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Monday, May 28, 2012

Preview: Game 49 - Phillies at Mets - Mets will host Phillies on Memorial Day

Philadelphia Phillies (25-24) at New York Mets (27-21) 1:10 PM ET
SeasonRd/HmLast StartLast 3 App
C. Hamels (L) 9 7-1 2.176.13-01.935/23WSHW8.0403-022.01.64
J. Niese (L) 9 3-2 4.295.21-03.795/23@PITW7.2511-116.24.86

Cole Hamels has been unbeatable over the last six weeks. That run began with a victory against the New York Mets.

The left-hander looks to become the majors' first eight-game winner Monday when he tries to help the visiting Phillies end their struggles against the Mets this season.

Since giving up four runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-2 loss to Miami in his 2012 debut April 9, Hamels (7-1, 2.17 ERA) is 7-0 with a 1.89 ERA in eight starts.

"I feel the same as I've felt the last couple years," Hamels told the Phillies' official website. "Fortunately, things are just falling my way. I'm just trying to make sure it goes as long as it possibly can."

In his last start Wednesday, Hamels allowed four hits and struck out eight in eight scoreless innings of a 4-1 win over Washington.

His current run began April 15 at home versus New York. He allowed a two-run homer to Ike Davis and fanned a season-high 10 in seven innings of an 8-2 win to improve to 4-10 with a 4.33 ERA in 18 starts against the Mets.

That victory is Philadelphia's only one in six games this season versus New York (27-21) - all at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets swept the teams' last series May 7-9.

Philadelphia (25-24) looks to bounce back after its four-game winning streak ended with an 8-3 loss at St. Louis on Sunday. Two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay left after two innings with shoulder soreness.

New York, meanwhile, has won three in a row and five of six after beating San Diego 2-0 on Sunday. One day after Johan Santana tossed a four-hitter in a 9-0 win over the Padres, R.A. Dickey struck out 10 over 7 1-3 innings.

The Mets, who posted 26 straight scoreless innings in winning the final three of the four-game set against the lowly Padres, last shut out three straight opponents May 25-27, 2010 - against the Phillies at Citi Field.

"It's nice to be able to celebrate some good outings in a row and, hopefully, the next guy out feels an obligation to keep it's where it's at right now,'' Dickey said

New York actually shut out the Phillies four straight home meetings in 2010, but since then Philadelphia has won nine of 14 in Queens.

"When you play these teams (like the Phillies) you raise your level,'' Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We got to pick our game up, but if we continue to pitch, we'll be in some games.''

The pressure to continue the Mets' mound success falls on Jonathon Niese (3-2, 4.29), who is 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA in two starts versus Philadelphia in 2012.

After giving up a season-high eight runs in three innings of a 14-5 loss at Toronto on May 18, the left-hander allowed a run and five hits in 7 2-3 innings of a 3-1 win at Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Philadelphia catcher Carlos Ruiz is 5 for 14 versus Niese, and 9 for 17 in his last four games overall.

A lifetime .333 hitter with two homers off Hamels, Mets star David Wright is 10 for 22 (.455) with a home runs and five RBIs against the Phillies this season. However, he went 0 for 9 in his last three games to drop his average from .405 to .382.

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