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LAD@NYM: Niese takes a ball off his leg, exits game

Finally, Pirates fans will get to see Francisco Liriano in action.

A fractured right arm had kept the left-hander on the bench all season, but he'll make his first start in a Bucs uniform at Citi Field on Saturday, opposite another southpaw in the Mets' Jon Niese.

Pittsburgh evened the four-game series at one apiece with Friday's 7-3 win.

Liriano, who signed with the Bucs in the offseason, made five Minor League rehab starts. He posted a 2-1 record and a 4.15 ERA, while striking out 33 batters and issuing four walks.

Liriano spent the first six-and-a-half seasons of his career in Minnesota. As a member of the Twins, he went 50-52 with a 4.33 ERA. He racked up 788 strikeouts compared to 324 walks.

"We like that he comes from the American League," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said, "and we like left-handed pitching in our ballpark."

Liriano's first start of 2013 will come on the road against a team he's never faced.

On the other hand, Niese has faced the Pirates, and has been successful. In three career starts, he's picked up two wins and compiled a 1.93 ERA. Niese also owns a 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio against Pittsburgh.

But Niese was pushed around in his last outing. In just four innings, the lefty was tagged for seven earned runs. He walked six and struck out three.

"Today is one of those outings that I just want to forget about," Niese said after the Mets' 9-4 loss to the Braves last Sunday. "It's embarrassing."

Niese has lost three straight decisions, while the Mets lost each of his past four starts. He is 2-3 with a 4.66 ERA this season.

Pirates: Marte on a tear
Left fielder Starling Marte went 3-for-4 with an RBI in Friday's victory. He now has 15 multihit games this season.

• Garrett Jones also played a key role in Friday's win, going 3-for-5 with a three-run home run that was awarded after a replay review. Jones has five homers this season.

Mets: Trio of players coming off multihit night
David Wright, Ike Davis and Anthony Recker each had two hits in Friday's loss. Wright said after the game that he's dealing with a sore left knee, but doesn't expect to miss any action. He left the game following the eighth inning with Saturday's matinee on tap.

"I felt progressively better as the game went on," Wright said. "I think the more I moved around the better it felt. I'm sure it will swell up a little bit, but I'll be fine."

• The Mets' team batting average is .234, second lowest in the National League.

Worth noting

Pirates closer Jason Grilli made a postgame trip to his father's home in Merrick, N.Y., for an early Saturday morning ceremony saluting his father, former Tigers and Blue Jays pitcher Steve Grilli, who is having his high school number retired.

• The Mets went 5-2 against the Pirates last season.

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