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NYM@ATL: Wright's RBI ties Strawberry atop Mets list

David Wright, now in his ninth season in New York, has done a lot in his Mets career, earning five All-Star nods and finishing in the top 10 in voting for the National League Most Valuable Player Award three times.

He is unquestionably the current face of the Mets and, in Friday's series opener against the Giants, can take another step toward establishing himself as one of the greatest players in franchise history.

With 733 RBIs, Wright -- already the club's all-time leader in doubles and game-winning RBIs -- is one shy of surpassing Darryl Strawberry for sole possession of first place on the Mets' all-time RBI list. The third baseman has been on a tear since returning to the lineup Saturday from a fractured pinky, hitting .455 in his last five games.

Wright looks to make the record his own against a pitcher who has gotten off to an equally hot start: Giants left-hander Barry Zito, who has looked reborn to begin 2012.

Zito opened the season with a four-hit shutout against the Rockies and was impressive in his second start against the Pirates, tossing seven strong innings in a no-decision. He started a bit shaky against Pittsburgh -- loading the bases with two outs in the first inning before allowing a two-run single -- but retired nine straight after the base knock and 12 of 13 overall.

"That was a very good outing for him," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said afterward. "He settled down, regrouped and did solid work. He's pitching with confidence and we won the game because he got us to the eighth inning."

Wright is hitting .286 (4-for-14) with one double and one RBI against Zito in his career.

Giants: Pagan's return
Friday's game marks the return of Giants center fielder Angel Pagan to Citi Field against the Mets, the club that drafted him in 1999. Pagan played in 393 games for the Mets from 2008-11, hitting .284. He was traded to the Giants in December for fellow center fielder Andres Torres and reliever Ramon Ramirez. Pagan enters the series mired in a sluggish start (.220 average), but has legged out a Major League-leading three triples.

• Zito will be pitching on five days' rest because of Thursday's off-day. He has a 3.41 career ERA with that amount of rest.

Mets: Niese on the mound
Left-hander Jon Niese takes the mound for the Mets on Friday after winning his first two starts of the season, the last of which was a 6 2/3-shutout-inning performance against the Phillies. Niese has started against San Francisco only once in his career, taking a hard-luck loss in July 2010. He allowed only six hits while throwing seven innings of one-run ball in that outing, but was outdueled by Zito, who tossed eight shutout innings.

• Mets rookie center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis has a six-game hitting streak in which he's batting .450.

Worth noting
• Colorado's Todd Helton is the only other active player who sits atop his team's all-time RBI list.

• Zito is 3-2 with a 3.31 ERA in six career starts against the Mets.

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