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Razing Arizona: Mets earn sweep of reeling D-Backs

PHOENIX (AP) -- The New York Mets' weekend series with Arizona
was billed as a showdown between first-place teams.

It turned out to be a showcase for the Mets, who completed a
four-game sweep with a 15-2 rout Sunday, knocking the Diamondbacks
out of the NL West lead.

"It's a big-time sweep," said Met manager Willie Randolph,
whose team won its fifth straight game and 39th overall, most in
the NL. "We've done a great job this year of winning series. Every
once in a while it's nice to sweep it and go four in a row. That's
even sweeter."

Carlos Beltran drove in four runs and Carlos Delgado had three
RBI as the Mets scored a season-high 15 runs. The Mets batted
around in the fourth and fifth innings to chase Arizona starter
Russ Ortiz (0-5).

Everything the Mets hit seemed to find a hole. New York went
11-for-25 with runners in scoring position.

"It's kind of like it's contagious when you start hitting
good," said Delgado, who had two doubles and a single.

No Met has been hotter than Beltran, who went 9-for-17 in the
series with three doubles, three homers and 10 RBI. On Sunday,
Beltran singled, doubled and stole a base.

Beltran scored 10 runs in the series. Arizona scored nine.

New York starter Pedro Martinez (6-2) allowed one run in five
innings to earn his first victory since April 28.

The Mets improved to 6-1 on their 10-game road trip. New York
takes a 6 1-2-game lead into a three-game series at second-place
Philadelphia Tuesday night. It's the Mets' largest lead in the NL
East since they were up by seven games April 29.

New York has won 10 straight games at Chase Field. In the last
two years here, the Mets have blitzed Arizona by a combined 76-16.

No wonder the Diamondbacks were thrilled to see the Mets go.

"They took it to us in every facet of the game," Arizona
manager Bob Melvin said. "That's a heckuva team over there."

Arizona lost its seventh straight game and fell a game behind
Los Angeles. The Diamondbacks are 0-6 since learning that federal
agents had searched Jason Grimsley's home Tuesday in an
investigation into performance-enhancing drugs. The team released
the reliever Wednesday and doesn't want to pay him the remainder of
his $825,000 salary.

The Diamondbacks haven't led since the first news reports about
Grimsley surfaced early in Tuesday night's game against
Philadelphia.

"There were some things going on," Melvin said. "We're not
going to have that as an excuse. We just got beat by this team."

Melvin called a 20-minute team meeting afterward. Neither he nor
the players would divulge what was said.

"There's three-and-a-half months left," first baseman Conor
Jackson said. "There's no panic button."

The Diamondbacks have been outscored 14-1 in the first inning of
their last six games. They trailed after three batters Sunday
afternoon.

Ortiz walked leadoff man Jose Reyes after getting ahead 1-2.
Reyes stole second, took third on Endy Chavez' bunt single and
scored on second baseman Orlando Hudson's fielding error.

Two outs later, Chris Woodward slapped an 0-2 pitch down the
first base line for a double to put the Mets up 3-0.

In the bottom of the inning, a Diamondbacks threat ended when
New York right fielder Endy Chavez threw out Craig Counsell trying
to score on Chad Tracy's fly ball.

After leaving the bases loaded in the third, the Mets knocked
Ortiz out in the fourth. Reyes and Chavez drew one-out walks and
scored on Beltran's double to right field to make it 5-0 New York.

RBI doubles by Delgado and David Wright gave the Mets a 7-0 lead
and chased Ortiz, who went 3 1/3 innings, allowing five earned
runs, seven hits and four walks.

Ortiz, who is in the second year of a four-year, $33-million
contract, is 1-14 in his last 19 starts over the last two seasons.
"I don't see any reason why I should be struggling," said Ortiz,
who recently spent time on the disabled list with a calf injury.
"There's no excuses. I've just got to get the job done."

Melvin was noncommittal about whether Ortiz would remain in the
rotation.

The Mets added six runs in the fifth on RBI singles by Beltran
and Ramon Castro, a two-run double by Delgado and a two-run triple
by Lastings Milledge.

The Diamondbacks have rallied from huge deficits several times
this year, but 13-0 was too much, especially against Martinez.

"Good team behind me, getting a lot of run support, after that
I just threw strikes," Martinez said. "I pretty much battled my
way through but I managed to throw strikes and I got five innings
in."

Game notes
Mets SS Jose Reyes stole two bases. He has 119 career
steals, fifth place on the Mets' all-time list. Reyes' 27 steals
this season leads the NL and is tied with Baltimore's Corey
Patterson for most in the majors. ... Martinez, who opened the
season 5-0, broke a string of seven starts without a victory. He is
3-1 lifetime with a 1.36 ERA against Arizona. ... ... OF Eli
Marrero made his Mets debut as a pinch-hitter for Beltran in the
sixth. He collected his first hit, a double, and RBI in the eighth
inning.