The struggling Mets hope Pedro Martinez can provide another lift for them Sunday as they try to avoid being swept by the Padres for the first time in almost four years.
The Mets (30-31) have lost three consecutive games to the Padres (27-37) after entering this four-game series having won seven of nine.
New York is hitting only .202 during the series - including 2-for-21 with runners in scoring position - while San Diego has won a season-high four in a row to become the first team in major-league history to take each of those contests with 2-1 scores.
A night earlier, an error by Johan Santana led to a two-run rally for San Diego in the sixth, and on Thursday Scott Schoeneweis hit Pat McAnulty in the bottom of the ninth to force in the winning run in the series opener.
“We’re an interesting team, at the very least,” said Padres catcher Michael Barrett, who hit a solo homer Saturday. “We are on an unbelievable roll.”
Martinez (1-0, 6.75 ERA) would try to help the Mets end their seven-game West Coast trip on a positive note, while avoiding their first sweep to San Diego since dropping four straight from Aug. 23-26, 2004.
Martinez provided a lift for New York on Tuesday, allowing three runs in six innings of a 9-6 win at San Francisco in his first start since being activated off the disabled list. It was the veteran right-hander’s first start since a left hamstring strain ended his season debut early on April 1.
“I’m thankful to be back. I hope I can stay a little longer,” said Martinez, who helped himself with two singles and an RBI and left to a standing ovation. “It was a while back (the last outing), especially with all the distractions I had off the field, which made it even tougher. … I still feel like every time I’m given the ball I have the same responsibility, to set an example.”
The three-time Cy Young award winner has won his last two starts against the Padres, posting a 1.88 ERA. However, he hasn’t faced them since Aug. 9, 2006, and hasn’t pitched at Petco Park since April 22 of that season. Since that contest, the Mets are 1-6 in San Diego.
The Padres, who started their winning streak with Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Chicago, are looking for their first five-game winning streak since a seven-game run Sept. 14-20.
They’ll give the ball to Wilfredo Ledezma (0-2, 4.43), who started the season in the bullpen and has pitched five innings in only one of five starts.
The left-hander battled control issues Tuesday, throwing 100 pitches in 4 2-3 innings while not getting a decision after allowing three runs, three hits and five walks in a 9-6 loss to Chicago.
This will be Ledezma’s first career start against the Mets.