National League Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, May 23rd (All times Eastern)
New York Mets (23-20) at Pittsburgh Pirates (20-23), 12:35 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Jonathon Niese (2-2, 4.85) Pittsburgh - Charlie Morton (2-4, 4.35)
(Sports Network) - Lefty Jonathon Niese tries to end a six-start drought today when the New York Mets play the rubber match of a three-game series with the host Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.
The 25-year-old Ohio native, chosen by the Mets in the seventh round of the 2005 draft, is in the initial season of a five-year, $25.27 million contract he signed after winning 11 times through 27 appearances in 2011.
Niese began this season with wins against Atlanta and Philadelphia in April, but has since gone more than a month without a victory and losing twice, including a 14-5 interleague decision at Toronto on May 18.
He allowed eight runs on eight hits in just three innings against the Blue Jays, allowing four home runs and a pair of walks.
Niese has a 1-0 record in two career starts against the Pirates.
For Pittsburgh, righty Charlie Morton goes for victory No. 3 in his eighth start of the season.
The 28-year-old native of New Jersey, who won 10 of 20 decisions in 2011, has tossed 39 1/3 innings across seven outings while surrendering 48 hits and 19 earned runs.
The Pirates are 2-5 in his seven starts, including a 6-0 loss at Detroit on May 18 in which he allowed four runs on nine hits in six innings.
His last win came May 12 against Houston and he's 0-1 in four lifetime meetings with the Mets, posting a 4.76 earned run average in 17 innings.
On Tuesday, a pair of eighth-inning runs supported a strong outing from R.A. Dickey as the Mets defeated the Pirates, 3-2.
The game was tied entering the eighth, but Lucas Duda delivered an RBI single off Juan Cruz (1-1) and Kirk Nieuwenhuis scored on an error by third baseman Pedro Alvarez to make it 3-1.
Dickey (6-1) recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts, did not walk a batter and allowed just one run over seven innings to earn the win.
"A lot of times you throw (the knuckleball) and it does what it's going to do," Dickey said. "Tonight, mechanically, I was in a place where I could get it to do a couple of different things where I wanted to and that was the difference."
Mike Nickeas added an RBI single for New York, which had lost seven of 11 coming in, including the series opener Monday.
James McDonald countered Dickey with eight strikeouts and also gave up just one run over seven frames, while Andrew McCutchen drove in a pair of runs for the Pirates.
"Tough loss. Everybody played hard, played some good defense at times," McDonald said. "My team did what I asked from them and that's play hard behind me and that's all you can ask for."
New York and Pittsburgh split eight meetings in 2011, with each team winning twice on the other's home field.
05/23 10:46:58 ET