(Sports Network) - Right-hander Mike Pelfrey tries to reverse a career's worth of misfortune against Florida tonight when the New York Mets host the visiting Marlins for the first of three games at Citi Field.
The teams are two games apart in both the National League East race and the early stages of the wild card chase.
The Mets, two games above .500, trail first-place Philadelphia in the East by 13 1/2 games and are 7 1/2 behind the Atlanta Braves for the wild card. Florida is two games below .500 and faces deficits of 15 1/2 and 9 1/2 games, while sitting just 1 1/2 games up on Washington in the division's cellar.
New York took a tough loss on Sunday when Rick Ankiel went to third on a pitch in the dirt and scored easily on Ian Desmond's chopper over the mound in the bottom of the ninth, lifting Washington to a 3-2 win.
Hairston had two homers in the game for the Mets.
New York's Bobby Parnell (3-3) took the loss while getting only one out in the bottom of the ninth.
On Sunday in Atlanta, Ricky Nolasco pitched into the seventh inning to help Florida avoid the sweep with a 3-1 win over the Braves.
Nolasco (8-7) gave up 12 hits, but allowed just one run while striking out four to win his second straight start as the Marlins won for the sixth time in their past eight games.
New York's Pelfrey, who stands 6-foot-7, has won just once in 15 career starts against the Marlins while posting a bloated 5.29 earned run average in 85 innings. He allowed four runs on five hits in six innings in Miami on July 22, escaping with a no-decision in a 7-6 Mets win.
Pelfrey went on to a win in a subsequent start at Cincinnati, where he went the nine-inning distance and allowed just two runs on seven hits in an 8-2 defeat of the Reds.
The win was his first since a 6-0 triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 5.
For the Marlins, surging righty Javier Vazquez aims for a fourth win in five starts.
The Puerto Rican was 4-8 on the season after a 1-0 loss at Oakland on June 28, but has subsequently gone 3-1 in five starts, including a 7-5 win at Washington on July 27 - the day after he turned 35 years old.
Vazquez is an even 10-10 in 26 career meetings with the Mets.
Florida is 10-11 in his 21 starts this season.
The Marlins are 5-3 versus the Mets this season.