NEW YORK -- The Mets have gotten plenty of good pitching during their seven-game win streak, and at the plate, it's almost as if New York hitters know what's coming.
On Sunday, Pirates starter Ian Snell thought perhaps they did.
Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo and Omir Santos each drove in a pair of runs, and the Mets rolled to an 8-4 victory over bumbling Pittsburgh and their first three-game sweep of the Pirates since 2001. The win gave New York seven straight victories for the first time since last July.
"They hit some good pitches. I found out later they had our signs," said Snell, who lost for the fifth time in seven starts. "That's baseball -- there's nothing wrong with it."
Snell said he thinks David Wright may have had the signs when he fouled off a couple of good pitches in the fourth inning, when New York scored three times to take a 3-2 lead.
"Like he was expecting them," Snell said.
The three-game sweep was the first for New York after failing in three previous attempts this season. The Mets, who welcomed back manager Jerry Manuel from a one-game suspension, haven't lost since May 2.
"I think we just needed to get hot a little bit to realize how good we are," Wright said.
Livan Hernandez (3-1) needed 31 pitches to get through a shaky first, but settled down to last six innings. He allowed two runs and seven hits for his 150th career win. Every Mets starter has gone at least six innings during their win streak, and they're a combined 6-0 with a 2.26 ERA.
"We're playing good baseball, especially our starting pitching -- to go six, seven innings gives our bullpen a rest," said Wright, who's hitting .356 over his last 12 games. "We feel pretty comfortable when we put up a couple crooked numbers we're going to win the game."
Nate McLouth hit a two-run homer in the ninth and finished with three RBIs for the Pirates, who have dropped eight in a row and 12 of 13 after an 11-7 start to the season.
The Pirates hadn't been swept by the Mets since Sept. 17-19, 2001, and it had not happened in New York since June 2000.
"We're struggling to score runs. We can't afford to give up so many late," manager John Russell said. "Hopefully we can go home and refocus."
Snell (1-5) did his best to give Pittsburgh a chance, cruising into the fourth with a mid-90s fastball. Carlos Delgado finally gave New York some life with a double that hit a couple feet below the top of the center-field wall -- a home run in just about any other park in the majors -- and Wright followed with an RBI single.
After Daniel Murphy walked, Santos brought them both home with a base hit.
The Mets added to their 3-2 lead in the seventh, taking advantage of an error by shortstop Brian Bixler. They tacked on four more in the eighth when Jose Reyes drew a bases-loaded walk, Castillo hit a sacrifice fly and Beltran drove a two-run double off the left-field wall.
"We're pretty good at scoring early, but last year we had trouble scoring late," said Beltran, who has six RBIs in his last four games. "Now we're doing everything the way we should do it."
Snell can't seem to catch a break, although nobody else on the Pirates can either.
The 27-year-old right-hander has only allowed nine runs his last five starts but has one win to show for it. His last time out, he threw 131 pitches over seven innings and allowed the only run in a 1-0 loss to the Brewers.
"They had a very talented guy pitching on the mound," Manuel said. "Getting runs from the bottom of the order is good to see, and that's what we did today."
Several players used pink bats for Mother's Day and breast cancer awareness. The bats will be auctioned to raise money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. ... Mets C Ramon Castro did not start after leaving Saturday with a tight right quad. Santos started in his place. ... Pirates SS Jack Wilson (sprained finger) skipped his rehab start with Triple-A Indianapolis and flew back to Pittsburgh. He'll work out at PNC Park on Monday and is scheduled to be activated before the Pirates' game against St. Louis on Tuesday.