The Mets have taken the first two games of this set, winning Monday's opener by a tight 1-0 margin prior to blowing out the Pirates last night in a 9-1 victory, New York's fifth in its last seven games.
Angel Pagan and Carlos Beltran each drove in three runs, with Beltran and Nick Evans both hitting solo homers to back R.A. Dickey's second complete game of the season. The knuckleballer won a career-best 11th game of the season by holding the Pirates to a run of five hits.
"I cannot take anything for granted," Dickey said regarding his impending free agency status at the end of the season. "That's my story. Other guys have a different story, but my story is I have to live in the moment as much as possible. We'll see what happens at the end of the year."
John Bowker drove in the lone run for the Pirates, who have lost five of six, while Zach Duke was rocked in 3 1/3 innings, allowing eight runs -- seven earned -- on nine hits for his 14th loss of the campaign.
"It was obviously different," Pirates manager John Russell said of facing a knuckleball specialist like Dickey. "That's the first one we've seen. It's a big challenge. They're tough guys to hit off of when they're on."
New York hasn't won three games in a row since an eight-game run from June 10-18 and will try to hit that mark tonight behind Jenrry Mejia.
After beginning his rookie season with 30 relief appearances, the 20-year-old Mejia has made two straight starts, losing them both. His first start came on Sept. 4 in Chicago and he allowed four runs over five innings. Then versus the Phillies on Friday, the right-hander was charged with six runs, nine hits and a walk over four innings of an 8-4 setback.
On the season, Mejia is 0-4 with a 4.91 ERA and faces the Pirates for the first time.
Getting the assignment today for Pittsburgh is Paul Maholm, who hasn't won since Aug. 3 and is 0-5 with an 8.17 ERA in seven starts since. In Cincinnati on Friday, the 28-year-old southpaw yielded three runs on six hits and three walks over seven innings of a no-decision, striking out eight in his longest start since July 18.
Maholm is 7-14 with a 5.37 ERA in 29 starts this year and 3-2 with a 4.57 ERA in his career versus the Mets.
New York took two of three in Pittsburgh from Aug. 20-22.