Final

Series: Game 2 of 3

Series tied 1-1 (as of 4/23)

Game 1: Tuesday, April 22
Houston6Final
NY Mets2
Game 2: Wednesday, April 23
Houston2Final
NY Mets4
Game 3: Thursday, April 24
Houston4Final
NY Mets7

Astros 2

(10-10, 5-6 away)

Mets 4

(9-12, 6-5 home)

    7:10 PM ET, April 23, 2003

    Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York 

    123456789 R H E
    HOU 000020000 2 8 0
    NYM 11100001 - 4 8 1

    W: A. Leiter (3-0)

    L: R. Oswalt (2-2)

    S: A. Benitez (6)

    Leiter earns first win vs. Astros since 1998

    NEW YORK (AP) -- For Al Leiter, beating the Houston Astros is hardly routine.

     Al Leiter
    Leiter

    "I had a lot of guys in that lineup to be concerned about," Leiter said after leading the Mets over Houston 4-2 Wednesday night for his first victory over the Astros in nearly five years.

    Leiter (3-0) had been winless in five starts against Houston since Sept. 15, 1998, going 0-4 with a no-decision. He escaped a jam in the sixth when he struck out Craig Biggio with two on and two outs.

    "It was fun," Leiter said. I have a lot of enjoyment in pitching today when I don't throw 95 (mph) like I used to. It's fun to see the reaction of the hitters to pitching, using the changeup away and the two-seamer in. When both sides of the plate are working, it's fun no matter who you pitch against."

    David Weathers pitched two hitless innings and Armando Benitez, who has struggled for much of the season, got his sixth save in 10 chances.

    "Their pitching just shut us down tonight," Astros manager Jimy Williams said.

    Before the game, New York announced center fielder Roger Cedeno was being benched and replaced by a platoon of Timo Perez and Tsuyoshi Shinjo.

    New York, which entering last in the NL in batting average (.225) and runs (71), also brought up Raul Gonzalez from the minor leagues. Gonzalez homered off Roy Oswalt in his first at-bat, a leadoff drive in the second inning that went into the left-field bleachers.

    Cedeno, booed every time he batted Tuesday, is hitting just .177 with one homer and four RBI, and has played poorly in center. Perez went 1-for-3, raising his average to .229, and Shinjo came in to start the bottom of the eighth.

    Benitez was booed by a few fans when he entered, and by some more after Orlando Merced's one-out double to deep right. Benitez then retired Biggio on a groundout and struck out Jose Vizcaino to end it.

    Oswalt gave up runs in each of the first three innings and wound up allowing seven hits and four walks in six innings with five strikeouts. Houston lost for the fourth time in six games.

    New York built a 3-0 lead on Mo Vaughn's RBI groundout, Gonzalez's homer and Ty Wigginton's RBI single. Jeff Bagwell cut the lead to 3-2 with a two-run single in the fifth.

    Pinch-hitter Jay Bell added a sacrifice fly in the eighth off former-Met Octavio Dotel.<

    Game notes
    Leiter had been 2-6 against Houston. ... Weathers made his 12th appearance in the Mets' first 21 games. ... Oswalt was 2-0 in two starts against the Mets in his career. ... Mets catcher Mike Piazza left the game in the eight with ``a mild groin strain'' but said after the game that he expected to play Thursday. ... RHP Pat Strange was optioned to Norfolk after the game to make room for RHP Pedro Astacio, who will be activated Thursday and start the series finale.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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