By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO,
(AP) -- An impressive offensive display helped the New York Mets finish .500 on their road trip. A similar effort from the Cincinnati Reds has them primed to end their skid away from home.
These teams will look to continue their hot hitting when they open a three-game series at Shea Stadium on Friday night.
The Mets (17-15) are coming off one of their best offensive performances of the season, generating 13 hits in a 12-1 win at Los Angeles on Wednesday. The victory, which was spurred by a six-run fifth inning, helped the Mets avoid being swept and gave them a 3-3 record on their trip.
"Offense, offense, offense - it makes a world of difference," manager Willie Randolph said.
Cincinnati's bats were also the difference on Wednesday, as the Reds (14-21) hit seven home runs - four in the second inning - of a 9-0 home win over the Chicago Cubs.
First baseman Joey Votto went deep three times as the Reds hit their most homers in a game since registering an NL-record nine at Philadelphia on Sept. 4, 1999.
The seven homers matched the Reds' total from their previous 10 games.
"It was great to see that - hitting all those home runs, scoring all those runs, especially after not hitting any," manager Dusty Baker said. "Those things go in streaks. Home runs go in streaks, hitting goes in streaks, good pitching goes in streaks. We had some good streaking going today."
Cincinnati will now try to end a streak of five straight road losses in which it is hitting .190 with three homers while being outscored 37-12.
The Reds lost three of four last year at Shea Stadium, where the Mets are 9-5 this season but haven't received the best reception from their fans.
Johan Santana, Carlos Delgado and Jose Reyes have been booed at times, and Randolph feels the disappointment stems from the club's epic collapse last season when it blew a seven-game lead in the NL East with 17 to play.
"Obviously, the fans are having a tough time moving past that, so we just hope that they eventually get behind this team," Randolph told the Mets' official Web site. "I think we're going to make them real proud before the year is over."
Mike Pelfrey (2-2, 5.27 ERA) hopes to avoid becoming the next Met to draw the jeers of the Shea crowd Friday as he tries to get back on track after a few lackluster outings.
The right-hander began 2008 by winning his first two starts and posting a 1.50 ERA, but he's 0-2 with an 8.22 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .438 in his last three - all losses for New York.
Pelfrey gave up five runs and nine hits with four walks in five innings of a 10-4 defeat at Arizona on Saturday.
"I'm staying positive," Pelfrey said. "I know from my standpoint I have to be better than I have been, and the last three performances is not cutting it."
Pelfrey won his only career start against the Reds on July 18, 2006, allowing two runs and seven hits in six innings of an 8-3 victory in Cincinnati.
The Reds turn to Matt Belisle (1-2, 6.91 ERA), who is coming off his best outing of the season.
The right-hander allowed two runs and scattered eight hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 9-1 loss at Atlanta on Saturday. That came after he struggled in his first two outings, going 1-1 while giving up 11 runs and 17 hits in nine innings.
Belisle is 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA in three appearances - two starts - against the Mets, and in his only start at Shea he allowed one run and nine hits with six strikeouts in seven innings of the Reds' 2-1 loss last July 14.