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Niese Takes The Mound Against The Marlins

(AP) -- The last four meetings between the New York Mets and Florida Marlins have been one-run games, including the first two they have split in this series.

The NL East rivals meet for the final time at Citi Field this year Thursday night, with All-Star infielders Hanley Ramirez of the Marlins and David Wright of the Mets looking to continue their hot hitting in the series.

New York (63-63) fell one-half game behind third-place Florida (63-62) with a 5-4 loss Wednesday after winning on Luis Castillo's RBI single in the ninth in a 6-5 victory Tuesday.

The Marlins lead the season series 9-6. Eight meetings have been decided by one run.

Ramirez and Wright have predictably been the stars this week.

The Florida shortstop is 7 for 10 in this series after getting four hits Wednesday. He was moved back to his familiar No. 3 spot after batting leadoff the past 24 games.

Manager Edwin Rodriguez made the switch back since Cameron Maybin, recalled Tuesday from Triple-A New Orleans, will bat leadoff.

"I look at Hanley as an RBI guy, and I don't like seeing him batting with nobody on base," Rodriguez told the Marlins' official website.

Ramirez has batted .339 with 12 runs and 12 RBIs against the Mets this year.

That production pales in comparison to how Wright has fared versus Florida. The third baseman is hitting .368 with four homers and 12 RBIs, going 16 for 30 during seven straight multi-hit efforts in the season series.

Wright scored three runs and had two hits Wednesday. The three batters above him combined for 12 hitless at-bats, one of them Jose Reyes' game-ending groundout with the winning runs on base.

"We put some good at-bats together late. It was a good thing, but it would have been better to get another hit there to win the game," Wright said.

The slugger is 3 for 16 in his career against Anibal Sanchez (10-8, 3.16 ERA), who has gone 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA in two career outings at Citi Field.

Sanchez is 3-2 with a 2.00 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break. The right-hander yielded three hits in seven innings of a 9-0 home win over Houston on Friday.

"Anibal Sanchez had another outstanding outing, that's pretty much what he's been doing the last five or six outings," Rodriguez said.

Florida improved to an NL-best 26-12 against left-handers by beating Pat Misch on Tuesday, and will face another in Jonathon Niese (8-5, 3.33).

Niese has gone 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA in three starts against the Marlins this year. He has limited Ramirez to five hitless at-bats and two walks.

Niese earned a rain-shortened complete game with five innings in a 5-1 victory at Pittsburgh on Saturday. He went 0-1 with a 3.20 ERA over his previous four outings.

Updated August 25, 2010
51 © 2010 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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