New York (43-42) at Pittsburgh (37-47)

Fair Currently: Pittsburgh, PA
Temp: 71° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Fri Jul 8, 2005
  • TV: FSNY, FSPI
Preview | Box Score | Recap

After a revitalizing four-game series in Washington, the New York Mets will try to keep their momentum going in the opener of a weekend set with the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

New York took three of four from the NL East-leading Nationals, moving within eight games of first place in the division.

Mike Piazza drove in the go-ahead run in the 11th inning in Thursday’s 3-2 victory, handing the Nationals their first series loss at home since April. Returning from a night off, Piazza went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, snapping the Nationals’ 12-game winning streak in one-run games, three shy of the major league record.

“We’re playing better,” said Piazza, who was 0-for-8 in the series before Thursday. “From our standpoint, we’re not thinking about anything except getting above .500.”

The Mets have not been above .500 for consecutive days since June 11-12, and are hoping Victor Zambrano can help them get there.

Zambrano has allowed three runs or fewer in 13 straight starts, but is just 3-5 over that span despite lowering his ERA from 5.83 to 3.80.

He suffered a 3-0 defeat to Florida on Sunday, allowing three runs and seven hits over eight innings. It marked the eighth time in Zambrano’s last 13 starts that the Mets failed to score more than three runs.

The Pirates split a four-game series with the Phillies despite being outscored 17-7.

On Thursday, rookie left-hander Zach Duke pitched seven shutout innings for his first major league victory and Humberto Cota hit a two-run homer, giving the Pirates a 2-1 win.

The Pirates, who have won just seven of their last 24 games, will send Josh Fogg to the mound in Friday’s series opener. The right-hander is looking to snap a six-start winless streak. He has not posted a win since a 9-1 victory over Florida on June 1.

Fogg allowed three runs and three hits over five innings, but didn’t receive a decision in Pittsburgh’s 11-10 win at Milwaukee on Sunday.

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Starting Pitchers

V. Zambrano NYY vs. J. Fogg Phi
7-12 Record 6-11
4.17 ERA 5.05
112 K 85
77 BB 53
1.48 WHIP 1.47