THE New York Mets made it seven in a row on Sunday night as they swept the Pittsburgh Pirates away to move clear at the top of the NL East.
Livan Hernandez fell behind early, but the Mets plated three in the 4th inning and broke the game open with four in the 8th inning to give them their first lead in the standings since Opening Day.
Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo and Omir Santos each plated two runners as the Mets gave Hernandez enough run support to overcome a shaky start.
The Pirates, in fact, jumped ahead early, scoring a run in the 1st and 3rd innings before the Mets got on the board.
Nyjer Morgan singled and stole second base and Delmon Young singled to centre to put men on the corners. Nate McLouth hit a sacrifice fly to Ryan Church in right field to easily score Morgan who trotted home at a canter.
The Pirates doubled their lead in the 3rd inning when Diaz found the gap in the right side of the infield when he slapped a single the other way.
McLouth had led off the onning with a double to left field and Eric Hinske drew a one-walk walk -one of four free passes from Hernandez who had only given up eight walks in his previous five starts.
After Andy LaRoche grounded back out to Hernandez, Diaz shot a single to Church to score McLouth. Hinske was held up surprisingly at third base and Brian Bixler struck out to end the inning.
The Mets had very little going on against Ian Snell until the 4th inning. Carlos Delgado launched a one-out double off the top of the centrefield wall and David Wright drove him home with a grounder that crept under the glove of Bixler.
Wright then stole second and Daniel Murphy walked, and both runners advanced 90ft on a wild pitch that got away from Diaz after hopping off of the plate.
Omir Santos gave the Mets the lead by turning on a 3-2 fastball to send a two-run single to right field, but he was thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double.
Pedro Feliciano pitched a scoreless 7th inning for the Mets and the bats added a protection run in the bottom of the frame.
Gary Sheffield, pinch-hitting for Feliciano reached on a fielding error by Bixler and Reyes singled to right. Castillo then singled to centre to give the Mets a 4-2 lead and, after a double steal, Beltran was intentionally walked.
But Delgado popped out and Wright struck out swinging to leave the bases loaded.
JJ Putz got himself into – and out of – another jam in the 8th inning, giving up one-out singles to Diaz and Vazquez. But he got Moss to line out to left and Morgan to strike out to turn the 4-2 lead over to Rodriguez.
The Mets put the game beyond doubt in the 8th inning with a four spot off of reliever Jason Grabow.
Santos picked up his second hit of the evening, Church got his first and Tatis was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Reyes, who entered the game batting 5/9 with three runs and three RBI this series, walked in a run and Castillo hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Church. Hot-hitting Beltran doubled in two more runs to make it 8-2.
The Pirates did reduce the arrears in the 9th inning when McLouth hit a two-run home run off of Shaun Green, but Green retired the next three batters he faced to give the Mets their seventh consecutive win.
After an evening where nothing meant everything, the Mets produced everything out of nothing to record their first ever win at Citi Field.
The New York Mets put up a four spot on the strength of a bunt single, back-to-back four-pitch walks, a stolen base, sac fly, intentional walk, error and two wild pitches to beat the San Diego Padres 7-2 on Wednesday.
Oliver Perez allowed one run on three hits and two walks over six innings; Carlos Delgado hit a hanging slider into the Pepsi Porch for his second home run of the year and Gary Sheffield made his first start of the season as the Mets improved to 4-4 on the season and 1-1 at Citi Field.
Perez, who was 10-7 with a 4.22 ERA in the 2008 season, got his first win of the 2009 campaign and the Mets bullpen pitched three innings of shutout ball as clubs around the league honoured Jackie Robinson day.
Perez threw all three of his pitches for strikes, including a slider with a nasty sinking action, and he settled into the rhythm of the game quickly after getting roughed up by the Cincinatti Reds the last time out.
After stranding Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran in the 2nd inning after they had reached base with no outs, the Mets got on the board in the 4th.
Daniel Murphy singled to centre field, David Wright singled to right and Carlos Delgado walked. Carlos Beltran singled to right to put the Mets on the board and Gary Sheffield produced a run despite grounding into a routine 6-4-3 double play.
Gary Sheffield, in his first start for the Mets, also struck out with two men on base and drew a four-pitch walk.
It was this walk which put the wheels in motion for a crooked Padres inning and marked the start of a problematic period for Padres’ reliever Gregerson who threw ten straight balls in the bottom of the 7th inning after going 1-2-3 in the home half of the 6th.
Edward Mujica came in to face Luis Castillo on a 2-0 count with Sheffield on second and Schneider on first, but Castillo dropped down a perfect bunt single down the third base line.
Kouzmanoff stuttered, staggered and inexplicably headed backwards towards the bag, forcing Mujica – who got the win in the opening game at Citi Field on one pitch – to try and field the ball.
He over-ran it to load the bases for Ryan Church and he then threw the ball away on a wild pitch to score Sheffield to make it 3-1.
Church struck out on an inside slider and Mujica intentionally walked Jose Reyes to get to Daniel Murphy who lofted a deep fly ball to right field to score Schneider on the sac fly.
Reyes took off on the next pitch as Mujica threw his second wild pitch of the inning. Castillo darted home from third base to beat Hundley’s throw to Mujica who had moved 60ft forward to try and block the plate and Reyes followed him home when he saw the ball squirm away.
Adrian Gonzalez made a last-ditch attempt to get Reyes at home as e knew the ball from his knees at the backstop, but the head-first slide easily beat the play to extend the lead to 6-1.
Delgado connected with a solo shot on a hanging slider in the 8th to make it 7-1 after JJ Putz had threw a zero on the board and Adrian Gonzalez hit his 100th home run in the top of the 9th inning against Sean Green.