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Tough-luck Gio hopes to pitch Nats to series win over Mets

Left-hander Gio Gonzalez looks to secure a series victory with his first win in six starts on Thursday night when he pitches the finale of the Washington Nationals' three-game set with the New York Mets.

Gonzalez has pitched well during his winless drought, posting a 2.14 earned run average while going 0-1. Without a victory since May 5, Gonzalez did not factor into a 2-1 extra-inning loss at Atlanta on Saturday. He hurled seven innings of one-run, three-hit ball, fanning seven to just one walk while going head-to-head with the Braves' Tim Hudson.

"The guys battled really hard and played their hearts out," said Gonzalez, who is 3-3 on the year with a 3.64 ERA in 12 starts. "They were out there swinging and doing their best, but Hudson pitched a great game."

The 27-year-old had a rare rough outing versus the Mets on April 20, yielding five runs on five hits and four walks over four innings of his club's 7-6 win. That dropped Gonzalez's career ERA versus New York to 3.82 with a 3-1 record in six meetings.

Gonzalez will hope that his offense can break out tonight as it has been held to 11 runs over the past six games. Washington got just enough from its bats to win a one-run game in Tuesday's opener, but was routed 10-1 last night by New York.

Marlon Byrd belted a pair of homers and David Wright also went deep as the Mets snapped a four-game slide by pounding out 15 hits.

"It was nice to extend the lead and tack on runs," Wright said.

New York starter Dillon Gee had seven strikeouts and allowed one run on nine hits and a walk over seven frames. He also contributed offensively by driving in one run.

Ian Desmond knocked in the lone run for the offensively struggling Nationals, who went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position and have lost five of seven.

Starter Dan Haren lasted four innings, giving up five runs on seven hits.

"I laid another egg tonight," Haren said. "I have to be better."

With the offense struggling, Washington also got some bad news on the pitching side of things when Stephen Strasburg was unable to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday due to discomfort stemming from a right lat strain. That injury forced him out of his start last Friday versus Atlanta following the second inning and the ace right-hander was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

Winless through eight appearances this season, New York's Shaun Marcum takes the hill for tonight's finale.

Marcum had one of his better outings this season on May 26, a no-decision against the Atlanta Braves in which he struck out 12 over seven innings of two-run ball. However, the righty then lost at Miami on Friday, charged with four runs on seven hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings. All four runs allowed came in the seventh frame.

The 31-year-old is 0-6 with a 5.71 ERA this season, which includes seven starts, and is 1-0 lifetime versus Washington with a 2.77 ERA in two previous meetings.

The Mets won two of three in New York over the Nationals from April 19-21 after Washington won 14 of the 18 meetings a season ago.