Mets roll to seventh straight win

May 10, 2009 2:15:33 PM PDT
Livan Hernandez survived a shaky start to go six innings and the New York Mets welcomed manager Jerry Manuel back from his one-game suspension with their seventh straight victory, 8-4 over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo and Omir Santos each drove in a pair of runs for the Mets, who haven't lost since May 2 at Philadelphia. Their seven-game win streak is their longest since taking 10 straight last July 5-17.

Pittsburgh has dropped eight in a row and 12 of 13 after an 11-7 start to the season.

The 34-year-old Hernandez (3-1) needed 31 pitches to get through the first inning, but settled down to allow two runs and seven hits for his 150th career win. Every Mets starter has gone at least six innings during their win streak, and they're a combined 6-0 with a 2.26 ERA.

Manuel was back in the New York dugout after serving a suspension for making contact with an umpire Thursday. Bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. managed the Mets to a 10-1 win on Saturday.

Nate McLouth hit a two-run homer in the ninth and finished with three RBIs for the bumbling Pirates, who held a team meeting before the game that didn't appear to solve much. Their eight-game skid is their longest since losing 10 in a row last Aug. 20-31.

Ian Snell (1-5) did his best to give Pittsburgh a chance, cruising into the fourth with a mid-90s fastball. Carlos Delgado finally gave New York some life with a double that hit a couple feet below the top of the center-field wall - a home run in just about any other park in the majors - and David Wright followed with an RBI single.

After Daniel Murphy walked, Omir Santos brought them both home with a base hit that made it 3-2.

The Mets added to the cushion in the seventh inning, taking advantage of an error by shortstop Brian Bixler. They tacked on four more in the eighth when Jose Reyes walked with the bases loaded, Castillo hit a sacrifice fly and Beltran drove a two-run double off the left-field wall.

Snell can't seem to catch a break. The 27-year-old right-hander has only allowed nine runs his last five starts but has one win to show for it. His last time out, he threw 131 pitches and allowed the only run in a 1-0 loss to the Brewers.

Notes: Several players used pink bats for Mother's Day and breast cancer awareness. The bats will be auctioned to raise money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. ... Mets C Ramon Castro did not start after leaving Saturday with a tight right quad. Santos started in his place. ... Pirates SS Jack Wilson (sprained finger) skipped his rehab start with Triple-A Indianapolis and flew back to Pittsburgh. He'll work out at PNC Park on Monday and is scheduled to be activated before the Pirates' game against St. Louis on Tuesday.