Commentary

Wright, Pelfrey lead the Mets to victory

The third baseman smacks two homers, the starting pitcher goes to 9-1 on the year

Updated: June 13, 2010, 9:42 PM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

BALTIMORE -- New York Mets third baseman David Wright already has eclipsed his home run total from last season, even though he insists that is unimportant to him.

Regardless, he could not dispute this assertion: His longball production had big ramifications for the Mets on Sunday afternoon.

Ike Davis & Jose Reyes
AP Photo/Rob CarrThe Mets have plenty to celebrate after a sweep on the road.

One day after assuring themselves of their first road series win this season, the Mets finished off a sweep of the hapless Baltimore Orioles. Wright had a pair of homers and four RBIs, Jason Bay homered and matched a career-high with four hits, and Chris Carter also went deep as the Mets produced season-highs for runs and hits in an 11-4 drubbing of the Orioles at Camden Yards.

The Mets (35-28) produced their first road sweep in a series of at least three games since Sept. 1-3, 2008, at Milwaukee.

They moved seven games over .500 for the first time since May 31, 2009.

"That's just one of those days where the offense pretty much took over the game," manager Jerry Manuel said after the Mets collected 18 hits.

Bay entered the game in an 0-for-16 drought and with only three homers on the season, but he went 4-for-4 with a walk in the series finale. He went deep against Orioles right-hander Kevin Millwood, the leader in homers allowed in the majors, in the fifth inning as the Mets took a 7-3 lead. Bay had last gone deep during a two-homer game against the Yankees' CC Sabathia on May 23.

Wright had the 14th multi-homer game of his career, which ranks fourth on the franchise's all-time list behind Darryl Strawberry (22), Mike Piazza (17) and Dave Kingman (16). The third baseman went 3-for-5 -- already his fourth game this month with at least three hits. He only had one three-plus-hit game in April and one in May, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

"If I've said it once, I've said it a million times -- it doesn't matter to me," Wright said about his home run total, which now stands at 12, two better than last season's paltry total. "I've hit 30 in a season. I've hit 20 in a season. I've hit 10 in a season. It makes no bit of difference as long as I'm driving in runs and being productive at the plate."

As for Carter, he helped stake Mike Pelfrey to a five-run lead before the right-hander took the mound. Carter's first-inning three-run homer was the second longball of his career -- and his second of this series, both coming while serving as the designated hitter.

Pelfrey allowed three runs over the first two innings, but managed to hand an 11-3 lead to Jenrry Mejia in the bottom of the seventh.

Regardless of his subpar beginning to the outing, Pelfrey improved to 9-1 and matched the second-best 10-decision start in franchise history. Terry Leach was 10-0 in 1987, while Al Leiter in 2000 and David Cone and Dwight Gooden in 1988 all were 9-1.

The three runs Pelfrey surrendered matched his combined total in his last four outings, which spanned 30 innings.

"I thought I was terrible," Pelfrey said about his early work. "Those are the days you have to make an adjustment. Everything was flat. The splitter was just floating up there. Nothing was working. And I said, 'Oh, man.'"

To address the problem, Pelfrey -- after checking with pitching coach Dan Warthen to make sure it was legal -- actually threw his warmup pitches in the third inning from the back side of the mound. The goal: By throwing from the lower surface, Pelfrey hoped to force himself to follow through more and keep the ball down in the zone once the half-inning began.

"When I got downhill, things started moving again," Pelfrey said. "Things got a little bit better as the game went on. … It was a good day to put up a lot of runs."

Wright noted the improvement in Pelfrey's maturity from a year ago in this very ballpark. Last June 16, the Mets staked Pelfrey to a four-run lead. Before Pelfrey's outing was over, though, Wright had been captured by a television camera in the sixth inning heatedly getting in Pelfrey's face in the visitors' dugout to motivate him.

"I think we gave him a lead and he just kind of lost control out there and kind of spun out of control," Wright recalled about Pelfrey's 2009 outing against the Orioles. "It just goes to show you in a year the kind of confidence that he has, the kind of ability that he has to really shrug off not having great stuff and to go out there and find a way to win."

The Mets entered this weekend with an 8-18 record on the road, but struggling Baltimore proved a cure. The Mets, after an off-day Monday, have an opportunity to continue to build on that sudden road prowess. Next up: a midweek series at Cleveland, which has the second-fewest home wins in the majors with 12, one better than the Orioles.

"It's well-documented our record at home. We know how well we play at home," Bay said. "At some point you've got to start winning games on the road. Otherwise, you can't make up any ground. It's a good start. It's a new guy every night. It's a positive step for us. The road trip isn't over yet. We can't overlook it. But we couldn't have picked a better start."

Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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