PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) _ Luis Castillo reached base all three times up and scored a run Wednesday, helping the New York Mets defeat the Houston Astros 7-2.

One of four candidates for the Mets’ second base job, Castillo walked twice, then singled and scored on a hit by Daniel Murphy,who is contending for the same spot.

Josh Thole and Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit two-run homers for the Mets.Mets starter Chris Young allowed five hits, including solohomers to J.D. Martinez and Matt Downs, in four innings. CloserFrancisco Rodriguez was perfect in relief.

Ryan Rowland-Smith, in competition for the fifth slot in the Astros’ rotation, allowed two runs on one hit and three walks in three innings.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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