Mets - Marlins Thursday Game Preview

Now streaking in the other direction, the New York Mets look for their third straight home win tonight when they host Florida. Poor at the plate all season, the Mets ended a National League-record 15-game home losing streak in style, scoring 22 runs in two victories – the most runs scored in consecutive games all season.

Leading the charge have been some of the Mets' most disappointing hitters to date, most prominently Jeromy Burnitz, who has gone 3-for-6 with five runs scored. The awakening bats also coincides with the return of Mike Piazza, who missed five games with a left wrist injury but has played in the last three, going 4-for-9 with two homers and five RBIs.

New York will try to keep the bats going against Florida's Brad Penny, who has recovered from a slow start and arm problems to win his last three decisions to improve to 6-4.

Penny, expected to be one of the mainstays in the Marlins' young rotation, missed six weeks from mid-May to early July, then was hit hard by the Mets in two straight starts, a 9-3 loss July 7 and an 8-3 loss eight days later.

Since those starts, Penny has been outstanding in seven of his last eight outings, lowering his ERA from 6.08 to 4.47. In six of the starts, Penny has allowed two runs or less.

The Mets counter with human rain delay Steve Trachsel, who is having a strong second half for the second straight year. Trachsel has lost his last three decisions to fall to 8-10, but in his last four starts, he has given up six earned runs in 21 innings, a 2.57 ERA. In his last start, Trachsel gave up one run and seven hits in eight innings, but lost 1-0 to Philadelphia on Aug. 31.

-- Just as the Mets seem to be hitting their stride offensively, another injury – this time, it's Roberto Alomar, who left Wednesday's game with inflammation in his left knee. He's considered day-to-day. Joe McEwing replaced him in the lineup and had an RBI single in two at-bats.

-- Lefty reliever Pedro Feliciano made his major league debut Wednesday, walking one and striking out two in two scoreless innings.

-- Esix Sneed stole his first major league base Wednesday after pinch-running for John Valentin.



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