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PIT@WSH: McDonald comments on fanning 11 in win

R.A. Dickey will take the mound Tuesday for the Mets looking to extend his quality start streak against the Pirates. Dickey has recorded five straight quality starts this season and -- dating back to last year -- 19 of his past 20 outings have qualified as such.

Dickey, who is 5-1 with a 3.75 ERA this season, in his last start fired six innings, yielding four runs (three earned) on five hits while striking out a season-high eight batters vs. the Reds. With the fourth run being unearned, it kept the right-hander's streak in tact.

The 37-year-old knuckleballer will be confronted by a Pirates lineup hoping for better results than they had in their weekend Interleague series against the Tigers. The Bucs were no-hit through 8 1/3 innings Friday by Justin Verlander and were struck out 15 times by Max Scherzer on Sunday.

They rebounded to beat the Mets, 5-4, in Monday night's series opener.

For the Pirates, 27-year-old right-hander James McDonald gets the call. McDonald hasn't allowed more than three runs in a start in 2012, as he's had a breakout year to this point.

"[McDonald] is starting to emerge as legit," pitching coach Ray Searage said. "He's getting ahead, staying ahead and putting them away. He's kept three-ball counts to a minimum."

McDonald picked up his third win of the year in his last outing against the Nationals, tossing 5 2/3 innings and allowing three runs on four hits while fanning 11 batters. Although it's only three wins for McDonald, it's for a team that has scored the fewest runs in the Major Leagues.

Mets: Sitting Ike against lefty starter
• Manager Terry Collins maintained that Ike Davis, who was hitting .163 entering Monday's game, would start the entire series against the Pirates. However, with Pirates starter Erik Bedard holding left-handed-hitters to a .161 batting average, Collins elect to sit the struggling first baseman.

"When you've got a guy who's dominating left-handed hitters and you've got a guy who's struggling, that's a bad match," Collins said of Bedard and Davis. "The worst thing I want to do is put this guy in a situation where he's going to fail."

• In 2011, Dickey made one start in PNC Park and suffered a tough-luck loss. He fired eight innings of one-run ball, but the Mets failed to provide run support. He is 1-2 with a 2.78 ERA in five games and four career starts.

Pirates: Harrison on a hot streak
• Josh Harrison, who broke up Verlander's no-hit bid in the ninth inning of Friday night's game with a broken-bat seeing-eye single, is hitting .308 (8-for-26) with three doubles, a walk and six runs scored over his past six games. The 24-year-old is 4-for-7 (.571) in his career against Dickey.

• Andrew McCutchen is hitting .397 (23-for-58) with seven home runs and 14 RBIs in May.

Worth noting
• The Pirates and Mets split the season series in 2011, each going 4-4. The Pirates were outscored, 38-32.

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