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Mets Look To Feast On Pirates’ Pitching

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(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Mets may be one of the worst offensive teams in baseball, but they’re showing that they can at least hit the Pittsburgh Pirates’ poor pitching.

The Mets look to build on one of their best offensive performances of the season while continuing their home dominance of the lowly Pirates on Wednesday night.

New York (72-73) owns a .249 batting average to rank among the lowest in the majors. However, the Mets showed some punch at the plate Tuesday, collecting 14 hits with three doubles and two homers to power a 9-1 win over Pittsburgh (48-96). That offensive burst, which included a homer and a season-high three RBIs from Carlos Beltran, came a day after Nick Evans delivered an RBI pinch single in a 1-0, 10-inning win in the opener of this four-game set.

“When you get some young guys and get somewhat healthy you feel like we can do some of the things we did (Tuesday),” manager Jerry Manuel said.

Facing the worst team in baseball could be helping, too.

The Pirates are last in the majors with a 5.08 ERA, and own a 15-57 road record. They need to win three of their remaining nine away games to avoid matching the 1963 Mets for the worst road record (17-64) in a season.

Pittsburgh is also at the bottom of the NL with a .239 average.

New York has won four of five meetings with the Pirates, improving to 15-5 in the last 20 home matchups.

The Mets continue to evaluate rookie Jenrry Mejia (0-4, 4.91) in preparation for next season, and they hope he can show improvement when he faces the Pirates for the first time.

The right-hander, who turns 21 next month, is 0-2 with a 10.00 ERA in two starts since being moved into the rotation. He made his first 30 appearances of the year out of the bullpen.

Mejia struggled again Friday, giving up six runs and nine hits in four innings of an 8-4 loss to Philadelphia.

“It just seems like the second time around the lineup, the opposition seems to be making adjustments to him,” Manuel told the team’s official website, “and he’s not, in turn, making adjustments to them. That’s something that he’s going to have to learn to do.”

The Pirates will turn to Paul Maholm (7-14, 5.37), who is one loss shy of matching his career high set in 2007. Another defeat would also tie Baltimore’s Kevin Millwood and Joe Saunders of Arizona for most in the majors.

Maholm is 0-5 with an 8.17 ERA in his last seven starts, and his teammates haven’t provided much help by totaling six runs.

Pittsburgh’s anemic offense may have cost the left-hander a chance to end his losing streak Friday, as he yielded three runs in seven innings while getting one run of support in a 4-3, 12-inning loss at Cincinnati.

Maholm was 0-1 with a 12.54 ERA in two starts last season against New York.

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