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Sat, Apr 23, 2011 - 1:10 PM ET
 

Diamondbacks-Mets Preview

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Improved pitching has the New York Mets on the cusp of winning three straight for the second time this season.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are on the verge off their third three-game skid of April.

Rookie Dillon Gee tries to make his case for a regular spot in the rotation and keep the Mets' run of good pitching going Saturday against the visiting Diamondbacks.

New York (7-13) has won consecutive games after enduring a woeful 2-12 stretch. After a 9-1 rout of Houston on Thursday, the Mets beat Arizona (8-10) 4-1 on Friday in the opener of this three-game set.

With another win Saturday, they would will match their season-high three-game winning streak from April 2-5.

The consecutive games with one run allowed mark a major improvement from the first 18 games of the season, when the Mets compiled a 5.18 ERA and yielded six runs or more nine times.

Gee (1-0, 1.59 ERA) will now try to prove he deserves to remain in the rotation as New York's veterans get healthier. Chris Young (biceps tendinitis) is slated to return from the disabled list next week.

Gee, who went 2-2 with a 2.18 ERA in five starts last year, impressed in Sunday's 3-2 win at Atlanta. He allowed one run and five hits in 5 2-3 innings, hours after being recalled from the minors.

"He made really big pitches," manager Terry Collins told the Mets' official website.

The Diamondbacks could use some improved starting pitching of their own. Arizona's rotation has a 5.73 ERA.

The Diamondbacks wasted a strong effort Friday from Joe Saunders, who allowed one run and two hits in six innings before the bullpen gave up the game's three pivotal runs.

On Saturday, Arizona will turn to Barry Enright (0-1, 6.23), who has allowed four runs in each of his three starts.

The right-hander lasted a season-low 5 1-3 innings Sunday against San Francisco in a game the Diamondbacks went on to win 6-5 in 12 innings.

Despite the outing's short length, manager Kirk Gibson was encouraged.

"I thought he threw all of his pitches more effectively," Gibson told the Diamondbacks' official website.

Enright went 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two starts against the Mets as a rookie last year.

He'll have to contend with hot-hitting New York first baseman Ike Davis, who is 6 for 17 with two homers and five RBIs during a five-game hitting streak. The homers have come in consecutive games, including a two-run shot Friday.

Davis is 1 for 5 with three strikeouts versus Enright.

If Arizona loses Saturday, it will have sandwiched a pair of three-game skids around its season-high three-game winning streak.

Tagged: Mets, Diamondbacks, Ike Davis, Barry Enright, Dillon Gee

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