The New York Mets are back in the friendly confines of Citi Field and will be on the rebound tonight in the opener of a three-game series versus the slumping Philadelphia Phillies.
The Mets went 4-3 on a recent road trip and dropped an 8-3 decision against the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday night in the finale of a four-game series. After scoring 34 runs during a four-game winning streak, the Mets' bat were silenced in a five-hit attack. Ruben Tejada had a team-best two hits for New York, which now sits 3 1/2 games behind Washington for the NL East lead.
Scott Hairston had a first-inning RBI single in defeat. Dillon Gee got the start for the Mets and was dealt the loss, as he allowed four runs -- two earned -- and five hits in six innings.
"We didn't play good tonight," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "Dillon pitched good and we didn't help him. We just had a bad night tonight."
New York is 23-17 at home this season and will also host the Chicago Cubs for three games on the upcoming residency.
Jonathan Niese looks to add to Philadelphia's misery when he takes the mound Tuesday. Niese has won two straight starts and four of his previous five decisions, including last Wednesday's 17-1 pounding of the Cubs at Wrigley Field. He held the hosts to a run in seven innings and struck out six batters.
Niese, who is 6-3 with a 3.55 earned run average in 15 starts, hopes to improve his 3-1 home ledger tonight in his 12th career start against the Phillies. The left-hander is 4-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 11 starts in this series.
It was announced Sunday that David Wright and R.A. Dickey were named to the All-Star team.
Philadelphia will send three players to the All-Star Game -- Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon -- but haven't played like the league's elite lately with five straight losses and seven over the last nine games.
The Phillies opened a six-game road trip by getting swept in a three-game series against the Miami Marlins, culminating with Sunday's 5-2 loss at Marlins Park. Joe Blanton was saddled with the loss after he gave up three runs in six innings, while Juan Pierre had two hits and two runs scored.
"We are where we are right now," Pierre told the club's website. "We can't go back. We've dug ourselves a pretty good hole here, and all we can do is look forward and not try to win four games in a row when you're only playing three."
Philadelphia, which is nine games under .500, is last in the NL East at 11 games off the pace and mired in a six-game road losing streak. It is 19-21 away from home and hopes Vance Worley can pitch the ballclub out of its funk when he takes the mound Tuesday. Worley ended a four-start winless streak (0-2) in last Tuesday's 5-4 win over Pittsburgh and allowed three runs in six innings.
Worley is 4-4 in 12 starts with a 2.92 ERA and lost to the Mets on April 14 this season, when he gave up four runs in six innings of a 5-0 loss. The right-hander is 3-2 with a 3.60 ERA in seven career games (5 starts) against the Mets.
The Phillies have lost six of nine matchups with New York this season, but won two of three at Citi Field from May 28-30.