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NYM@MIA: Johan strikes out seven over six innings

Entering Wednesday's matchup against the Mets, Reds starting pitcher Mike Leake is hoping to snap out of the worst stretch of his career.

Holding an 0-5 record and a 7.11 ERA, Leake allowed six runs on seven hits over three innings for the shortest outing of his career on Friday against the Nationals.

Following another outing where the right-hander failed to gain control of the strike zone, Leake said he needed to snap out of his current rut.

"I'm just not getting the job done," Leake said. "I'm missing spots, not hitting spots, and I just have to figure it out."

While Leake is attempting to snap out of a skid, Johan Santana is trying to build off of a strong outing his last time out.

After giving up three early runs, Santana breezed through his final five innings. He struck out seven before being lifted for a pinch-hitter. It was his fourth straight quality start.

While New York's confidence is firm in its starter heading into Wednesday's matchup at Citi Field, Reds manager Dusty Baker is concerned with Leake's performance after a strong 2011 campaign.

"We're all concerned. We've been concerned," Baker said of Leake following Friday's loss to Washington. "As far as we know, he's healthy. He wasn't getting ahead of anybody. You pitch from behind, you're asking for trouble. He was either off the plate or over the heart of the plate, so we're concerned, big time. We're thinking and doing all we can do at this point in time. The rest of it is up to the player."

With the Mets sitting at third place in the National League East, manager Terry Collins points to his defense as one of the reasons for his club's early success this season.

"I think we're sitting where we are today because we've caught the ball very well," Collins said. "We've had some games where we have not caught the ball, and we've suffered because of it. When we've won games, it's because we've played defense."

Leading the way for the Mets offensively is the resurgence of third baseman David Wright, who was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth on Tuesday as Collins wanted to protect his No. 3 hitter from a potential plunking by the Brewers after Ryan Braun was hit.

The right-handed hitter is batting .408 with 21 RBIs in 33 games for New York this season.

While some are surprised that Wright has bounced back from previous injuries and inconsistent performances, Collins is not.

"David's always been a good third baseman," Collins said. "Last year, there were a lot of people remarking that he's having an off year defensively as well as offensively. I still think a lot of it stems from the back problem that he had, although he'd never use that as an excuse." Comments