New York Mets: George Brett

Series preview: Mets vs. Royals

August, 1, 2013

Getty ImagesThe Mets face (l to r) Wade Davis, Bruce Chen and Ervin Santana this weekend at Citi Field.
METS (48-58, fourth place/NL East) vs. KANSAS CITY ROYALS (54-51, third place/AL Central)

Friday: RHP Dillon Gee (7-8, 4.13) vs. RHP Wade Davis (5-9, 5.50), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Carlos Torres (1-2, 3.03) vs. LHP Bruce Chen (4-0, 2.09), 1:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (4-8, 4.21) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (7-6, 3.03), 1:10 p.m. ET

Royals short hops

• Kansas City has won nine straight games, the longest active streak in the majors. It is the franchise’s longest winning streak in a decade, since opening the 2003 season 9-0. The Royals nonetheless have not gained much ground in the AL Central because Detroit and Cleveland also are on big winning streaks.

• The Royals acquired outfielder Justin Maxwell from the Houston Astros at the trade deadline for Class A right-hander Kyle Smith. Maxwell, 29, was hitting .241 with two homers overall with Houston. He had a .302 average against left-handed pitchers.

Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY SportsJustin Maxwell made his Royals debut Thursday.

Maxwell made his Royals debut Thursday, going 1-for-3 with an RBI, run scored and walk while starting in right field. He primarily will see action against left-handed pitching and serve as a reserve.

• Maxwell took the roster spot of second baseman Chris Getz, who landed on the disabled list with a knee injury. Miguel Tejada started his fourth straight game at the position Thursday. Elliot Johnson also is an option at second base with Getz sidelined.

• Left-hander Bruce Chen started for the Mets in the first baseball game back in New York after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, in the game Mike Piazza belted the two-run homer in the eighth to lift the Mets to a 3-2 win against the Atlanta Braves. Chen limited Atlanta to one run in seven innings that day.

Now 36 years old, Chen has allowed only three runs in 18 innings and opponents have a .115 batting average over three starts since he entered the rotation. Chen had been working out of the bullpen before replacing ineffective Luis Mendoza earlier this month. Mendoza (2-5, 5.21 ERA) has moved to long relief.

• The Royals’ strong play leading into the trade deadline prompted the organization to hold onto free-agent-to-be Ervin Santana at the trade deadline.

Alex Gordon, who moved from third base to left field three years ago, was a first-time All-Star this season. His 45 RBIs lead major league leadoff men. Gordon has won two Gold Glove awards since the position change.

He was one of three Royals All-Stars. Closer Greg Holland and catcher Salvador Perez also represented K.C.

• Holland has converted 21 straight save chances, the third-longest streak in franchise history. Joakim Soria saved 36 straight in 2010. Jeff Montgomery saved 24 straight in 1993.

• 2012 All-Star Billy Butler is the first Royal to have at least a share of the team’s RBI lead for four straight seasons. However, the righty-hitting DH is likely to find himself on the bench this weekend in the NL ballpark. Royals manager Ned Yost indicated Thursday that lefty-hitting Eric Hosmer should start all three weekend games at first base over Butler, since the Mets are throwing three right-handed pitchers.

Hosmer has a team-best 36 multi-hit games and is hitting .296 (16-for-54) since the All-Star break.

Lorenzo Cain returned to center field Thursday after missing three games with a groin injury.

Jeff Francoeur was released by the Royals last month and eventually signed with the San Francisco Giants.

Wade Davis is coming off 7 1/3 scoreless innings against the Chicago White Sox. He was acquired from Tampa Bay last Dec. 9 with James Shields.

• George Brett resigned as co-hitting coach last week and returned to his front-office role as vice president of baseball operations. Brett had assumed the uniformed role alongside hitting coach Pedro Grifol when the Royals were 21-29.

• Kansas City last visited Queens in 2002.

Rapid Reaction: Braves 7, Mets 5

July, 13, 2012

WHAT IT MEANS: Chris Young had his shortest outing as a Met and Miguel Batista struggled too, which undoubtedly will intensify calls for Matt Harvey’s promotion. The Mets stumbled in the second-half opener and ultimately lost in Atlanta, 7-5.

The Friday the 13th game, played on the 35th anniversary of the New York City blackout, was delayed 16 minutes in the second inning because of a power outage.

More relevant, the Mets disappointed in the opener to a critical stretch. After this series, the Mets head to Washington before returning home to face the Dodgers and Nationals.

“The next month will determine a lot,” Terry Collins said. “We’ve got Washington three times, I think. We’ve got the Braves twice. We’ve got the Dodgers. We go on the West Coast swing. You know what that can mean. You’re talking about Arizona, who is playing better. The Giants, who are fighting. You’ve got to go play San Diego in their place. Even though they’re not playing the way they want to, certainly, they can always be tough out there, and that’s at the end of an 11-day road trip. That’s a tough trip.

“We’re going to know how we’re standing when we get to Aug. 1, if we’re still in the dogfight.”

FIRE, FIRE: Collins insisted pregame he would not hesitate to insert lefty Josh Edgin into a pressure situation. “It's the middle of July,” the manager said. “It's fire time.”

Pledge kept.

Edgin entered in his MLB debut after Batista walked the bases loaded with one out in the fifth. The rookie struck out Juan Francisco and Michael Bourn to hold the Mets’ deficit at 5-4.

Edgin returned the following inning and retired two Braves. However, he then served up a homer to Chipper Jones. When Freddie Freeman followed with a double, Collins pulled him.

Edgin was charged with two runs, and the Braves grabbed a 7-4 lead, when Ramon Ramirez surrendered a single to Dan Uggla on which Freeman scored.

CHIP SHOT: Jones’ homer was his 49th longball against the Mets, tying him with Mike Schmidt for second most. Willie Stargell has 60 homers. Jones passed Willie McCovey, who had 48 homers against the Mets.

Overall, Jones tied Schmidt for the second-most RBIs in major league history by a player who primarily played third base, at 1,595. George Brett has the record, at 1,596.

PAGING MATT HARVEY? After Thursday’s workout, Collins labeled Harvey’s candidacy for Dillon Gee’s spot next week “remote.” But then the presumptive favorite did little to merit the assignment.

Entering in the fourth after Young departed for a pinch hitter, Batista surrendered one hit and walked four in 1 1/3 innings. Batista needed Edgin’s bases-loaded bailout to ensure a scoreless appearance.

Because Young threw only 71 pitches, assuming he’s healthy, he should be fine to start on standard rest Wednesday in D.C. That would delay the need for Gee’s replacement until next Saturday at Citi Field against the Dodgers.

Harvey is due to pitch for Buffalo on Monday. No doubt there will be scrutiny of that start, assuming it proceeds. It would put Harvey on the proper rest to step in against L.A., which just returned Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier from the DL.

SHORT APPEARANCE: Young surrendered five runs in three innings. It marked his shortest outing and most runs allowed since June 14, 2009, with San Diego against the Angels, when he allowed five runs in 2 1/3 innings.

Young issued all three of his walks, the final one forcing in a run, in a 36-pitch first inning during which Atlanta grabbed a two-run lead. He served up a three-run homer to David Ross in the third as Atlanta went up 5-0.

Young was the third candidate assigned to the second-half opener. Johan Santana originally was scheduled, but his cranky right ankle required extra rest. Then Gee was named, but a blood clot in his right shoulder led to surgery in St. Louis on Friday.

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Daniel Murphy
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HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187