Mets, Nats kick off series with doubleheader

Jenrry Mejia has pitched in just five games since the 2010 season. Friday, the New York Mets right-hander makes his return to the majors for his season debut in the opener of a doubleheader against the Washington Nationals that kicks off a four-game set.

Mejia, who reportedly will need offseason elbow surgery to remove bone spurs, has been pitching in the minors this season. He earned the win for Double-A Binghamton over New Britain on Saturday.

His start this afternoon will mark only the seventh of his major league career in his 39th outing.

His last major league appearance was Sept. 20, 2012 at Turner Field, where he lost to the Atlanta Braves. While pitching in the minors in April 2011 Mejia was diagnosed with a torn medial collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. He had Tommy John surgery and didn't return to the majors until Sept. 7 last year.

Mejia has made four career appearances against the Nationals, all in relief.

Countering on the mound for the Nats in the day game will be Jordan Zimmermann, who has compiled a 9-1 mark with a 2.50 ERA at home this season. The right-hander had been unbeaten at Nationals Park until his most recent outing, Sunday against the Dodgers as he was shelled for eight hits and seven runs in two innings of a 9-2 defeat. That was the shortest start of his career and it also broke a 14-0 stretch at home for Zimmermann.

Zimmermann is 0-2 over his last three starts overall. He has allowed two earned runs or less in 11 of 13 career starts against the Mets, a team he's 3-3 in 13 games against with a 2.71 ERA.

Mets righty Matt Harvey hopes to ride the momentum of his spectacular outing against the Phillies on Sunday when he takes the mound for the night game. Harvey allowed three hits in seven shutout inning and had 10 strikeouts. The All-Star starter is 3-1 over his last eight appearances. He comes into tonight leading the NL in strikeouts (157), second in opponents' batting average (.192) and third in ERA (2.23).

In three starts against the Nationals, Harvey is 1-1 with a 1.42 ERA.

Ross Ohlendorf gets the spot start in the night contest for the Nats. He followed Zimmermann in the horrendous defeat versus the Dodgers by throwing six innings. Ohlendorf gave up six hits and a pair of runs.

This will be the right-hander's second start and ninth appearance of the season. Ohlendorf has made three relief outings and a start versus the Mets and has an 18.00 ERA, allowing 20 hits and 16 runs in eight total innings.

Both teams are coming off victories Thursday afternoon, with the Nationals securing the most dramatic outcome.

After blowing a four-run lead in the top of the ninth, the Nats got a two-run homer from Bryce Harper in the bottom half to take a 9-7 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Pirates scored four runs off Rafael Soriano in the ninth to tie the contest at seven. Pittsburgh then sent Bryan Morris (4-4) to the mound in the home half. Roger Bernadina reached base on a fielder's choice before Harper's two-out homer to center.

Ryan Zimmerman and Steve Lombardozzi each went 3-for-5 with an RBI for Washington, which snapped a six-game skid. Adam LaRoche knocked in two runs.

"I think it's huge," Harper said of the comeback win. "We ran into some good teams. The Dodgers are playing very well right now. The Pirates are playing very well right now and have played well all year. Hopefully this will carry on."

John Buck drove in three runs to back Zack Wheeler, as the Mets salvaged a split of their four-game set against the Atlanta Braves with Thursday's 7-4 win.

Daniel Murphy and Marlon Byrd each went 3-for-5 with an RBI for the Mets, while David Wright had two hits and one RBI.

The Mets were 4-for-19 with runners in scoring position and stranded 14 men on base. Despite that, they won for the fifth time in eight contests, but find themselves in a double-digit hole in the wild card standings and 10 games back of first-place Atlanta in the NL East. They entered Friday two games behind Philadelphia and Washington for second in the division.

"We dug ourselves quite a hole the first six weeks of the season," Wright said. "We have to be better than pretty good from here on out to get back in this thing."

The teams have split eight meetings this season.