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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Preview: Game 157 - Mets at Reds - Niese vs Leake

New York Mets (71-85) at Cincinnati Reds (90-67) 7:10 PM ET
SeasonRd/HmLast StartLast 3 App
J. Niese (L) 22 7-8 3.815.24-35.669/19SFL7.0721-219.14.66
M. Leake (R) 30 14-6 3.216.06-43.679/17@HOUW8.0503-021.10.84


Mike Leake will try to continue his dazzling stretch and help pull the Reds closer to the top of the NL Central on Tuesday night against the New York Mets.

Cincinnati (90-67) has qualified for the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the "The Big Red Machine" won World Series titles in 1975 and 1976.

Shin-Soo Choo booked the latest trip Monday, when he hit a long drive off the top of the wall in left-center to drive in Devin Mesoraco and clinch a 3-2, 10-inning win over New York.

Giving the ball to Leake (14-6, 3.21 ERA) should give Cincinnati a strong chance to potentially close that gap, while the Cardinals host Washington.

Leake has been utterly dominant of late, winning three straight starts behind a 0.84 ERA.

He's thrown a career-high 20 1-3 scoreless innings over that stretch, becoming the ninth Reds starter to reach at least 20 since 1974 and first since Mat Latos went 21 innings from April 19-May 5.

Leake is also trying to win a career-high fourth straight start, and he hasn't put together a longer single-season winning streak since beginning his career 5-0 over his first 11 starts of 2010.

Leake's most recent complete game came at home against the Mets (71-85) on Aug. 15, 2012, when he pitched a four-hitter in a 6-1 win.

He beat them again May 21, yielding three hits in seven innings of a 4-0 road victory.

Leake's success against New York is partly why the Reds have a 1.88 ERA while winning nine of the past 10 meetings.

Joey Votto is a career .359 hitter versus the Mets, collecting 13 homers, 28 RBIs and 28 runs in 36 games.

The Mets will turn to Jonathon Niese (7-8, 3.81), who is 4-2 with a 3.06 ERA over eight starts since returning from a partially torn rotator cuff. The left-hander has yielded two runs or fewer in five of them.

He allowed two runs over seven innings Thursday, but the offense mustered four hits in a 2-1 loss to San Francisco.

Niese is on schedule to start the Mets' season finale versus Milwaukee on Sunday, and he'd like to finish strong and healthy.

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