BALTIMORE - Jason Bay, after four hits and a solo home run, described Sunday's series finale at Camden Yards "as one of the four hottest games" he's ever played in.
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Despite the sticky climate, which included a first-pitch temperature of 91 degrees, the Mets looked right at home in Baltimore, and an 11-4 thrashing of the Orioles completed their first sweep of a three-game road series since Sept. 1-3, 2008, in Milwaukee.
"The stats just keep coming," Bay joked. "It's huge for us. We know how well we play at home. But at some point, you've got to start winning games on the road, otherwise you can't make up any ground. It's been a new guy every night and this is a positive step for us."
Speaking of new guys, Chris Carter, in his second start as the designated hitter, smacked his second three-run homer of the series. Jesus Feliciano, who started in rightfield for Jeff Francoeur, had the first hit of his brief major-league career in the first inning, when the Mets batted around and took a 5-0 lead.
Carter is still waiting for the baseball from Friday's first homer - the Mets are negotiating with the fan for it - but the team had no trouble retrieving Sunday's trophy. When asked about his career trip to Baltimore, Carter didn't even think about himself.
"It was a great weekend," Carter said. "Three-and-oh. Get out the brooms!"
Roughly an hour after the game, Carter had yet to cool down, and that was the enthusiasm Jerry Manuel hoped to capitalize on for the series finale. With the series win already in his back pocket, Manuel inserted Carter, Feliciano, Alex Cora and Henry Blanco and the Mets still moved to seven games over .500 (35-28) for the first time since May 31 of last season by piling up season highs in hits (18) and runs (11).
"I think when you put in different players, it gives a team some energy," Manuel said. "That's what we got today. When you can do that, then you know the team is hitting on all cylinders - and now you know that they'll be ready if called upon at any time."
Manuel was thrilled that his subs came through for what it could mean looking ahead, but Mike Pelfrey (9-1) was thankful for the offensive boost they provided because he desperately needed the help early on. Once the Mets staked him to a 5-0 lead, this figured to be a layup for Pelfrey, but he immediately gave back three runs in the first two innings.
"I didn't have the feel for anything," Pelfrey said. "Everything was up, everything was flat. I can't live up there. Obviously, I felt like they were racing for the bat rack. They were hitting shots. I was lucky they didn't put up a lot of runs."
But the Mets pushed the lead to 6-3 in the third inning on Cora's run-scoring single and Pelfrey tried one of his training tricks when he trotted out for the bottom half. Instead of the usual warm-up pitches, Pelfrey stood on the back-side slope of the mound and threw from there in the hope of getting a more "downhill" feel. It appeared to work, too, as Pelfrey made it through six innings and allowed only three runs.
"It was a day of work for him," Manuel said. "It wasn't as easy. It didn't seem like he could get the ball down early and that caused him some problems, but he made the adjustments. Lucky for him, it was one of those days where the offense pretty much took over the game."