Mets 3, Orioles 1

The streak lasted so long, the New York Mets found it

laughable.

After going nearly 11 months without winning two straight on the

road, the Mets finally broke though Saturday night by defeating the

Baltimore Orioles 3-1.

Combined with their 5-1 win Friday, New York ended a drought

that began after victories over Houston last July 25-26.

“It’s embarrassing, it really is,” said Jeff Francoeur, who

homered to back a strong pitching performance by Hisanori

Takahashi. “As a team, it’s something we can laugh about, because

we’re playing well and we know what kind of team we have this

year.

“It just kind of shows you how bad things were last year and

how bad we’ve been on the road this year. It’s almost hard to think

that that’s actually possible,” he said. “I guess it is.”

Jose Reyes also homered for the Mets, who are now assured of

winning the three-game series after going 0-7-2 away from home –

their longest series drought to start a season since 1983.

“There is no doubt about it, that it’s been a big issue, a big

story,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “To put that in the rearview

mirror and keep playing is probably a confidence builder for the

guys in the clubhouse. That they can win road games, that’s

huge.”

Takahashi (5-2) gave up one run, six hits and a walk in seven

innings. The rookie left-hander yielded a total of 11 runs in his

previous two starts but had little difficulty against the AL’s

lowest-scoring team.

“We did a good job (Friday),” he said through an interpreter.

“I just wanted to keep the flow going.”

Pedro Feliciano worked the ninth and Francisco Rodriguez got

three outs for his 13th save.

Orioles starter Brian Matusz (2-7) lost his seventh straight

decision despite allowing only three runs and five hits in eight

innings. The rookie right-hander was again victimized by a lack of

offensive support – in his last nine starts, Baltimore has scored

only 11 runs while he was in the game.

Matusz took consolation in that he kept the light-hitting

Orioles within striking distance.

“It’s one of the best starts of my career,” he said. “I

didn’t walk a guy today and I threw a lot of strikes. I made a

couple mistake pitches with the solo home runs, but that’s going to

happen when you’re throwing a lot of strikes. I was just attacking

the zone today, and unfortunately came out with the loss.”

Baltimore has lost 14 of 16 while being outscored 96-35. The

Orioles are 0-9-1 in their last 10 series.

New York snapped a 1-1 tie in the sixth. With runners at the

corners and one out, David Wright hit a comebacker. Matusz got the

out at second, but the high relay from Julio Lugo pulled first

baseman Ty Wigginton off the bag as Ruben Tejada scored from

third.

“When you’re in a funk those things happen. It seems like you

don’t make the play and it costs you,” interim manager Juan Samuel

said. “When things are going right, you don’t make the plays and

it does not cost you.”

Francoeur homered leading off the eighth.

“That was nice – a run to get to 3-1 and get us some breathing

room,” Francoeur said.

The Mets got off to a quick start behind Reyes, who hit the

fifth pitch of the game into the left-field seats. It was his 15th

career leadoff homer and New York’s first this season.

Rookie Ike Davis then reached on a two-out error and stole

second, but Matusz struck out Jason Bay.

Baltimore used doubles by Corey Patterson and Nick Markakis to

pull even in the bottom half. But the Orioles would not get another

runner past second base the rest of the game.

The Orioles went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position after

going 3 for 17 in that situation Friday.

Luke Scott took exception to a called third strike by Tom

Hallion with a runner on first in the sixth, insisting the ball was

outside. But that’s how this season has been for Baltimore.

“The ball is in the other batter’s box. You can’t hit that. You

can’t even put it in play. You can’t foul it off,” he said.

“Things like that have been happening to us consistently. And it

makes it really tough to overcome.”

NOTES: The crowd of 42,248 was fortified by plenty of Mets fans.

… Davis’ steal was his first in the majors. … Matusz has

yielded seven homers in his last six starts after giving up only

two long balls in his first eight. … Bay is in an 0-for-16

skid.