Marlins-Mets Preview

The Associated Press

Jose Reyes has kept his career-high hitting streak going against his former team, and now Giancarlo Stanton is pounding the ball.

They've done nothing of the sort against R.A. Dickey.

Reyes and Stanton will try to help the Miami Marlins sweep the New York Mets in this three-game set Thursday, but they'll probably need to solve Dickey's dominance.

Reyes has strung together a 26-game hitting streak, the longest in the majors this year. The shortstop has hit five of his eight homers during the run while batting .365.

He connected for another homer Wednesday, a solo shot in a 13-0 rout of the Mets (53-58), and is 9 for 30 in eight games against them.

Stanton would like to keep getting in on the act after he hit a pair of two-run homers among his four hits Wednesday. He was 0 for 3 with an RBI and two strikeouts in Tuesday's 4-2 victory after missing a month following knee surgery.

"It was good to get in a little groove there and hit some balls hard back-to-back," Stanton said. "We were all swinging the bat pretty well and we fed off each other and that's what made it work."

Stanton and Reyes are in for a major test at the plate, as R.A. Dickey (14-3, 2.82 ERA) attempts to continue his mastery of the Marlins (51-60), and become the NL's first 15-game winner.

The right-handed knuckleballer has won five starts in a row against the Marlins behind a 0.82 ERA while limiting them to .228 hitting and one homer. He's beaten them twice this year, yielding three runs in 13 innings.

Dickey has also held Reyes to 2 for 12, while Stanton is 3 for 13 and his double is the only extra-base hit against him between the two.

The knuckleballer extending his dominance could go a long way in helping the Mets snap a nine-game home losing streak, their longest since Aug. 28-Sept. 12, 2004.

They haven't endured a longer skid as host since a franchise-record 15-game slide from Aug. 1-Sept. 3, 2002.

"Right now there's nothing we can do that's right," manager Terry Collins said. "So we've just got to cinch up your belts, reach inside, find out what you're made of, find out who wants to compete in the last 50 games of the regular season, and those are the guys you want on your team."

Dickey has a 2.70 ERA in his last three starts, but has lost two of them while getting backed by one run in each defeat. That happened again in Friday's 3-1 loss at San Diego, allowing three runs and four hits with nine strikeouts in seven innings.

"It stings a little bit because we should have won this game," Dickey said.

The Marlins will counter with Josh Johnson (7-7, 3.85), who is 8-1 with a 2.59 ERA in 15 career starts versus the Mets. The right-hander didn't get a decision in his only season meeting against the NL East foe April 24, yielding one run and three hits with nine strikeouts in a 2-1 loss at Citi Field.

Johnson will try to re-establish his dominance of New York in order to help the Marlins sweep their first three-game series in Flushing since Sept. 8-10, 2009.

He's gone 2-0 with a 0.92 ERA in his last three starts - all wins for Miami. Johnson was outstanding Friday, coming one out shy of a complete game while yielding two runs and striking out nine in a 5-2 victory at Washington.

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