits while walking four before being pulled in the seventh.

Robinson Tejada finished with a career-high four hits and two RBI, Daniel Murphy added two doubles and two RBI and David Wright also knocked in a run for the Mets. Closer Frank Francisco recorded his third save of the season in a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth.

Pelfrey, the ninth overall pick in the 2005 draft, was a double-digit winner in 2008, 2009 and 2010 - peaking with 15 victories - before falling to a 7-13 mark in 34 appearances last season with a 4.74 earned run average.

He is 4-7 in 18 career starts against the Nationals, having allowing 110 hits and 49 earned runs across 109 2/3 innings. Their most recent meeting came last September in New York, when Pelfrey allowed two unearned runs on six hits in seven innings of a 2-0 loss.

He'll be opposed by 28-year-old righty Edwin Jackson, who makes his first start in a Washington uniform after splitting last season with the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals while going 12-9 in 32 appearances.

The Nationals are Jackson's seventh team - following the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tampa Bay, Detroit, Arizona, the White Sox and Cardinals - since he debuted with four appearances with the Dodgers in 2003.

Jackson has made just one career start against the Mets and got a no-decision after allowing five runs on nine hits in five innings.

On Sunday in Chicago, the Nationals were denied a sweep, as they fell 4-3 to the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Jordan Zimmermann (0-1) gave up two runs - one earned - on six hits with four strikeouts over seven innings in the loss for the Nationals, who got a two-run home run from Adam LaRoche in the ninth to make it close.

Washington was 10-8 against the Mets last season.

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