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Pirates At Mets: Dillon Gee Making Second Start

(Sports Network) - In what can only be considered a disappointing season for the New York Mets, they are trying to find all the bright spots they can.

Starter Dillon Gee could end up being one of them.

Coming off a sensational major league debut, Gee takes the ball tonight for New York's opener of a four-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field.

Pitching in place of the injured Johan Santana, who isn't expected to pitch again this year due to a left shoulder injury, the 24-year-old Gee took on the Washington Nationals last Tuesday and carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. He ended up allowing just one run on two hits and three walks over seven innings, adding an RBI single in the victory.

Despite shoulder surgery a year ago and a career-high 168 1/3 total innings pitched this year, the Mets will give Gee a good look going down the stretch.

"We have had some discussions about [shutting him down]," manager Jerry Manuel told New York's website. "Unless we see a significant problem -- velocity or stuff like that -- we will continue to use him."

Gee might not be in line for much support tonight, given that the Mets managed just four hits off Philadelphia starter Roy Oswalt in a 3-0 setback on Sunday. The loss was New York's second of the three-game set which began a 10-game homestand.

Starter Jon Niese was solid over seven innings, yielding three runs on eight hits. However, New York did not advance a runner past first base in the game.

"[The ball] came out of his hand pretty good," Mets catcher Josh Thole said of Niese. "It makes the cutter, curveball, everything else that much harder to hit."

Pirates starter James McDonald will try to win a second straight outing after he halted a three-start losing streak with seven scoreless innings of five-hit ball versus Atlanta on Tuesday. The right-hander improved to 3-4 with a 4.17 earned run average in seven starts since coming over from the Dodgers in a trade.

McDonald, 25, made his first career start versus the Mets on Aug. 21 after facing them four times in relief and got the loss for allowing five runs, six hits and five walks over five innings of work. He has a lifetime 8.64 ERA versus New York.

Pittsburgh snapped a three-game slide in thrilling fashion on Sunday versus National League Central-leading Cincinnati.

Trailing by a run in the ninth inning, the Pirates loaded the bases off Reds closer Francisco Cordero with one out before Jose Tabata grounded into a force play at home. However, Andrew McCutchen came through with a bases-clearing double and Joel Hanrahan notched the save in the 3-1 win despite loading the bases in the bottom of the ninth.

"[Cordero] threw sliders before to me and on the fourth pitch he threw me another one," said McCutchen. "It was one of those things that when you've seen it a few times you know how it's going to come out of his hands."

Pittsburgh's Neil Walker extended his hitting streak to 18 games in the win, the longest by a Pirates rookie since Rennie Stennett's 18-game run in 1971. Walker is hitting .364 (28-for-77) over his streak with five homers and 18 RBI.

New York took two of three in Pittsburgh from Aug. 20-22.