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WSH@NYM: Wheeler K's six over seven strong innings

Zack Wheeler's first start against his former organization couldn't have gone much better. What will he do Tuesday for an encore?

Wheeler, 23, was drafted sixth overall by the Giants in 2009 before they traded him to the Mets in 2011 for Carlos Beltran at the Trade Deadline. All Wheeler did at AT&T Park on July 10 was beat San Francisco with seven innings of one-run ball, striking out five and scattering three hits.

He'll get the ball again Tuesday night, this time at Citi Field, where the Giants will begin a six-game trip through New York. After three games in Queens, San Francisco will head to the Bronx for three against the Yankees, the first time the Giants will play two New York teams in the same week.

While Wheeler likely will always cause Giants fans to wonder what could have been, their starter Tuesday has them wondering what they might have. Right-hander Yusmeiro Petit is set to make his fifth start for San Francisco this season, having gone 3-0 with a 2.36 ERA -- and a near-perfect game -- in his first four.

The Giants have won each of the 28-year-old's four outings since Aug. 27. This will be his first career start against the Mets, though he faced them in a two-inning relief stint when he was with the Marlins in 2006.

Meanwhile, Wheeler has been has been on top of his game since the start of July, putting up a 2.85 ERA during that span. The right-hander has allowed two or fewer earned runs in six of his last seven starts, including a hard-luck loss against the Nationals on Wednesday, when he allowed one run in seven innings.

"I'm really impressed with the way Zack Wheeler goes about things," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I really am. He's going to be really good."

Giants: Pence clicking at the plate
Outfielder Hunter Pence is hitting .421 with nine home runs and 25 RBIs this month and is the first Giants player to hit a homer in four straight games since Barry Bonds did so in 2005.

Pence might set another club record before the season's over, as he's started 159 straight games dating back to last year and could become the first Giants player in the San Francisco era to start every regular-season game in a season.

• Manager Bruce Bochy hinted that left-hander Barry Zito might get one more start with the Giants before the season ends. Bochy said the Giants "haven't changed anything" regarding scheduled starting assignments, but if they need an extra arm, Zito "would be the candidate." Zito's seven-year, $126 million contract ends this season, and San Francisco will almost surely decline to pick up his $18 million option, instead giving Zito a $7 million buyout.

Mets: Francisco unavailable
• Collins said reliever Frank Francisco will likely be unavailable for three to four days after taking a comebacker off his hand in the first half of Saturday's doubleheader against the Marlins. Francisco was sent for X-rays, which showed no broken bones, but the contusion is going to keep him off the mound for at least a few days.

"It doesn't hurt as much," Francisco said Sunday. "Last night, it was pumping. Now, it's only when I move it."

• LaTroy Hawkins has thrown nine straight scoreless innings and is unscored upon in 20 of his last 22 games. Hawkins' 10 saves are his most in a season since 2009 and have put him two away from 100 for his career.

Worth noting
• The Giants are trying to avoid becoming only the second team in the World Series era (since 1903) to finish in last place as the defending champion. The 1998 Marlins are the only team to do so.

• The Giants have made two errors in their last 17 games.

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