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COL@NYM: Mejia holds Rockies to one earned run

Nobody has been able to stop the Dodgers lately. The Mets will be the next team to try when they step into the ring with baseball's hottest team for the start of a three-game series on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

After completing a sweep of Tampa Bay on Sunday night, Los Angeles has won five straight, 10 of 11 and a jaw-dropping 37 of 45, the best record in the Majors over that span. Its lead in the National League West has increased to 7 1/2 games.

The Mets certainly can't match that, though they also have been playing well. New York, which is 2-1 to begin its 11-game road trip, has won five of its past six games.

In the opener, the Mets will challenge the Dodgers with rookie right-hander Jenrry Mejia, who has shined over his first three Major League starts. The 23-year-old, whom the Mets signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2007, has joined Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler in the club's exciting young rotation.

Mejia is 1-1 with a 1.96 ERA and has collected 18 strikeouts over 18 1/3 innings. On Tuesday he held the Rockies to two runs (one earned) on four hits over 5 1/3 innings, with two walks and seven K's.

"Four-seam and two-seamer, he changes speeds with those," Mets catcher John Buck said. "Then he throws a slider, a curveball and a changeup. [His fastball] cuts and sinks and dives all over the place."

Ricky Nolasco will oppose Mejia as he makes his seventh start with the Dodgers but only his second at home. The native of Southern California last took the mound at Chavez Ravine against the Rockies on July 14, when he took his only loss as a member of the Dodgers.

Nolasco has gone 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA for his new club but also has struggled to pitch deep into games. He hasn't completed six innings since his debut and is averaging 5 1/2 innings per start in Dodger blue.

Nolasco's most recent outing was on Wednesday, when he gave up three unearned runs to the Cardinals over five innings.

Mets: Davis an on-base machine
First baseman Ike Davis went 1-for-2 and drew three walks against the D-backs on Sunday, continuing his improved play since his return from Triple-A Las Vegas.

"I'm just trying to see the ball as long as I can," Davis said. "If it's not in the zone, I'm taking it."

In 31 games since July 5, Davis has not hit for much power, with just one home run, but he is 25-for-82 and has walked 28 times, giving him a .482 on-base percentage, including .538 since the All-Star break.

Davis walked 19 times in 55 games before his demotion and was hitting .161 with a .242 OBP.

Dodgers: Praise for A-Gon
Even factoring in Clayton Kershaw's dominant pitching and the impact of Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez over partial seasons, manager Don Mattingly considers Adrian Gonzalez his team's most valuable player.

The veteran first baseman leads the team with 16 home runs, 74 RBIs and 114 games, providing a consistent bat in the middle of the lineup and a solid glove. He drove in the tying run and scored the winner in Friday's comeback victory, homered on Saturday and hit a two-run double on Sunday.

His ability to stay in the lineup has been crucial for an injury-plagued club.

"Adrian has been the guy that's been there for us all year," Mattingly said. "We always talked about it when we were banged up -- treading water and hanging around so if we go hot, we would be in it. He was one of the main guys who helped us tread water."

Worth noting
• The Dodgers took two of three from the Mets at Citi Field in April. The Mets won three of four during their trip to Dodger Stadium last year.

• Nolasco's 133 1/3 innings against the Mets are the most he has thrown against any team. He has a 5.13 ERA, but much of that damage was incurred during his rookie season (2006).

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