- Adam Rubin, ESPNNewYork.com
- 0 Shares
BALTIMORE -- An outfielder, an infielder and a catcher traveled in a taxicab headed to Camden Yards on Saturday when the topic of the Mets' year-long road woes came up.
"Someone said, 'You know, we haven't won back-to-back games since July,'" right fielder Jeff Francoeur recalled about his conversation with David Wright and first-year Met Rod Barajas concerning the Mets' difficulties away from Citi Field. "And Rod was like, 'Y'all suck.' We kind of just got to laughing."
"No, no, no, no, no," Barajas objected, offering a more politically correct version of his response. "I just said, 'It was a tough year last year.' To have that stat -- that's something that you don't want to talk about. I didn't know it until they told me. I'm glad we finally got two wins in a row on the road. It's amazing that didn't happen before."
Left-hander Hisanori Takahashi tossed seven solid innings to rebound from a pair of subpar starts and Jose Reyes and Francoeur homered as the Mets beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 on Saturday night at Camden Yards to move a season-high six games over .500.
The Mets had been 0-7-2 in series this season but head into Sunday's finale against Baltimore with ace Mike Pelfrey on the mound aiming for a three-game sweep. The Mets last won road games on consecutive days last July 25-26 at Houston. They are 10-18 on the road in 2010.
Takahashi -- who appears likely to return to the bullpen once John Maine makes a full complement of minor league rehab starts, beginning Sunday at Trenton -- had allowed a combined 11 runs in 9 1/3 innings over his last two starts, against the San Diego Padres and Florida Marlins. But after surrendering first-inning doubles to Corey Patterson and Nick Markakis that allowed the Orioles to pull even at 1, Takahashi did not allow another run. He ultimately turned over a two-run lead to left-hander Pedro Feliciano for the eighth inning.
"He's got to be able to keep these guys off-balance, and today he did a lot better job," Barajas said about Takahashi. "The last few outings, whenever we tried to go in, he could never get it quite in there. ... Just about every time we went inside, it wouldn't be where we wanted it. It was inner-third [of the plate]. With his velocity, usually that's not going to be enough. It's got to be corner. Or, even if it's not corner, it has to be off the plate inside."
Reyes extended his franchise record for leadoff homers to 15 when he opened the game by going deep off Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz. (Derek Jeter also hit a leadoff homer for the Yankees on Saturday against the Houston Astros, making it only the third time in their histories that both teams' leadoff batters went deep on the same day, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The other instances: Aug. 23, 2009, with Angel Pagan and Jeter, and Aug. 12, 1986, with Lenny Dykstra and Rickey Henderson.)
"It's a good feeling when we score in the first inning," Reyes said. "Hopefully it will continue to be like that, because it makes the pitcher more comfortable when we score early. I'm trying to score in every game in the first inning."
A botched turn of a would-be inning-ending double play off the bat of Wright allowed Ruben Tejada to score in the sixth as the Mets took a 2-1 lead. Francoeur gave the Mets a two-run cushion in the eighth inning with his seventh homer this season.
Francoeur is hitting .423 in his last 15 games.
Mets fans packed Camden Yards, so much so that the announced crowd of 42,248 was the second-highest total at the ballpark this season. It trailed only the home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays, when the Orioles drew 48,891. The next-best crowd came last Saturday with Red Sox Nation in the Inner Harbor contributing to a crowd of 40,001.
As for the team's first road-series victory this season, Francoeur concluded: "It's embarrassing. It really is. As a team, that is something we can laugh about -- kind of -- because we're playing well and know what kind of team we have this year. But it kind of shows you just how bad things were last year and how bad we've been on the road this year. It's something no team wants to do. It's almost hard to think that's actually possible. I guess it is.
"Hopefully this is the start of some new things. Hopefully we'll come tomorrow and win three in a row."
The Mets clinched their first road-series victory this season Saturday night.