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Mets At Dodgers: Niese, Mets Look To Keep Rolling

(Sports Network) – With Jose Reyes still bothered by a strained left hamstring, Jason Bay has put the New York Mets on his back and hopes to lead the club to a series win tonight in the third portion of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chavez Ravine.

Bay led the Mets to a 6-0 victory over the Dodgers last night with a pair of home runs, including a three-run shot in the eighth inning, and four RBI, extending his hitting streak to a season-high eight games. He is batting .366 in the streak with three homers and 12 RBI.

“I’m not really the only guy out there, but sometimes you feel that way,” Bay said. “The biggest thing was putting my head down and keep going. You struggle, and struggle, but when you have a night like this, you realize you’re the same guy you’ve always been.”

Carlos Beltran finished 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and a pair of runs scored for the Mets, who are still 10 1/2 games off the pace in the NL East, but have won three straight and nine of 13 games. The Mets are 2-0 so far on this seven-game west coast trip through Los Angeles and San Francisco, and received six shutout innings from winning starter Mike Pelfrey.

Meanwhile, Reyes hasn’t played since leaving Saturday’s game against the New York Yankees with the injured hamstring. He leads the majors with a .354 batting average. 124 hits, 43 multi-hit games and 15 triples. The speedy shortstop was voted to start next week’s All-Star Game and has been limited to riding a stationary bike, walking on a treadmill and taking batting practice.

“It’s better than yesterday,” Reyes said Tuesday. “But it’s still not quite where it needs to be.”

Reyes’ status is still uncertain and the Mets may just rest him until after the Mid-Summer Classic.

Aiming to pitch the Mets to a series triumph tonight will be Jonathon Niese, who was 6-2 with a 3.06 ERA in 10 starts before losing to the Yankees in Friday’s 5-1 decision. Niese, a left-hander, allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings to fall to 7-7 with a 3.72 ERA in 17 starts. Niese is 4-3 in eight road starts and did not record a decision in a 6-3 win versus the Dodgers at Citi Field on May 6. He gave up three runs in 5 2/3 innings.

The Mets will visit the Giants for three games this weekend.

Los Angeles will try to avoid matching a season-high five-game losing streak tonight and is 0-2 so far on a seven-game homestand. It dropped its fourth straight game last night, as Ted Lilly was dealt the loss for allowing three runs and six hits, including a pair of home runs in six innings of work.

“The home runs have hurt Teddy for sure,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “They kind of hurt us all night.”

All-Star and Home Run Derby participant Matt Kemp had two of his team’s eight hits, while Jamey Carroll tripled for the Dodgers, who have lost nine of 12 and sit last in the National League West standings at 11 games off the lead.

The Dodgers recently learned that injured starter Jon Garland will undergo shoulder surgery and miss the remainder of the season. Garland, a right- hander, is slated to undergo exploratory surgery Monday.

“Shoulder surgery for a Major League pitcher is serious stuff,” said Dodgers trainer Stan Conte on the club’s site. “He tried rest and therapy and couldn’t progress without pain. That gave us no choice. Jon has had a great career staying off the DL, but there’s a lot of mileage on that shoulder.”

Los Angeles will send Hiroki Kuroda to the mound Wednesday and he was 0-6 with a 3.54 ERA in seven starts before hurling seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball in a 5-0 victory at the LA Angels of Anaheim last Friday. He struck out four and walked one, lifting his 2011 mark to 6-9 and lowering his earned run average from 3.10 to 2.90.

Kuroda, a right-hander, was beaten by the Mets in a 6-3 setback in Queens and gave up five runs through 5 2/3 frames. He is just 1-4 with a 5.70 ERA in six career starts in this series.

New York won two of three meetings with Los Angeles from May 6-8 at Citi Field and is 8-4 in the past 12 matchups between the two clubs.