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Mets Send Santana against Padres tonight

(Sports Network) - The Mets got a Cy Young-worthy performance out of starter Mike Pelfrey on Tuesday night. Given how it has struggled on the road this season, New York could use another one out of Johan Santana.

Santana aims to pitch his club to its first series win on the road this evening in the finale of a three-game series versus the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

After getting blasted, 18-6, in Monday's opener, a game in which the Padres set a single-game record for runs scored in their ballpark, Pelfrey settled things down in a 4-2 victory the following night. The right-hander hurled eight innings of one-run ball and struck out a career-high eight batters while getting backed with homers by Ike Davis and David Wright.

"I thought I had a good fastball and I thought the split was good," Pelfrey said after winning his fourth straight start. "When I threw the curveball I threw it for strikes. I thought I had decent command."

Francisco Rodriguez gave up a run in the ninth inning, allowing an infield single by Nick Hundley that scored David Eckstein, but held on for his 10th save as the Mets won for the seventh time in 10 games.

New York also won for just the fourth time in its last 14 road games and is 8-17 as the guest this year. The club is 0-6-2 in its first eight road series this year, its longest streak without winning a road series to start a season since going 0-13-3 in 1983.

That elusive series win will be tough to get at Petco Park, where the Mets have still lost 10 of 13 over the last three-plus seasons and are just 7-16 all-time.

The Mets can't blame their road troubles on Santana, who is 0-1 in five starts as the guest with a 3.31 earned run average. However, minus Santana's horrid outing in Philadelphia on May 2 in which he allowed 10 runs over just 3 2/3 innings, the left-hander has yielded just two runs over 29 road innings, good for a 0.62 ERA.

Santana hasn't lost since that May 2 debacle, though he has just one win over his last five starts despite a 1.69 ERA. He was nearly flawless on Friday versus the Brewers, allowing three hits and two walks over eight shutout innings. However, New York lost 2-0 to give Santana another no-decision.

"He has competed just like he always does; I'm very impressed with that," Mets manager Jerry Manuel told New York's website. "The changeup looks like it's back to having that little late movement at the end with great, great arm speed. He's right where he wants to be."

The 31-year-old Venezuelan is 4-2 on the season with a 3.03 ERA and 2-2 with a 2.41 ERA in five career starts versus San Diego.

The Padres will aim for better luck tonight versus Santana than they had against Pelfrey. They had 19 hits in Monday's blowout win, but were held to just seven last night. Hundley had three of them while Eckstein added a pair of doubles and also drove in a run.