(Sports Network) - Emerging ace Mike Pelfrey has been one of baseball's biggest surprises this season and will make his 12th start tonight for the New York Mets in the first of three straight matchups with the hard-charging San Diego Padres at Citi Field.
Pelfrey has won his last four starts with a 1.26 earned run average over that stretch, and hopes to remain unbeaten at home as well. Pelfrey, who is 5-0 in seven home starts in 2010, won his previous outing last Tuesday in a 4-2 victory at San Diego. He held tonight's opponent to a run and four hits in eight innings with eight K's and two walks.
The right-hander is 8-1 with a 2.39 ERA and a save in 12 overall games -- 11 starts -- this season and will face San Diego for the fifth time in his career. Pelfrey is 2-0 through four lifetime starts in this series.
New York can use another strong performance from Pelfrey on Tuesday and posted a three-game sweep of the Florida Marlins with Sunday's 7-6 victory in the series finale at Citi Field. Angel Pagan scored the go-ahead run in the b ottom of the eighth inning on Ike Davis' groundout and Jeff Francoeur belted a three-run homer for the Mets, who have won 10 of their last 14 games and sit 2 1/2 games off the lead in the jumbled National League East.
"We fought hard and stayed in it, and we were able to kind of make it happen in the end," Francoeur said after New York's eighth straight win at home.
Pedro Feliciano earned the win for getting the final out of the eighth inning. Mets starter Hisanori Takahashilasted 5 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on six hits with two walks and five K's in the no-decision. Francisco Rodriguez picked up his 12th save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
San Diego just split a four-game set in Philadelphia and rode the left arm of Wade LeBlanc in Monday's 3-1 victory in the series finale. LeBlanc stymied the Phillies with seven shutout innings and scattered four hits, while Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless eighth before closer Heath Bell allowed a run and struck out two batters in the ninth for his 16th save.
"He was making some good pitches, moving the ball in and out," said Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez, who belted a pair of homers and has gone deep three times in the last two games with five RBI in that span. "When we get a lead and Wade's throwing the ball so great, and our bullpen is going to come in, we know we're in a pretty good place."
Scott Hairston had two hits and drove in a run for the National League West- leading Padres, who are just a half-game ahead of Los Angeles in the division standings. San Diego is 2-2 on a seven-game road trip.
Padres starter Clayton Richard hopes to get back on track when he makes his 12th start of the season tonight in Flushing, NY. Richard is 0-1 in his last two starts after going 4-0 in seven previous trips to the mound.
In a 5-1 win versus the Mets last Wednesday, Richard did not factor in the outcome despite holding the opposition to a run and four hits in six innings with five strikeouts and four walks. The lefty remained at 4-3 on the season and dropped his ERA to 2.87.
Richard is 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA in two career starts against the Mets.
San Diego just won a three-game series versus the Mets at Petco Park from May 31-June 2 and is 14-5 in the past 19 meetings between the teams.