Colorado (39-55) at New York (49-44)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: New York, NY
Temp: 92° F
  • Game info: 3:55 pm EDT Sat Jul 12, 2008
  • TV: FOX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

New York Mets starter Pedro Martinez is starting to pitch a little more like his old self, and he’ll be trying to extend the Mets’ longest winning streak in nearly two years Saturday.

Martinez takes the hill when the Mets continue a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies at Shea Stadium.

Martinez (3-2, 6.86 ERA) is coming off one of his stronger performances this season, allowing two runs in 5 1-3 innings of Monday’s 10-9 win in Philadelphia. The 36-year-old right-hander, who was making his eighth start and seventh since a stint on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, had allowed 17 runs in 15 innings over his previous three outings.

“I just decided to leave it all out there and keep everything in my head, make it go away and for those two hours - whatever happens, happens,” he told the Mets’ official Web site.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner, however, has not lasted more than six innings this season, and says he’s struggling with his confidence.

“I’ll throw a good one, and I’ll throw maybe two,” Martinez said of his pitches, “but then there are three bad ones.”

The Mets (49-44) will look to Martinez to lead them to their eighth straight win. New York beat Colorado 2-1 in Friday’s series opener for its longest winning streak in a season since a seven-game run Aug. 17-24, 2006.

Damion Easley, who has been bothered by a sore left quadriceps and will probably rest Saturday, went 2-for-3 and hit a tiebreaking eighth-inning homer off Taylor Buchholz.

“It’s one thing to be relaxed, like you’re sitting on the couch,” said Easley, 19-for-45 (.422) over his last 13 games. “It’s another thing to be relaxed and play with confidence. That’s what we’re doing right now.”

The Mets have not won eight in a row since June 7-15, 2006.

Martinez will be trying to continue an impressive stretch by New York pitchers. The Mets have allowed three hits in each of their last four games - a franchise first - while yielding four total runs.

Martinez, though, has had problems against the Rockies (39-55), going 2-3 with a 4.70 ERA in nine appearances - seven starts. He allowed six runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-1 loss at Colorado on June 21.

Ubaldo Jimenez (4-8, 4.21), who will again oppose Martinez on Saturday, went a career-high eight innings and yielded one run to earn the win in that contest.

Jimenez picked up his first road win of the season Monday, throwing seven scoreless innings in a 4-3 victory in Milwaukee. The right-hander is 1-6 with a 5.98 ERA in 10 starts away from home.

“That’s got to feel good, because he’s aware of it,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “You know, it’s been getting brought up. But we’re not a team that sticks its head in the sand either. He’s aware of it. He wanted to go do something different tonight.”

Jimenez is 3-1 with a 2.13 ERA over his last four starts, beginning with the win over the Mets.

The Rockies, who have totaled two runs and seven hits in their last two games, have dropped four of six since a season-best five-game winning streak. They’ve lost nine of their last 11 road games.

“I’ll tell you what: We’re looking at the wrong thing if we’re focused on Buchholz right here,” Hurdle said. “We left too many men on base, too many opportunities, it never should’ve come down to that.”

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Starting Pitchers

U. Jiménez Bal vs. P. Martinez Phi
12-12 Record 5-6
3.99 ERA 5.61
172 K 87
103 BB 44
1.43 WHIP 1.57

Scoreboard

Saturday, Jul 12