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National League Preview from The Sports Network

Saturday, July 7th (All times eastern)

Chicago Cubs (32-51) at New York Mets (45-39), 4:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Jeff Samardzija (6-7, 4.77) New York - Dillon Gee (5-7, 4.34)

(Sports Network) - Jeff Samardzija hopes for better results this time against the New York Mets than the last time he faced them, as the Chicago Cubs continue a three-game set at Citi Field.

Samardzija was rocked by the Mets back on June 27 to tune of nine runs and six hits in only 4 1/3 innings of a 17-1 setback. He was able to bounce back nicely in Atlanta on Monday, though, as he allowed a run and four hits in seven innings to get the win.

He also struck out a career-high 11 batters and improved to 6-7 to go along with a 4.77 ERA.

"You expect him to build on the experiences he had to go through in the last month," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said after Samardzija's last start. "Sometimes it's just like hitters -- a hitter is hitting .300 and he wants to hit .330 and he comes up with new things, and it gets away from him instead of understanding what you are and what made you successful and sticking to that and not getting too complicated."

In Friday's opener, Anthony Rizzo continued to crush Mets pitching, as the young first baseman had four hits and smacked a go-ahead three-run home run in a five-run fifth inning to help the Cubs take an 8-7 win.

In three games this season against the Mets Rizzo is 7-for-13 with two doubles, a home run and three RBI. He's hitting .375 overall with four homers and nine RBI, while reaching base safely in all 10 games, seven of which have been wins.

"For 10 games, he's been pretty good," Sveum said. "To sit on pitches like he does, and have an educated guess like he does is impressive."

Travis Wood (4-3) was charged for three runs -- two earned -- on five hits and four walks over six-plus innings to earn his fourth straight victory.

"As a team, we've been playing pretty good baseball these last couple weeks," remarked Wood. "Hopefully we come back (after the All-Star break) and keep it going."

Johan Santana (6-5) didn't make it out of the fifth inning for the Mets after giving up seven runs on 13 hits over 4 2/3 innings to absorb the loss.

Lucas Duda and Jordany Valdespin each smacked solo shots for the Mets, who lost for the third time in their last five contests.

Hoping to get them back into the win column today will be righty Dillon Gee, who is 5-7 with a 4.34 ERA. Gee lost for the fourth time in five starts on Sunday in Los Angeles, as the Dodgers reached him for four runs (2 earned) and five hits in six innings.

Gee lost to the Cubs two starts ago and is 1-1 with a 6.55 ERA in two starts.

The Cubs won two of three in a late June series in Chicago and won the season series in 2011, four games to two. The Mets last won a season series in 2010 when then won four of seven.

07/07 10:27:53 ET

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