NEW YORK -- Brett Myers pitched at least six innings again, Carlos Lee homered off Johan Santana again and two of the few remaining veterans on the young Astros gave Houston a team first: a win at Citi Field.
Lee also drove in a run in a two-run first inning, and that was all the Astros really needed to beat the New York Mets 4-1 Saturday night."Today, facing Santana, you know he kind of got a tough first inning and we took advantage, scored two runs, took the lead," Lee said. "Every time you got a lead with Myers going out there, you know it's basically guaranteed he's going to go seven. So you know, you feel pretty good."The Mets have four hits in 34 at-bats with runners in scoring position in the last five games, for a .118 average. David Wright hit an RBI single in the eighth.
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"We seem to have the better at-bats late," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "It's almost a little too late at that point."Lee's two-run shot off Santana in the fifth was his fourth against the tough little lefty, most in the NL. Only Travis Hafner and Magglio Ordonez have five.He made it 4-0, but by that point, the Mets might as well have been buried. Santana (10-9) has only won once this season when allowing more than a run. It hasn't helped that he has an ERA of 8.04 in the first inning this season.In the 15 starts in which he's allowed one or no runs, he's won nine and gotten six no-decisions. Santana gave up four runs and won June 15 at Cleveland."I'm not perfect. I'm going to give up some runs out there," Santana said. "You hope your team can come back and score some runs. That wasn't the case tonight."It didn't help that Myers (10-7) gave up six hits and a walk in seven innings. He faced exactly four batters in every inning and never allowed a runner past second."I just tried to make pitches," Myers said. "I wanted them to hit the ball at people."Houston has won six of seven, a streak that seems almost unreachable for the Mets, who have spent August hovering within a game of the .500 mark.The Astros got nice games from youngsters Tommy Manzella (three hits, one an RBI single), Jason Bourgeois (two hits and a diving catch) and catcher Humberto Quintero, whom Myers credited with another well-called game."I just followed what Q was putting down," Myers said. "He's a smart catcher."Myers has pitched at least six innings in all of his 27 starts this season. Larry Dierker had the previous Astros record of 26 in 1969-70."I know you guys are tried of me saying it, but another outstanding outing," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "That can't be overstated, what he's doing and what he has done and what he did tonight.On Saturday night, Santana gave up four runs and eight hits in seven innings, losing a third straight decision for the fourth time in his career. He hasn't dropped four in a row since 2004 with Minnesota.The Mets sent the tying run to the plate in the eighth against Wilton Lopez, when Wright hit a one-out RBI single and Ike Davis singled behind him. Jeff Francoeur struck out and Josh Thole's sinking liner to left looked good, but Bourgeois made a diving catch that bailed out Tim Byrdak for the last out.The Mets had a hit in each of the first five innings, but never came close to scoring. They stranded one runner in each of the first seven, and two in the eighth before Brandon Lyon pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth straight save."We got to believe that at some point in these last 37 games, we're going to break out," Manuel said. "I see guys trying to get the job done, but I wouldn't call it pressing."
Lee has 28 RBIs in 28 games since July 28. ... Houston was swept at Citi Field last year and lost the series opener 2-1 Friday night. ... Astros closer Matt Lindstrom still has a stiff back and his scheduled bullpen session was pushed back. Astros manager Brad Mills said Lindstrom will be evaluated daily to see if he's ready to throw. ... Houston INF Jeff Keppinger (left big toe) is expected to play a rehab game at Double-A Corpus Christi on Sunday. INF Geoff Blum rejoined the Astros after missing three days with neck discomfort. He pinch hit in the eighth. ... Mets SS Jose Reyes was out of the lineup for the second night in a row because of the right oblique strain he aggravated on Thursday. He did not take batting practice. ... Myers is the 13th pitcher to go at least six innings in his first 27 starts since 1920. Curt Schilling was the last to do it, with six or more innings in his first 35 starts.