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Mets Try To Climb Over .500 Against Pirates

(Sports Network) - The New York Mets can capture a road series against a National League rival for the first time this season when they visit the Pittsburgh Pirates in game two of a three-game weekend set at PNC Park.

The Mets captured Friday's opener, 7-2, with eight effective innings from Mike Pelfrey and a 15-hit offensive attack.

Pelfrey (12-7) gave up two runs -- one earned -- on six hits and two walks, and struck out five.

The Mets' offense was led by Jose Reyes and David Wright, as each went 3- for-5 with a stolen base and two runs scored. Chris Carter was 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI for New York.

The loss clinched an 18th straight losing season for the Pirates, an inglorious record in American professional sports.

Ryan Doumit homered for the Pirates.

Pittsburgh starter Jeff Karstens (2-10) lost his fourth consecutive start after allowing all seven runs on 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Young lefty Jonathon Niese gets the call on the mound for New York with a chance to earn a first win since July 27.

The 23-year-old moved to 7-4 on the season with an 8-2 defeat of St. Louis that night at Citi Field, but is 0-1 in four outings since.

Niese has allowed 23 hits and 10 runs in those four outings, including just one run in each of the last three.

He got a no-decision in one career start against Pittsburgh after allowing two runs on seven hits in six innings.

For the Pirates, it's 25-year-old James McDonald making his fourth start of the season and just the ninth of his big-league career.

The 6-foot-5, 195-pounder reached the majors with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008 and stuck with the big club last season while appearing in 45 games.

He pitched in four games with the Dodgers to begin 2010 before coming to Pittsburgh and subsequently making three starts, winning twice.

McDonald allowed three hits and a run in seven innings of his most-recent outing, a 7-1 defeat of the Florida Marlins on Aug. 16 in Pittsburgh.

He faced the Mets twice in July while still with Los Angeles and allowed two hits and three runs in two-thirds of an inning of relief. He's faced them four times overall while posting an 8.10 earned run average.

The Mets won four of their seven meetings with the Bucs a year ago.