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Mets Take To The Road, Face Cleveland Indians

(Sports Network) - The New York Mets are hoping that a weekend sweep will get their road game back on a consistent track. Starter Johan Santana can second that wish.

Coming off his first loss in over a month, Santana will take the hill in tonight's opener of a three-game set at Progressive Field versus the Cleveland Indians, who will try to get a third straight winning start out of Justin Masterson.

The Mets came into their weekend set with the Orioles just 8-18 on the road this season, but they swept a three-game set from last-place Baltimore to up that mark and get within 1 1/2 games of first-place Atlanta in the National League East.

New York, which opened a nine-game road trip with the series, broke out its bats in Sunday's 11-4 finale. David Wright hit a pair of two-run homers and Jason Bay went 4-for-4 with a home run as part of an 18-hit attack that helped starter Mike Pelfrey earn his ninth victory of the season.

"Right now a lot of things are going our way," said Mets manager Jerry Manuel. "We're getting big hits, making plays when they need to be made and making pitches when they need to be made."

Wright now has 12 home runs on the season, two more than he had in 144 games last year and 10 of his long balls this year have been on the road. Bay, meanwhile, was just 1-for-24 at the plate in his previous six games before Sunday's contest.

More importantly, New York picked up its first road sweep since Sept. 1-3, 2008, improved to 5-1 in interleague play this year and has won eight of its last nine overall.

Now the Mets will try to get Santana his first road win of 2010 as the left- hander is 0-1 with a 2.72 earned run average in six away starts this year.

Santana held the Brewers and Padres scoreless over a combined 15 innings on May 28 and June 2, both on the road, but didn't factor into the decision of either game, both losses for the Mets. He then faced San Diego on Thursday at home and allowed four runs and eight hits over 6 2/3 innings of a 4-2 loss, his first since May 2.

"It was just weird," said Santana, who is 1-1 with a 1.45 ERA over his last six starts. "I didn't have command of my fastball at all. I just battled through the whole game, trying to keep the ball down."

The former Minnesota Twins left-hander is 4-3 with a 2.96 ERA this year and 7-7 with a 3.42 ERA in 30 career games versus the Indians, 20 of those starts.

Santana will counter Masterson, who has won back-to-back starts since a personal 19-game winless drought (0-11) that dated back to last August. The 25-year-old halted the skid with 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball versus the White Sox on June 4 before holding the Red Sox to a pair of hits in an 11-0 victory on Wednesday, the first shutout of his career and second complete game.

"I was just building off the last couple starts ... the last two have been pretty good and it went in to tonight. We were getting that first strike in there, which makes guys swing at pitches they might not always swing at," Masterson said.

The right-hander is 2-5 with a 4.74 ERA this year and will make his first career start versus the Mets. He did face them in relief once before and gave up a run on three hits over three innings of work.

The Indians had a four-game winning streak halted with Sunday's 9-4 setback to the Nationals. Cleveland had scored 33 runs over its win streak, but fell to 4-3 on a 10-game homestand.

Travis Hafner homered in defeat and Shin-Soo Choo added a late two-run single. David Huff took the loss after allowing six runs over 5 2/3 innings.

These two clubs haven't met since the Mets took two of three at home over the Indians on June 15-17, 2004. They haven't battled in Cleveland since 2002, when New York also won two of three meetings.