Friday, August 24, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Astros 3, Mets 1
By Adam Rubin
WHAT IT MEANS: Not to the lowly Houston Astros?
Yes, to the lowly Astros.
Despite a 7-43 record since June 27 -- the most futile 50-game stretch by a National League team since the 1899 Cleveland Spiders -- Houston came to Citi Field and beat the freefalling Mets, 3-1, in Friday night’s series opener. The Mets lost their sixth straight game, matching their season high.
Coming on the heels of getting swept in a four-game series by the Rockies in Queens, the Mets (57-69) dropped into a last-place tie with the Marlins in the NL East, pending the outcome of Miami’s game at Los Angeles.
The not-so-Amazin’s own an 11-29 record since the All-Star break, better than only Houston, which improved to 7-33 during that span. The Mets failed to exceed two runs for the seventh straight game, the longest stretch since the woeful 1982 Mets also went that length.
The Astros (40-86) matched the win total of the 1962 Mets with Friday's victory, pretty much ensuring they will avoid ignominy.
Jonathon Niese allowed a pair of second-inning runs, on consecutive RBI doubles by No. 8 hitter Brandon Barnes and opposing pitcher Jordan Lyles, and the Mets never led.
The combination of Jordany Valdespin and Andres Torres twice stranded a pair of runners on base -- including in the second inning, when the Mets had runners on the corners and none out. Valdespin’s grounder to first base resulted in Ike Davis being forced out at the plate. Torres followed by grounding into a double play.
Niese surrendered a leadoff homer in his seventh and final inning to Tyler Greene as the Astros grabbed a 3-1 lead.
200 CLUB: David Wright became the third player in franchise history with 200 homers, with a replay-confirmed solo shot in the fourth that struck the base of the right-field foul pole. Wright became the third Met to reach that plateau, joining Darryl Strawberry (252) and Mike Piazza (220). Wright had gone 92 at-bats between long balls, since going deep on July 27 at Arizona against Josh Collmenter. The drought was nine at-bats shy of matching Wright’s longest career homerless streak, which came in 2006, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
DEPOSED? Struggling Frank Francisco was summoned in the eighth inning with the Mets trailing by two runs -- not the typical time for use by a closer. He issued a walk but also recorded two outs.
SPECIAL K: Fernando Martinez, a waiver claim by Houston in January from the Mets, pinch hit for Lyles in the seventh and struck out to leave an insurance run at third base in his return to Citi Field as a visitor.
WHAT’S NEXT: R.A. Dickey (15-4, 2.82 ERA) resumes his quest for 20 wins when he opposes left-hander Fernando Abad, who will be promoted from Triple-A Oklahoma City for Saturday's 1:10 p.m. game.