Mets-Blue Jays Preview
By KATE HEDLIN
(AP) -- After teammate Brandon Morrow shut out the New York Mets, it's Henderson Alvarez's turn to face them.
Like Morrow, Alvarez probably wouldn't mind missing David Wright.
Alvarez looks to help the Toronto Blue Jays win a season-high fifth straight and complete a three-game sweep of the Mets on Sunday.
Toronto matched its longest winning streak of the season, set on two other occasions, with a 2-0 victory over New York on Saturday.
Morrow pitched his second shutout in four starts, allowing three hits while striking out eight against a punchless Mets lineup that saw its No. 5-7 hitters go 0 for 9 with four strikeouts.
It helped that the Blue Jays (23-18), who have given up less than two runs in three of the last four games, didn't have to face Wright, the major league leader with a .409 average. Wright was sick Friday but went 1 for 3 in New York's 14-5 loss, and he was previously scheduled for a day off Saturday. His status for Sunday is unclear.
"He's sicker today than he was yesterday, and he wasn't very good yesterday," manager Terry Collins told the Mets' official website before Saturday's game.
Toronto surely wouldn't mind playing the finale without facing Wright, a .384 hitter with 24 RBIs in his last 18 interleague games.
Even if Wright plays, the Blue Jays have reason to feel good about their chances to win five straight for the first time since July 8-15 as Alvarez (3-3, 2.62 ERA) takes the mound.
He's allowed two or fewer earned runs in five straight starts, though he wasn't as sharp Tuesday and had a three-game winning streak snapped. Alvarez gave up four runs - two earned - and a season-high 10 hits over 6 2-3 innings of a 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay.
"Their pitcher is really good," Rays manager Joe Maddon told the Blue Jays' official website. "That kid is going to be really good - he already is really good."
The right-hander has a 1.51 ERA over his last five outings, but Toronto is 1-4 this season when he starts at home.
Alvarez is making his first interleague appearance. The Blue Jays went 3-6 at home against the NL last season and haven't swept an interleague series in Toronto since Colorado visited in 2007.
While there may be little room for error against Alvarez, the Mets (21-19) have taxed their bullpen in the first two games of the series, putting Dillon Gee (2-3, 5.65) in a tough position for the finale.
Jonathon Niese allowed eight runs in three innings of Friday's loss, and fellow starter Miguel Batista left after two innings Saturday because of a sore lower back.
Jeremy Hefner, called up earlier in the day, helped New York with five innings of relief Saturday.
"I applaud the job Jeremy Hefner did, getting here this morning and giving us that kind of an outing is tremendous," Collins said. "If Miguel can't start, he's going in that spot."
Gee has failed to get through six innings in his past two outings.
After allowing four runs and 10 hits against Philadelphia on May 9, he gave up seven runs in 5 1-3 innings of an 8-0 loss to Milwaukee on Tuesday.
"I felt great today, really," Gee said. "I don't know, man. I'm at a loss for words."
The right-hander has never faced the Blue Jays.
Updated May 19, 2012