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Capuano fans 13 in a two-hit shutout

The Cubs have been waiting for Randy Wells to live up to his potential, and he's been doing it lately. The Mets can say the same about Jason Bay.

When the two clubs meet each other Saturday at Citi Field, both players will be on display in the middle of serious hot streaks.

Wells, who will be opposed by Mets lefty Chris Capuano, is on a career-high five-game winning streak that he kept alive with a solid performance against the Pirates on Sept. 4. Wells pitched six innings that day, giving up one run on seven hits, and also extended a home winning streak to three games.

Wells also helped himself on the offensive end, executing two sacrifice bunts in the game, the fifth time he's accomplished that feat in his career and the first time since July 23. Overall, Wells has compiled a 3.09 ERA (16 earned runs in 46 2/3 innings) in his last seven starts, including a 0.83 ERA (two earned runs in 21 2/3 innings) in his last three starts.

Wells had a promising rookie year in 2009 before struggling in 2010. Now he's finding his comfort zone and building toward 2012.

"It's a tough thing," Wells said. "People keep asking me about who I was in 2009. I wasn't any different in 2010. It was just a tough year. I grinded it out and made every start, got close to 200 innings. Things just didn't go my way."

Cubs manager Mike Quade said after the last start that Wells' ability to win despite not having his best stuff is a good indicator that he's back to his '09 form.

"He has been, for sure," Quade said. "I didn't think he was near as sharp [against Pittsburgh, but] that's the mark of a guy that is feeling good about himself and throwing well. He still got through it."

Bay has gotten through another season marred by injuries, but good things are finally happening for the Mets outfielder.

The veteran slugger has been working hard in the video room with hitting coach Dave Hudgens, trying to recapture his swing from his days with Pittsburgh and Boston, and it seems to be working -- Bay has 12 hits in his last 27 at-bats with three home runs. He doubled twice Friday night.

Granted, it's not the first time Bay has overhauled his hitting mechanics. He tried out a new stance this spring and scrapped it a couple weeks later, citing discomfort. He has worked with Hudgens all season, tinkering with various aspects of his approach. So again, time will tell if this is a genuine breakthrough or just a little hot streak.

"I hope it's working," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I know that Jason's a lot more comfortable at the plate. If you look at his swing, analyze his swing, his swing's a lot freer, a lot looser. He's getting the bat out front a little bit easier, so I think it's helping a lot.

"For some reason, I think he just looks more comfortable playing. And I know that comes with having more success offensively, but I see a difference in his swing for sure."

Cubs: Pena on a tear
Carlos Pena is hitting .267 (27-for-101) with 10 doubles, a triple, seven homers and 21 RBIs in his last 33 games since Aug. 3 -- he's walked 27 times in this stretch. Prior to this run, Pena batted .108 (4-for-37) with a .277 on-base percentage in 12 games from July 20-Aug. 2.

• Chicago has 35 come-from-behind wins this season, sixth-most in the National League and tied for seventh in the Majors -- the 35 come-from-behind wins are Chicago's most since it had 44 such victories in 2008. Chicago's 41 losses in which the team had held a lead are tied for the most in the Majors with the Astros and Reds.

Mets: Capuano looking for bounce-back outing
Capuano suffered the shortest start of his season in his last outing, a 9-3 loss to the Florida Marlins on Sept. 5. He lasted four innings and allowed six runs on eight hits with one walk.

"It was frustrating," Capuano said. "I could never really settle into a good rhythm. I felt like tonight, the ball was kind of flat coming out of my hand."

In 13 career games against the Cubs (11 starts) Capuano is 8-3 with a 3.88 ERA.

• Shortstop Jose Reyes doubled Friday night to extend his hitting streak to 12 games since returning from the disabled list. He's batting .319 (15-for-47) during the 12 games and still leads the National League with a .335 batting average. The Mets have never had a batting champion.

Worth noting
• Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro has reached base safely in a career-high 22 straight games, and is just the second Cub since 2003 to reach safely in 20 straight games while at shortstop -- Ryan Theriot did so in 28 straight games in 2007.

• The Mets went 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position in Friday's game and are hitting .228 (13-for-57) in such situations over their last five games. Comments