Mets-Pirates preview –9/26

The up-and-down season for the New York Mets continues as the Mets try to avoid a sweep at Pittsburgh tonight.

Game time is scheduled for 7:10 p.m., with coverage on MSG. Tonight's forecast in Pittsburgh calls for showers.

Wednesday's 4-3 loss dropped the Mets to 74-83 and was New York's third straight. Since Aug. 1, the Mets are 19-32 and have five losing streaks of at least three games.

In the meantime, the Pirates are closing strong, having won six of their last eight games after falling to a season-worst 20 games under .500 on Sept. 16. Pittsburgh has taken four of the five meetings with the Mets in 2002.

John Thomson makes his final 2002 start for the Mets tonight. Thomson, 9-13 with a 4.74 ERA in 29 starts with the Mets and Colorado, is making his eighth start as a Met, sporting a 2-5 mark.

In five career starts against Pittsburgh, Thomson is 2-1 with a 5.28 ERA in 30 2/3 innings. He's been hit especially hard by Pirates catcher Jason Kendall (5-for-9, 2 RBIs) and Kevin Young (3-for-10 with a homer and 2 RBIs).

Salomon Torres makes his fifth start for Pittsburgh. The one-time San Francisco prospect is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA, including 8 1/3 scoreless innings in a 3-0 win over Atlanta in his 2002 debut on Sept. 3. In 20 1/3 innings of work, Torres has walked 11.

Torres has no decisions in two lifetime appearances against the Mets, allowing three runs on eight hits and just one walk in 10 innings. John Valentin (3-for-6), Mike Piazza (2-for-5) and Jeromy Burnitz (1-for-3) are the only Mets hitters over .300 against Torres, though Mo Vaughn has one hit and three walks in seven career at-bats versus the righty.

After today's game, the Mets return to New York for a four-game season-ending series with Atlanta. Friday's doubleheader, forced after a rainout on June 27. Game 1 is scheduled for 5:10 p.m.

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