(Sports Network) - While a series in August is hardly a must-win, it is certainly one the New York Mets would like to walk away from victorious. That task could get a bit easier if 10-game winner Mike Pelfrey can find his first- half form.
Pelfrey seeks his first victory in over a month and New York will try to win back-to-back games for the first time since late June in this evening's rubber match of a three-game series with the first-place Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.
New York is just 15-25 since an eight-game winning streak from June 10-18 and after losing Monday's opener, rebounded for a 3-2 win last night on former Brave Jeff Francoeur's home run to begin the ninth inning off Atlanta closer Billy Wagner.
"That's the best swing I've taken in a long time," said Francoeur, who was mired in a 1-for-23 rut before the home run. "Usually I can hide my emotions pretty good when I'm out there, but I had to let out a little smile. The guys in the dugout pounded me pretty good, that was exciting."
Francoeur also scored the game-tying run in the seventh inning on Chris Carter's pinch-hit single, putting the Mets in position to win consecutive games for the first time since June 22-23. They also pulled within 6 1/2 games of first place in the National League East, while the front-running Braves saw their edge over the Philadelphia Phillies fall to just two games.
Pelfrey was 10-2 with a 2.71 earned run average on June 25, but has gone 0-3 with a 9.59 ERA in six starts since. He has allowed at least four runs in all but one of those outings and is coming off Friday's no-decision versus Arizona in which he gave up five runs -- four earned -- on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings.
Now 10-5 with a 4.10 ERA on the season, the right-handed Pelfrey has lost to the Braves during his current slide, yielding four runs and 12 hits over just four frames of work on July 10. Lifetime, the 26-year-old is 4-6 with a 5.43 ERA against them.
The Braves counter with Kris Medlen, who hasn't won since July 7 and is 6-2 with a 3.66 ERA in 30 games this year, including 13 starts.
The 24-year-old righty last started Friday at Cincinnati and gave up three runs on six hits over five innings of work. He did not factor into the decision of his team's 6-4 win.
Medlen has allowed two runs in 13 2/3 career innings versus the Mets without a decision, spanning six games with one start.
Braves first baseman Troy Glaus is expected to be held out of the starting lineup for a second straight game tonight. The slumping slugger, who turned 34 on Tuesday, hasn't homered since June 19, hitting .162 in 34 games since with just six RBI.
Glaus hit into a double play as a pinch-hitter in last night's setback, Atlanta's third in four games and eighth in their last 13 contests. Melky Cabrera drove in both Atlanta runs.
"Any loss is tough, but it was a good ballgame," said Wagner. "It was going to come down to one hit and who could get that one run across and they got it. They had been struggling just as bad as we were to get that run."
The Braves have still beaten the Mets in 12 of the last 18 overall meetings and are 16-6 at home versus them since the 2008 season.