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Mets, Wheeler go after split in Oakland

( - New York right-hander Zack Wheeler goes after a sixth straight winning decision on Wednesday when the Mets close out a brief two- game set with the Oakland Athletics at Coliseum.

Wheeler has started to come into his own, going 5-0 over his last nine starts with a 2.02 ERA. He has also allowed more than two earned runs just once in that span and has turned in a quality start in each of his last nine trips to the hill.

He was again on point Friday versus Chicago, as he limited the Cubs to a pair of runs over 6 2/3 innings. He also struck out 10 batters and improved to 8-8 on the year to go along with a 3.49 ERA.

"(Wheeler) can overpower some teams," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He was throwing the ball very well early. He got some strikeouts early, and I think he went back to pitching to contact where he got some easier outs. He got some outs with two and three pitches as opposed to seven."

Oakland, meanwhile, will turn to righty Jeff Samardzija, who is coming off his first loss in more than a month.

Samardzija fell in Kansas City on Thursday, as the red-hot Royals reached him for four runs (3 earned) and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. He also struck out five batters without allowing a walk, but still lost for the first time since July 11 and dropped to 3-2 with a 3.21 ERA since being acquired from Chicago.

The Mets have had Samardzija's number in the past, as the right-hander is 0-2 in eight games (2 starts) against them with a 7.00 ERA.

Oakland snapped a five-game losing streak in the opener of this set on Tuesday, as Scott Kazmir struck out six over six innings strong innings and the Athletics rolled to a 6-2 win.

Kazmir (14-5) set a new career-high in wins and allowed a run, four hits and three walks.

Coco Crisp cleared the bases with a three-run triple in the fourth inning and Josh Reddick added a two-run homer for Oakland, which returned home following a road trip in which the club went just 1-6.

The A's sit a half-game back of the Angels, who were winners in Boston on Tuesday night, for the best record in the American League West.

"Certainly Coco's hit was huge, it felt like about 10 runs at the time," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "The offense was a little more like what we're used to seeing."

Dillon Gee's (4-6) pitching woes continued, surrendering four runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings to absorb the loss. Gee dropped to 0-5 over his last seven starts.

"Dillon is up in the zone and that's just not where he pitches," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "He fell behind counts, I don't know if his rhythm is bad ... he's a better pitcher than what he is right now."

New York split a two-game set with Oakland at Citi Field back in June.

08/20 09:07:31 ET

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