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LAD@ATL: Medlen strikes out five over seven innings

Jeremy Hefner's next attempt at his first win of the season does not figure to be any easier than the previous eight starts.

Hefner, 0-5 this year with a 5.00 ERA in nine games (eight starts), will give it another go on Friday against the Braves. It's his first time facing first-place Atlanta this year. The Mets are 0-8 in Hefner's starts this season, and 7-14 in his 21 career starts.

But his New York teammates haven't done Hefner many favors, offering him just 13 runs of support in 45 innings of work.

"You can only control keeping us in games," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "But he's kept us in games. Hey, if the wins don't come, you've just got to keep pitching. You've got to grind it out."

Like his teammate Dillon Gee, who starts on Saturday, Hefner has had issues with location this year.

"They're both command kind of guys," Collins said. "They both have to use all their pitches. For them to be effective, they've got to command all their pitches. That means they can't get away from the fastball. They still have to pitch off their fastball. What happens some of the times is they haven't gotten their breaking stuff in the strike zone.

"When you live and die with your command, if it's not there, you're going to have some problems."

The first pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET at Citi Field. Both teams are off Thursday.

The Braves have won six in a row and seven of nine. New York is 3-8 in its last 11 games and just 2-11 at home in its last 13.

It's the second meeting of the year between the two teams, as they split a brief early-May series.

Right-hander Kris Medlen gets the nod for Atlanta on Friday, looking for just his second win of the season despite a sharp 3.02 ERA. He logged his highest pitch count of the year in his last outing, hurling 112 pitches over seven innings in a 3-1 win against the Dodgers.

Braves: Varvaro heading home
Atlanta reliever Anthony Varvaro will likely make his third career appearance at Citi Field this weekend, not far from where he grew up.

"It's always fun going back home for me, but we're going there to take care of business," Varvaro said.

The Staten Island, N.Y., native -- he went to Curtis High School in Staten Island and St. John's University in Queens, not far from Citi Field -- has thrown 3 1/3 innings in his career at Citi Field, surrendering three hits and one run.

"My biggest thing is I like to go back to Staten Island where I live and there's a specific pizzeria I like to go to and I always just get pizza," Varvaro said. "That's my favorite thing to do. Pizza is my favorite food, so that's No. 1 on my list. Everything else, I just like to visit with friends and family that I can quickly see, but I don't want to overload my schedule because I am there to take care of business."

Mets: Offensive troubles
• The Mets have scored three runs or fewer in 12 of their past 16 games.

• Ike Davis snapped a streak of 12 consecutive plate appearances without reaching base when he drew a walk in the second inning Wednesday. He has one hit in his last 38 at-bats.

• Marlon Byrd is hitting .307 (12-for-39) with three home runs this month. He's five hits shy of 1,100 for his career.

Worth noting
• Hefner is 0-1 with a 8.53 ERA (six earned runs in 6 1/3 innings) in his career against the Braves, spanning two appearances (one start). His last start against Atlanta was Sept. 8, when he went 2 2/3 innings and gave up five earned runs on eight hits.

Freddie Freeman is 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs against Hefner, and Brian McCann is also 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.

• Hefner will be pitching for the first time since his hometown of Moore, Okla., was devastated by a tornado earlier this week.

• The Mets will host Fireworks Night on Friday after the game. The postgame show will feature a soundtrack of artists associated with New York. It will be the first Fireworks Night of the season. Comments