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Mets At Nationas: Mets Look To Keep Rolling Against Reeling Nationals

(Sports Network) – Going forward, the offense for the New York Mets hasn’t seemed to lose a beat minus Carlos Beltran.

On Thursday, the Mets dealt Beltran to the San Francisco Giants. Despite losing their star right fielder the Mets have been putting up runs in bunches.

Lucas Duda, who replaced Beltran in right field, has five RBI in his last three games. He drove in one last night, part of an 8-5 victory over the Nationals to start this three-game series. It marked the fifth straight victory for the Mets, one off a season-high set on April 21-27.

Although the Mets also traded away closer Francisco Rodriguez at the All-Star break, New York has flickering hopes of actually making the postseason. It enters today 6 1/2 games behind Atlanta for the wild card lead with Arizona, St. Louis and the Pirates all in between.

Judging by the way their offense has played lately, with 34 runs in their last four games, it’s not impossible to think the Mets could pull off an unlikely run to the postseason.

“When you drive in runs with two outs you’re doing good things,” said New York manager Terry Collins. “We’re getting some clutch hitting when we need it and when that happens you win games.”

If they are to extend their winning streak, the Mets will need another decent effort from knuckleball specialist R.A. Dickey. He limited the Reds to a pair of runs over 6 2/3 innings on Monday.

Countering on the mound for the Nationals will be Jason Marquis, who has just one victory over his last seven starts. He’s 6-7 with a 4.64 ERA in 24 games (17 starts) against the Mets.

Last night, the Mets hammered Chien-Ming Wang for four runs in the first inning, ruining the pitcher’s first major league start in more than two years.

Daniel Murphy and Angel Pagan both delivered RBI singles during New York’s first-inning rally as the first five batters of the game reached against Wang, the former 19-game winner who finally returned to the bigs after injury and a recent climb through Washington’s farm system.

Jose Reyes doubled and knocked in two runs and Ronny Paulino had three hits, including an RBI double for the Mets, who continued to streak after completing a four-game sweep of the Reds.

Wang (0-1) settled down to pitch well in the second and third innings before giving up two more runs in the fourth, his last frame. He allowed eight hits and a walk while striking out two. Two of the six runs he gave up were unearned.

“I was pleased with his delivery tonight,” said Washington manager Davey Johnson about Wang. “It looked like for a little while he was getting the ball too low, but he recovered and worked through the start.”

Mets rookie Dillon Gee (10-3) earned the win after yielding three runs — two earned — on four hits in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out five, walked four and helped himself with an RBI single off Wang.

The Mets have won six of nine from the Nats this season.