By MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Wandy Rodriguez found his form against the
punchless New York Mets, pitching seven sharp innings to lead the
Houston Astros to a 6-1 victory Tuesday night.
Michael Bourn and Carlos Lee sparked the offense as Houston won
for the fifth time in nine games following a 1-7 start. The Astros
have alternated wins and losses over those nine games.
Carlos Beltran homered for the Mets, who have dropped 11 of 13.
They snapped a seven-game skid Sunday in Atlanta but followed it up
with a sluggish effort in all facets of the game.
Jonathon Niese (0-3) walked five and threw 113 pitches in six
innings as New York fell to 1-7 at Citi Field, losing its past six
The frustration showed on a rainy night, too. David Wright fired
his helmet toward the dugout after a first-inning flyout that would
have been a home run in nearly every other ballpark. Mets manager
Terry Collins argued a late call at second base.
Featuring a deceptive curveball, Rodriguez (1-2) allowed only
three hits and three walks, striking out seven. The left-hander,
who signed a $34 million, three-year contract in January, entered
with a 7.31 ERA after allowing 26 hits over 16 innings in his first
Fernando Abad and Jeff Fulchino finished the four-hitter.
Bourn opened the game with a single and moved to second on Angel
Sanchez’s sacrifice. Bourn then stole third and scored on Lee’s
Lee also singled in the third and was shaken up on the bases.
Chris Johnson hit a grounder toward the hole and new Mets second
baseman Justin Turner tried for a force play. His wild, off-balance
throw went past second, so Lee took off for third. But Wright
scooped up the ball and beat Lee in a race to third, diving to tag
the slugger on a bang-bang play at the bag.
Lee was called out and stayed down for a moment. It appeared he
hyperextended his elbow on the slide as he collided with Wright,
but Lee walked back to the dugout holding his arm and remained in
the game until he was replaced in left field by Jason Bourgeois
with a 6-1 lead in the eighth.
Brett Wallace singled to start the fourth and scored on a double
to left-center by No. 8 batter J.R. Towles, who finished 2 for 2
with a pair of walks to lift his average to .429.
Sanchez drew a walk from Pedro Beato in the seventh and scored
when left fielder Scott Hairston couldn’t catch Lee’s deep drive
with two outs. The ball glanced off Hairston’s glove just before
his back slammed into the high fence and he was charged with an
Beltran connected leading off the seventh to cut it to 3-1. All
three of his homers this season have been hit right-handed at home.
He has three homers among his seven career hits against Rodriguez.
The Mets put two on with two outs but Rodriguez struck out
pinch-hitter Chin-lung Hu with his 118th and final pitch.
Houston tacked on three runs against New York’s struggling
bullpen in the eighth. Bobby Parnell was booed off the mound after
balking in a run and allowing a two-run single to Sanchez.
NOTES: Mets LF Jason Bay (strained left rib cage) went 4 for 4
with two homers, four RBIs and three runs scored in a rehab game
with Class-A St. Lucie against Fort Myers. He is expected to come
off the disabled list Thursday. … New York C Ronny Paulino
(anemia) had two hits in that game for St. Lucie. … Bourn is 8
for 8 on stolen base attempts this year and has swiped 16 straight
dating to last season. … Astros SS Clint Barmes (broken left
hand) said he felt no pain while taking soft-toss swings. He will
be evaluated Friday and could then begin a minor league rehab
assignment. The team wants him to have at least 10-12 at-bats in
the minors before activating him from the disabled list. … Astros
INF Jeff Keppinger, on the DL following left foot surgery, will be
the DH in an extended spring training game Friday. … Astros RHP
Alberto Arias (shoulder surgery) felt soreness at extended spring
training in Florida and will travel to Houston to be examined by a
doctor Thursday. … Because of the inclement weather, the Mets
offered fans with a ticket Tuesday night to free admission for a
game against Pittsburgh from May 30 to June 2.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)