Mets hand Wheeler ball in opener at Milwaukee

Right-handed phenom Zack Wheeler gets his fourth crack at a major-league mound on Friday when the New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers meet at Miller Park to begin a three-game weekend series.

The sixth overall pick of the 2009 draft by the San Francisco Giants, Wheeler came to New York's organization as part of the trade that sent Carlos Beltran to the west coast in July 2011.

Wheeler debuted in the majors in his native Georgia against the Atlanta Braves and emerged with a 6-1 win after holding the hosts to four hits in six scoreless innings with five walks and seven strikeouts.

The two subsequent outings haven't gone quite as smoothly for the 23-year-old, who's allowed nine runs on 10 hits in just 10 innings against the Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals.

He allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Nationals on June 30, walking two batters and striking out five in a game the Mets ultimately lost, 13-2.

For the Brewers, righty Johnny Hellweg makes his second start in his third big-league outing.

The 24-year-old Michigan native made his inaugural start at Pittsburgh on June 28, but retired just five batters while allowing five earned runs on six hits in a 10-3 loss to the Pirates.

He made a one-inning relief appearance for the Brewers three days later and allowed one earned run on two hits in a 10-5 loss at Washington.

Hellweg, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and came to Milwaukee as part of the 2012 trade involving Zack Greinke, was 7-4 in 14 starts at Triple-A Nashville this spring.

On Thursday in New York, Cliff Pennington's two-out RBI single in the top of the 15th inning ultimately proved to be the deciding hit that sent Arizona past New York by a 5-4 count.

Facing one-run deficits in the bottom of the 13th and 14th innings, Anthony Recker and Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit solo homers to prolong the contest.

Arizona's Brad Ziegler then stranded two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the 15th, inducing a game-ending grounder to first from Nieuwenhuis for his first save of the year. That ended a 5-hour, 46-minute marathon from Citi Field.

Chaz Roe (1-0) picked up the win despite serving up Nieuwenhuis' tying homer in the 14th, while Scott Rice (3-5) took the loss after giving up the go-ahead hit.

New York starter Dillon Gee worked seven frames and served up six hits and two runs while fanning seven.

"Last time out I only went six. Tonight I wanted to keep going. Every time out I just try to get outs so I can stay in the ball game. In a game like this that would have been nice," Gee said.

Gee and Marlon Byrd each drove in a run for the Mets, who dropped the final two games in the set.

In Washington, Wilson Ramos drove in two with a bases-loaded single in the sixth, then crushed a tiebreaking three-run homer an inning later to lift the Nationals to an 8-5 win over the Brewers.

Washington reliever Drew Storen blew a three-run lead after Ramos, who had been on shelf since straining his left hamstring in mid-May, sent a grounder up the middle to put the Nationals up 5-2.

Storen (3-2) gave up a pair of homers in the seventh, a solo blast by Yuniesky Betancourt and a two-run shot by Carlos Gomez with two outs.

The Washington catcher, however, delivered a clutch, two-out hit of his own in the home half of the frame. Ramos followed a Anthony Rendon walk with a smash to left field off Brandon Kintzler, who replaced Tom Gorzelanny (1-1) after Jayson Werth singled to extend the inning.

Milwaukee threatened in the ninth, putting two men in scoring position, but Rafael Soriano retired Jonathan Lucroy on an infield pop up to record his 22nd save and help the Nationals salvage a split of the four-game series.

The Brewers won three of five games with the Mets in 2012.