By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO
(AP) -- David Wright may lead the majors in hitting, but the New York Mets are struggling to capitalize on it.
Wright will try to help the Mets avoid a sixth loss in eight games Tuesday night when they continue a three-game road series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Coming off a very disappointing 2011, Wright appears to have regained his All-Star form this season. He's batting .415 with 25 RBIs and 29 runs after he hit a career-low .254 with 14 homers and 61 RBIs during an injury-plagued 2011.
The third baseman's production has been even more staggering of late, hitting .500 over his past 12 games. The Mets (22-20), though, have managed to win just half of them.
New York has lost five of seven, batting .231 during that span.
Wright, who is 10 for 23 with five RBIs in the last six visits to PNC Park, had two hits and his RBI single capped a four-run second inning but his team committed three errors and fell 5-4 in Monday's series opener.
The Mets send R.A. Dickey (5-1, 3.75 ERA) to the mound hoping the knuckleballer can win a fourth consecutive decision. He's 3-0 with a 2.73 ERA over his last five starts, holding opponents to a .203 average.
The right-hander failed to record a quality start for the first time in five outings and left without a decision in a 9-4 win over Cincinnati on Thursday. He gave up four runs - three earned - and five hits while striking out a season-high eight in six innings.
Dickey is 1-2 with a 1.82 ERA in three starts against the Pirates since joining the Mets in 2010.
One of those two losses came at Pittsburgh (20-22) opposite James McDonald, Tuesday's scheduled starter. Dickey allowed three runs - one earned - in an eight-inning complete game but lost 3-2 on June 11.
McDonald (3-2, 2.68) was also impressive in that matchup, yielding two runs and scattering eight hits in six innings to beat New York for the first time in four starts.
The right-hander has been outstanding lately, going 3-1 with a 2.34 ERA in his past five outings. He's struck out 44 over 34 2-3 innings in those games.
McDonald took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and fanned a career-high 11 in Thursday's 5-3 win at Washington. He exited with two outs in the sixth after allowing three runs and four hits.
"I think he's learning to pitch," catcher Rod Barajas told the team's official website. "He's learning to trust his stuff. He's competing, varying his pitch speeds, his location. He's just maturing as a pitcher."
Andrew McCutchen is certainly doing that at the plate. The center fielder's .340 average is 77 points higher than his career low from last year. He's batting .359 with three homers and 12 RBIs at home and has a .394 average in 10 games against the Mets there.
McCutchen is 2 for 9 with four strikeouts against Dickey.
Updated May 22, 2012