Inside Pitch: Mets headed home

After a disastrous 2-5 road trip to Colorado and Houston, the Mets finally return to Shea Stadium, where they are 32-21. They play a three-game series against Milwaukee starting Tuesday, then three against the Cubs.

"I wish I knew why we're so much better at home," said Mets manager Willie Randolph, whose club is 21-31 on the road. "I think we get more energy at home from our fans."

Going into games on Sunday, only St. Louis had a winning road record among teams in the National League.

"The players have to motivate themselves on the road," Randolph said. "That's the way I always felt as a player. I liked it when the fans on the road booed me and got on me."

The Mets have won only one road series since June 1. That came in early July when they took three of four at Washington.

"You have hold your own on the road if you're going to contend," left-hander Tom Glavine said. "That has been our downfall this season. It's something we have to correct if we're going to make a move in the division."

NOTES, QUOTES

--RHP Kris Benson (6-4) on Friday had his shortest outing since May 5, lasting only 5 1/3 innings in a 5-2 loss at Houston. Craig Biggio, Lance Berkman and Morgan Ensberg homered for the Astros.

--3B David Wright's hitting streak was snapped Friday at 15 games, a career high.

--OF Cliff Floyd threw Adam Everett out at the plate in the sixth inning Friday. It was his 10th assist, the most among National League outfielders.

--CF Carlos Beltran carried the Houston Astros to within a game of the World Series last fall. But the crowds at Minute Maid Park didn't seem to remember that.

Beltran was booed, long and loud. "I wasn't surprised," Beltran said. "I was expecting what happened. ... It didn't hurt me. I tried to block it."

The ferocity of the crowd never ceased. Beltran said he was cursed while he was in the field and at the plate.

"I'm not going to say what they were saying," he said. "You can imagine."

--RHP Pedro Martinez struck out eight Thursday to give him 2,808 in his career. That moved Martinez past Cy Young into 16th place on the all-time list.

"Cy Young? That's one of the biggest names in history," Martinez said. "I just thank God so much for having the opportunity to be mentioned with those names."

--C Mike Piazza caught his 1,507th game, moving into 25th place on the career list.

--OF Mike Cameron was out of the starting lineup Wednesday, a night after striking out four times. He has hit .202 (26 of 129) and struck out 38 times over the last 30 games. "I want to give him a day to clear his head," manager Willie Randolph said. "He's obviously not seeing the ball real well right now. He'll be in there (Thursday)."

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- Hits for Mike Piazza on a six-game road trip to Colorado and Houston, two hitter-friendly ballparks. He was 3-for-17 with no RBIs.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't know I can sit here and tell you it's surprising. We've been this way all year long. We have a good series; we have a bad series. We win some games; we lose some games. That's why we're .500. For everything we seem to do good, we seem to take a step backwards." -- LHP Tom Glavine on the Mets' inability to get more than four games over .500 this season.


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