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Mets Look To Continue Dominance Over Pirates

(AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

(AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

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NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates are two of the worst offensive clubs in baseball. The Mets have at least shown they can produce in the clutch.

They’ll try to make things somewhat easier on themselves when they attempt to continue their home dominance of the lowly Pirates on Tuesday night.

New York (71-73) are batting .248 as a team, while Pittsburgh (48-95) has a .239 average – both rank near the bottom of the majors.

The Mets were able to muster enough offense to get past the Pirates 1-0 in 10 innings Monday, as Nick Evans hit an RBI pinch single. It was the sixth win this season in the last at-bat for New York, which improved to 5-2 in 1-0 games.

The Mets have alternated wins with losses over their last five games, each of which has been decided by one run. They’ve also won 14 of 19 at home against Pittsburgh, which is last in the majors with a 15-56 road record.

Evans, auditioning for a roster spot for 2011, is 3 for 9 with two RBIs in limited action over six games since being recalled from Triple-A Buffalo on Sept. 5.

“It’s good to get in there and help contribute to the game,” he said. “I’d love to be given the opportunity” to be a role player on the team.

R.A. Dickey (10-6, 2.91 ERA), who has career bests in wins and ERA, is trying to prove he’s worthy of a place in the Mets’ rotation next season. The right-handed knuckleballer made a strong case for inclusion Wednesday, allowing two runs and five hits before pitching out of a bases-loaded jam and leaving after six innings of a 3-2 win at Washington.

“If he’s going to be one of the guys, those are the kinds of things he’s going to have to get through and (Dickey) was able to get it done,” manager Jerry Manuel said.

Dickey, 35, may be New York’s most reliable starter at Citi Field, where he’s 6-1 with a 1.85 ERA in eight starts – seven of them Mets wins.

“I’ve just really tried to be consistent,” Dickey told the team’s official website. “The better I bounce back after tough outings, the more I show that I can be trustworthy.”

He’s getting his first start against the Pirates since Texas’ 6-5, 10-inning win June 7, 2004.

Pittsburgh, which hasn’t finished a season hitting below .240 since 1952, hopes Zach Duke (7-13, 5.47) can rebound from the shortest start of his six-year career.

The left-hander was pounded for four runs and six hits with two walks before getting chased without recording an out in the second inning of a 9-3 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday.

Duke feels there’s a simple solution.

“Just staying consistent with my delivery and locating that ball,” he told the Pirates’ official website. “That’s it.”

He has the most losses (43) in the majors since 2008, and is 0-2 with a 6.61 ERA in his last three road starts. However, Duke is 4-1 with a 2.91 ERA in seven starts against the Mets, including a 2-1 win Aug. 22 when he yielded one run in seven innings.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.