By KRISTIE RIEKEN
AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON (AP) _ Jordan Schafer has reached base safely in every
game for the Houston Astros this season.
More special than that is what the leadoff hitter can do once
he’s on base.
Schafer had two hits and scored twice, including the go-ahead
run on a single by Jed Lowrie in the eighth inning to help the
Astros to a 4-3 win over the New York Mets on Monday night.
Matt Downs had a two-run homer in the sixth inning as the Astros
started a nine-game homestand.
The game was tied 3-all when Schafer reached on an infield
single to start the eighth. He stole second with one out and scored
on the hit by Lowrie off reliever Manny Acosta (0-2).
“I’m just trying to get on base and give the guys behind me
opportunities so we can score runs,” said Schafer, who has eight
stolen bases this season. “My job leading off is to get on base
and steal bases or bunt guys over or whatever. So … I try to
cause a little bit of havoc on the bases and score some runs.”
Schafer has scored 17 runs this season, most on the team.
Downs’ homer came in Houston’s three-run sixth after New York
knuckleballer R.A. Dickey began the game with five hitless innings.
The Mets tied it by scoring three times in the seventh,
including a two-run single by rookie Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
Fernando Rodriguez (1-3) got the last out of the eighth and
Brett Myers pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save.
David Wright and Ike Davis hit consecutive singles to start the
seventh and Wright went to third on a flyout by Mike Baxter.
An RBI single by Andres Torres, activated from the disabled list
before the game, got New York within 3-1. Pinch-hitter Lucas Duda
walked with two outs to load the bases before Nieuwenhuis’ single
chased starter Bud Norris.
Wilton Lopez retired Ruben Tejada to end the inning.
The Mets have scored 20 runs with two outs in the past seven
Dickey gave up three hits in the sixth before he was replaced by
Acosta for the seventh.
“Tonight was the night that I literally threw one pitch that I
didn’t like, and it got hit out of the park,” Dickey said. “That
normally doesn’t happen. One more wiggle to the knuckleball there,
and he pops that up or hits it off the end. That is the only pitch
I would take back. Everything else I feel like I am in a good place
Norris allowed seven hits and three runs with seven strikeouts
in 6 2-3 innings.
“He did a good job of putting us in position when we couldn’t
get anything going against the guy who was no-hitting us,” Houston
manager Brad Mills said.
Schafer got Houston’s first hit with a soft single to left field
leading off the sixth. He has reached safely in each of Houston’s
23 games, tied for the second-longest streak to start a season in
“He’s been the catalyst for us just about this whole season,
and it’s been huge,” Mills said.
Schafer reached second on a sacrifice bunt by Jose Altuve and
went to third on a bloop single by Lowrie that dropped in the
outfield not far from third base. Schafer had to slide to get there
Houston went ahead 1-0 on Travis Buck’s RBI groundout. Downs
followed with his second homer, after hitting his first of the
season on Sunday.
Brian Bogusevic reached on an error by second baseman Daniel
Murphy after the home run, but was caught stealing to end the
Norris retired the first five Mets before a single by Baxter
with two outs in the second. The right-hander struck out Torres to
end that inning and pitched a 1-2-3 third.
Norris plunked Tejada with a pitch to start the fourth and
Tejada advanced to second on a wild pitch when Norris tripped on
the mound with one out. But Norris retired the next two batters to
escape the inning.
Buck robbed Torres of a hit in the fifth when he stretched out
while sprinting to catch a long fly ball just before the wall in
Nieuwenhuis singled to start the sixth, but was picked off at
first while Tejada was batting.
NOTES: Mets starter Mike Pelfrey will have season-ending Tommy
John surgery on his right elbow Tuesday. … Duda was out of the
starting lineup because of flulike symptoms. Mets manager Terry
Collins said he wasn’t feeling much better and he doesn’t expect
him to play Tuesday. … Houston 1B Carlos Lee sat out for the
third straight game with a sprained left ankle.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)