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Mets eye first win with Reds in town
(SportsNetwork.com) - Young Dominican right-hander Jenrry Mejia can continue his momentum from a standout spring training when the New York Mets host the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night in the opening game of a three-game series.
The 24-year-old dueled former Boston ace Daisuke Matsuzaka for the fifth spot in the Mets rotation in March and won the competition after striking out 13 batters and posting a 2.70 earned run average in 13 1/3 spring innings.
He was hit by a comebacker in his final spring appearance and suffered a bruised forearm, but X-rays were negative and he's been cleared to pitch against the Reds.
Mejia will be opposed by Reds veteran Mike Leake, who had his best major- league season in 2013.
The Arizona State alumnus posted career-highs in wins (14), earned run average (3.37), strikeouts (122), innings pitched (192 1/3) and starts (31), then built on that breakout with six scoreless innings in his final spring training start.
He was hit hard in his most recent outing against New York, allowing four runs on eight hits in just 1 2/3 innings of a 4-2 loss in Cincinnati last September, but had registered a 1.31 ERA against the Mets in five previous starts.
Leake is 18-12 in his career on the road and won his lone lifetime decision at Citi Field.
On Thursday in Cincinnati, Jhonny Peralta smacked a two-run homer and Matt Adams went 3-for-5 with two runs scored as the St. Louis Cardinals waited out another long rain delay before posting a 7-6 win over the Reds.
Cincinnati's Homer Bailey (0-1) wasn't effective in his season debut, permitting four runs on seven hits and walking three before exiting after 4 1/3 innings.
The start of the game was pushed back three hours and 42 minutes by the weather. Wednesday's matchup, a 1-0 Reds' walk-off win, was delayed two hours and 40 minutes by rain.
In New York, Ryan Zimmerman went 4-for-5 with a homer and two RBI as the Washington Nationals completed a season-opening three-game sweep of the Mets with an 8-2 win.
New Met Curtis Granderson broke out of an early slump, finishing 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI. He had gone 0-for-9 with five strikeouts in the first two games.
Juan Lagares continued his hot start to the season for New York, which is off to its worst opening to a season since beginning the 2005 campaign with five straight setbacks. The center fielder ended 1-for-3 with an RBI and is now batting .455 with two doubles, a homer, two RBI and four runs scored in three games.
The Mets haven't dropped their first four home games since 1992.
New York starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing three runs on seven hits in six innings. The right-hander threw 114 pitches, striking out six and walking two.
Cincinnati is 12-5 all time at Citi Field, which included a three-game sweep in 2013 and a 7-1 record there over the past two seasons. The Reds are also 4-0-1 in their last five series in Flushing.
04/04 09:47:36 ET