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GAME OF THE DAY

Pirates Deny Mets With a Series Sweep

September 18, 2006|From the Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — Once again, the New York Mets were left out of a party at PNC Park.

The Mets failed for the third straight day to clinch the NL East title when Zach Duke and the Pittsburgh Pirates finished off an unlikely sweep Sunday with a 3-0 victory.

"I'm not frustrated. We are a little disappointed we didn't get it done," Mets Manager Willie Randolph said. "You want to go out and do it with all the anticipation."

New York was denied its first division title since 1988 later when second-place Philadelphia beat Houston. The Mets can clinch at home tonight with a win over Florida or a loss by the Phillies.

The sweep almost certainly won't stop the Mets from reaching the playoffs, but it may have exposed a weakness that could hurt in the postseason.

For the third day in a row, a Pirates left-hander beat New York. The Mets have lost 13 of their last 18 against lefty starters and are 23-21 overall -- compared with 67-37 when facing a right-hander.

Duke (10-13) gave up eight hits and struck out six.

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