The Pirates concluded a nine-game road trip with their first three-game sweep over the Mets at Shea Stadium since June 24-26, 1994.
After consecutive one-run victories, Pittsburgh’s offense broke out against struggling Mets right-hander Jae Seo for 17 hits in an 8-1 rout in the finale on Sunday.
“I think it does a lot for our confidence,” Pittsburgh starter Kris Benson said, who allowed just one run on six hits, and struck out five. “People don’t think we’re going to score a lot of runs, and for the most part, we don’t score a lot of runs. I think it picks up our spirits, and we just feed off of one another.”
Sunday’s game was the second-highest scoring game this season for the Pirates—behind a rare 13-2 victory over the Cubs on April 12. They have scored four or fewer runs in seven of their first 12 games.
“We’ve got to scrap and claw,” Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We’re not a powerhouse club, by any means.
“Considering where we are and where we want to get to, it’s great for us,” McClendon said about the sweep. “I’m extremely pleased.”
Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee connected on his fourth career grand slam and first in more than two years to lift Chicago to an 8-1 victory over Cincinnati on Monday. The Cubs split the four-game series with the Reds and finished 4-3 on the seven-game homestand.
“It was a game we needed,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “We’ll be satisfied with the split.”
Aramis Ramirez went 14-for-30 with five home runs and 14 RBIS during the homestand, which includes going 4-for-13 with three home runs and five RBIs in a three-game series against Pittsburgh last week.