New York (42-42) at Washington (51-33)

Cloudy Currently: Washington, DC
Temp: 57° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Thu Jul 7, 2005
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Coming off his first loss in more than a month, Kris Benson looks to help the New York Mets take the finale of their four-game series with the NL East-leading Washington Nationals at RFK Stadium.

Benson failed to hold a two-run lead and lost for the first time in six starts in Friday’s 7-3 defeat to Florida. The right-hander gave up five runs— three earned—and eight hits in six innings after he had gone 6-1 with a 3.10 ERA in his previous nine starts.

”(The Marlins) really wanted this game,” Benson said. “I mean it’s going to be tough for any team to lose a game like that. It’s tough to be in such a big game like that and not have it work out your way.”

Benson has pitched well against the Nationals franchise in his career, going 3-1 with a 3.40 ERA in six starts.

The Mets have taken two of the first three games of this series, including Wednesday night’s 5-3 victory, ending All-Star Livan Hernandez’s franchise-record run of 11 consecutive winning decisions.

Tony Armas will start for Washington on Thursday, hoping to add to his stellar record at RFK this season, where he’s 3-0 with a 2.83 ERA in five starts.

Armas, who missed the first five weeks of this season with a groin pull, got his first road win as a starter in more than two years Saturday. He gave up two runs and seven hits over five-plus innings in a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

“I’m just making progress. I’m happy. Every time out there I learn something new,” Armas said. “I just got to the fifth inning and then the relievers did the rest of the job. But I want to start pitching like I can pitch.”

Armas hadn’t won a road start since April 10, 2003 at Wrigley Field, and had been 0-6 in 10 road outings since.

“Tony is still trying to get it all together. He was better today and his pitch count wasn’t too high,” Washington manager Frank Robinson said.

“He kept us in the game.”

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Starting Pitchers

K. Benson Ari vs. T. Armas Atl
10-8 Record 7-7
4.13 ERA 4.97
95 K 59
49 BB 54
1.26 WHIP 1.52