NEW YORK (AP) -- Tim Redding got the support he needed to end his
long winless streak.
Redding allowed one run in six innings to win for the first in
nearly 11 months and Richard Hidalgo homered to help the slumping
Houston Astros beat the New York Mets 6-2 Tuesday night. Redding, who hadn't won since last May 29, when he beat St.
Louis in relief, pitched well in two of his three starts this
season. But he had nothing to show for it because the Astros scored just
four runs for him in those three games. "I knew it had been awhile," Redding said. "But you can't go
out there and worry about when your last win was. The team came
through today and got me some runs early." Nothing went right for the Mets, who lost outfielder Jeromy
Burnitz for four-to-six weeks with a broken bone in his left hand.
Burnitz was hit by a pitch from Houston closer Billy Wagner in the
ninth inning. New York starter David Cone left after two innings with a sore
left hip and the Mets managed only three hits until the ninth
inning. "It's frustrating," said New York catcher Mike Piazza, who hit
a solo homer in the ninth. "But it's part of the game. Jeromy had
worked so hard for us and was doing the job both offensively and
defensively. He's going to be missed." Jeff Kent and Orlando Merced hit RBI doubles in the first inning
against Cone (1-3) as the Astros got off to a quick start and won
for just the third time in 10 games. Houston had lost three of four in Milwaukee before winning the
opener of a three-game set at Shea Stadium. It got a little tense
in the ninth before Wagner retired Tsuyoshi Shinjo with the bases
loaded to end it. "This was very good after leaving Milwaukee with a sour
taste," said Merced, who added an RBI single in the seventh. "The
road trip was not going very well for us. We have to start
somewhere. Hopefully this will be the beginning of something
good." Cone is day to day, but the 40-year-old's spot in the rotation --
and comeback -- could be in jeopardy with Pedro Astacio expected to
come off the disabled list this week. "I'm not ready to give up by any means," said Cone, who has
been bothered by the hip the past few years. "I'm going to do
anything I can to strengthen my hip and keep going out there." Redding (1-2), a native of Rochester, N.Y., pitched well in his
first career appearance at Shea Stadium. He grew up cheering for
the Yankees but said Cone was always the pitcher he admired most. Redding gave up only three hits, including an RBI double by
Burnitz in the fourth inning. "He got better as the game went on," manager Jimy Williams
said. "His breaking ball got a little bit better." Redding had lost six straight decisions, and won for the first
time in 13 starts since beating Philadelphia last May 13. "He's pitched well and given us an opportunity to win,"
Houston's Craig Biggio said. "He pitched great the first two
starts but we didn't get him any runs. It was nice to get him
some." Houston scored two in the first after Biggio walked to lead off
the game. With two outs, Kent hit an RBI double that Timo Perez had
trouble fielding in the left field corner. Merced followed with a drive over center fielder Roger Cedeno's
head to make it 2-0. The Astros loaded the bases in the second before Cone recovered
to strike out Jeff Bagwell to get out of the jam. But that was the end of Cone's night. He threw 51 pitches in two
innings, allowing two runs, three hits and three walks. "It was evident right away that he didn't have his command,"
Mets manager Art Howe said. "I think it was important to get him
out of there before something serious happened." After throwing five scoreless innings in his first start of the
season against Montreal, Cone has lost three straight starts,
allowing 12 runs in 11 innings. Jae Seo relieved Cone and allowed Hidalgo's solo homer in the
third and RBI doubles to Biggio and Bagwell in the fourth. Seo allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings.
The fans booed Cedeno every time he batted and cheered when
he was replaced in the eighth inning by Shinjo. Cedeno went 0-for-3
with two strikeouts, dropping his average to .177. ... Houston RHP
Brad Lidge pitched two perfect innings and has allowed only one run
in 15 innings this season. ... Houston is 3-5 on a 13-game road
trip -- the team's longest since a 26-game trip in 1992 when the
Republican convention was at the Astrodome.