Mets
Astros
6 - 2 Final
  for this game

Maine's brilliant performance helps Mets end skid, beat Astros

Jul 6, 2007 - 5:36 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- New York Mets manager Willie Randolph found an easy solution to his team's four-game losing streak: Send out John Maine to pitch and Carlos Delgado to hit against the Houston Astros.

Maine (10-4) shut out Houston for 7 2/3 innings, setting a career high with nine strikeouts, and Delgado rapped out four hits as the Mets defeated the Astros, 6-2 on Thursday.

Carlos Beltran also added a solo homer for New York, which had lost the final game of a four-game series in Philadelphia and dropped three straight in Colorado before beginning the series against the Astros.

"We really needed it," Delgado said of Maine's performance. "We needed a guy to stop the bleeding. He came out today and set the tone. He was aggressive, throwing strikes."

The Mets had been outscored by 24 runs during the four-game slide, giving up 11 runs Tuesday at Colorado and 17 Wednesday.

"We came in (Wednesday) night through a thunderstorm, so maybe it washed the gloom away," Randolph said.

Maine, who allowed six hits, became the fifth pitcher in the National League to 10 wins.

He turned into the stopper Thursday by halting the losing streak.

"I really don't think about it like that," Maine said. "I just have to go out there and pitch. It's unfortunate what happened in Colorado. We've got to win one eventually, so why not tonight. The team always seems to score four or five runs (for me). The first time through the lineup I just wanted to show I was throwing strikes, then try to get them to chase some things after that."

Maine isn't known as a strikeout pitcher, but he was dealing vs. the Astros.

"You can tell early when he's got great stuff," Randolph said. "He hit his spots, moved the ball up and down, in and out. When he throws the ball like he did today, you're going to get some strikeouts."

"Everything was working for him," catcher Ramon Castro said. "He was throwing the slider backdoor inside. When he threw his fastball, they had no chance."

The righthander had won both his previous starts again Houston, including a complete-game four-hitter last year at Shea Stadium. Maine entered Thursday's game with a 1.17 ERA in 15 1/3 innings vs. Houston.

"We faced a couple of Cy Young Award-type candidates the last two days," said Astros shortstop Mark Loretta of Maine and Philadelphia's Cole Hamels. "They didn't make a lot of mistakes."

Delgado, who enjoyed similar success vs. the Astros, was 4-for-4 vs. Houston, reaching base five times. The veteran first baseman entered with a .425 average with six homers against Houston.

"I really don't have an explanation for that," Delgado said. "I'm seeing the ball better (now). The pitch recognition is the biggest difference. I wasn't getting ready soon enough, not reading the balls in the strike zone."

Jose Reyes started the Mets rolling with a triple off Jason Jennings (1-4) on the second pitch of the game. The All-Star shortstop then scored on Ricky Ledee's slow roller to first that bounced off the bag for a hit. Ledee advanced on a groundout and scored on Delgado's single for a 2-0 lead.

"The last week we didn't get too many breaks," said Randolph of Ledee's fluke single. "Ricky doesn't get to play too much and he needed that and we needed it."

"That's what I'm here for, to fill in when anybody goes down or needs a rest," said Ledee, who will probably get more time with Carlos Gomez out six to eight weeks with a broken hand he suffered Wednesday. "We need to get on base. We've got a good lineup. We're going to drive in some runs."

Mets reserve catcher Ramon Castro, filling in for the suspended Paul Lo Duca, doubled in two more runs in the third to increase the lead to four. He then singled and scored in the sixth on a run-scoring single by Ledee to make it 5-0.

"He didn't make good pitches," Astros manager Phil Garner said of Jennings. "We had a real hard time with Delgado. It didn't seem to matter what he threw him. I think the one that hurt us most was the one up to Castro (for the double)."

"I couldn't get into a rhythm," Jennings said. "They jumped on me pretty early."

The Astros tried to get something going in the sixth when Craig Biggio and rookie Hunter Pence opened the inning with singles. But Maine struck out Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee and retired Loretta on a pop-up to escape unscathed.

Houston finally scored in the eighth on Biggio's double and Lee's two-out double. Loretta drove in Lee with a bloop single off reliever Joe Smith to make it 5-2.

Beltran belted his 15th homer off reliever Dave Borkowski in the ninth to finish the scoring.

Biggio had two hits to pass Wade Boggs for 24th on the all-time hit list with 3,011 for Houston, which had won five of seven on its homestand before Thursday's loss.

Mets closer Billy Wagner struck out Biggio, his former teammate, to end the game.

"I think he's hit for the cycle against me," Wagner said of Biggio. "It's not fun pitching against those guys (Astros). You have a relationship with them. When you have to come back to a place you never should have left, it's tough."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    NY METS 2 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 1 6 13 0
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 7 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: NYM - JOHN MAINE, JOE SMITH (8TH), PEDRO FELICIANO (8TH), BILLY
    WAGNER (9TH) AND RAMON CASTRO
    HOU - JASON JENNINGS, MATT ALBERS (7TH), DAVE BORKOWSKI
    (8TH) AND ERI

    Jul 5 10:53 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CARLOS BELTRAN (15) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 9TH OFF DAVE BORKOWSKI.
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 6, HOUSTON 2
    DUE UP FOR NY METS: D WRIGHT (.292, 0-FOR-4)

    Mets vs. AstrosJul 5 10:36 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MARK LORETTA SCORED CARLOS LEE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M LORETTA ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 5
    HOUSTON 2 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M LAMB (.299, 0-FOR-3)

    Mets vs. AstrosJul 5 10:27 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY CARLOS LEE SCORED CRAIG BIGGIO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C LEE ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 5
    HOUSTON 1 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M LORETTA (.326, 1-FOR-3)

    Mets vs. AstrosJul 5 10:22 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RICKY LEDEE SCORED RAMON CASTRO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R LEDEE ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 5
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR NY METS: C BELTRAN (.265, 0-FOR-3)

    Mets vs. AstrosJul 5 9:39 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY RAMON CASTRO SCORED CARLOS DELGADO AND JOSE
    VALENTIN.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, R CASTRO ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 4
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR NY METS: J MAINE (.103, 0-FOR-1)

    Mets vs. AstrosJul 5 8:55 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    NY METS 2 2 3 0
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: NYM - JOHN MAINE
    HOU - JASON JENNINGS

    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C BIGGIO (.258, 5 HR, 28 RBI)
    H PENCE (.346, 11 HR, 40 RBI)
    L BERKMAN (.266, 14 HR, 54 RBI)

    Mets vs. AstrosJul 5 8:16 PM