Mets
Astros
3 - 7 Final
  for this game

Loretta grand slam helps Astros past Mets

Aug 2, 2008 - 4:48 AM By Gene Duffy PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Pinch hitter Mark Loretta delivered a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning to power the Houston Astros to a 7-3 victory over the New York Mets on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

Carlos Lee, starter Brandon Backe and former Met Kazuo Matsui all homered for Houston, which has won five of seven.

But the biggest hit came from Loretta, who snapped a tie by drilling an 1-0 offering from Aaron Heilman (1-5) for his second pitch-hit homer of the season. It was Loretta's second grand slam of his career and his first since 2002, when he played for the Milwaukee Brewers. He 8-for-19 with 11 RBI as a pinch hitter this season.

"For someone who doesn't start the game, that's about as good as it gets," Loretta said. "I didn't expect to hit a home run. I'm just trying to make contact, use the middle of the field, get the run in and not hit a ground ball, because I'm a double play candidate."

"He sits there for a week since he's played and he gives you a great at-bat," Houston manager Cecil Cooper said. "You can count on him. He always puts a good swing on it. He's earned some more playing time."

Loretta's homer made a winner out of Doug Brocail (5-5), who got the final two outs of the eighth. Loretta, who raised his average to .276, said there were no secrets to his success pinch-hitting.

"The more I've done it, the more I've been able to relax," he said. "You get comfortable with it. I'm not sure you can get better with it."

While Loretta came through in the clutch, the Mets wasted a prime opportunity just one inning earlier. With the game tied at 3-3, New York loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh. However, Tim Byrdak, Chris Sampson and Wesley Wright came out of the bullpen to retire one batter each and escape the inning.

After the first three hitters reached, Byrdak struck out Endy Chavez, Sampson got Wright to hit into a fielder's choice and Wright retired Carlos Delgado on a fly ball to left.

"That was the ballgame right there," Cooper said.

Mets interim manager Jerry Manuel agreed.

"That's where we lost the game," said Manuel, whose team remains one game back of the Philadelphia Phillies (59-50) in the National League East.

New York opened the scoring in the first as David Wright's RBI single scored Jose Reyes. Matsui led off the bottom half of the first with a homer into the Houston bullpen in right-center to tie the game. It was the first leadoff homer of the season for the Astros and third of the year for Matsui.

Backe put himself and the Astros ahead, 2-1, with a homer in the third. Backe's homer, which was estimated at 409 feet., was his second of the season and fourth of his career.

"It's a good feeling to hit one," Backe said. "I enjoy hitting. I do understand pitching is the main thing."

Damion Easley's RBI single in the fourth gave New York 3-2 lead. But Houston tied it in the bottom of the inning on Lee's 25th homer.

Backe lasted six-plus innings, surrendering three runs and 10 hits.

Meanwhile, Pedro Martinez allowed three runs - all on solo homers - and five hits in five innings. The three-time Cy Young Award winner struck out five, walked two and threw 87 pitches in his first start since July 12 vs. Colorado, when he left after four innings with tightness in his right shoulder. He missed another start when his father passed away July 23.

"It was just nice to get back on the rubber and actually get back to pitching with all these distractions," Martinez said. "I was rusty, a little bit, the rust of not pitching in 20 days."

"Pedro was OK," Manuel said. "For a guy who hadn't pitched in 20 days, that's pretty good. He showed some arm strength and then kind of settled down a little bit. He didn't keep the ball in the park like he probably would've liked to."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    NY METS 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 3 10 0
    HOUSTON 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 4 x 7 9 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: NYM - PEDRO MARTINEZ, JOE SMITH (6TH), AARON HEILMAN (7TH), PEDRO
    FELICIANO (8TH) AND BRIAN SCHNEIDER
    HOU - BRANDON BACKE, TIM BYRDAK (7TH), CHRIS SAMPSON
    (7TH), W

    Aug 1 10:59 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    GRAND SLAM BY MARK LORETTA (4) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    8TH OFF AARON HEILMAN SCORED LANCE BERKMAN, CARLOS LEE AND HUNTER
    PENCE.
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 3, HOUSTON 7
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: D ERSTAD (.273, 1-FOR-3)

    Mets 3, Astros 7  Bot 8, 0 OutsAug 1 10:43 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - MID INNING UPDATE
    PLAY: M Loretta hit for D Brocail.
    SITUATION: 0 RUNS IN, H PENCE ON FIRST, C LEE ON SECOND, L BERKMAN
    ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 3
    HOUSTON 3 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M Loretta (.272, 3 HR, 28 RBI)

    Mets 3, Astros 3  Bot 8, 0 OutsAug 1 10:43 PM
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    Mets 3, Astros 7  Bot 8, 0 OutsAug 1 10:43 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 37 roots (Close Finish)

    Mets 3, Astros 3  Bot 8, 0 OutsAug 1 10:43 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND RULE DOUBLE BY LANCE BERKMAN SCORED MIGUEL TEJADA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, L BERKMAN ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 3
    HOUSTON 4 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C LEE (.301, 1-FOR-2, BB, HR, RBI)

    Mets 3, Astros 4  Bot 8, 0 OutsAug 1 10:39 PM
  • 61
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    RUWTbot Took away 37 roots (Close Finish)

    Mets 3, Astros 4  Bot 8, 0 OutsAug 1 10:39 PM
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    Mets 3, Astros 3  Top 8, 0 OutsAug 1 10:29 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 83 roots (Close Finish)

    Mets 3, Astros 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsAug 1 10:16 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CARLOS LEE (25) TO CENTER WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 4TH OFF PEDRO MARTINEZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 3, HOUSTON 3
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: H PENCE (.273, 0-FOR-1)

    Mets 3, Astros 3  Bot 4, 0 OutsAug 1 9:11 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DAMION EASLEY SCORED CARLOS BELTRAN.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, D EASLEY ON FIRST, F TATIS ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 3
    HOUSTON 2 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR NY METS: B SCHNEIDER (.248, 0-FOR-1)

    Mets 3, Astros 2  Top 4, 0 OutsAug 1 9:03 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY FERNANDO TATIS SCORED CARLOS DELGADO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, F TATIS ON FIRST, C BELTRAN ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 2
    HOUSTON 2 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR NY METS: D EASLEY (.277, 0-FOR-1)

    Mets 2, Astros 2  Top 4, 0 OutsAug 1 9:02 PM
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    McTool Added 5 roots

    Mets 1, Astros 2  Bot 3, 0 OutsAug 1 8:50 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY BRANDON BACKE (2) TO CENTER WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 3RD OFF PEDRO MARTINEZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 1, HOUSTON 2
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: K MATSUI (.284, 1-FOR-1, HR, RBI)

    Mets 1, Astros 2  Bot 3, 0 OutsAug 1 8:46 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY KAZ MATSUI (3) TO CENTER WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    1ST OFF PEDRO MARTINEZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 1, HOUSTON 1
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M TEJADA (.283, 11 HR, 50 RBI)

    Mets 1, Astros 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsAug 1 8:18 PM


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

    CURRENT PITCHERS: NYM - PEDRO MARTINEZ
    HOU - BRANDON BACKE

    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: K MATSUI (.282, 2 HR, 23 RBI)
    M TEJADA (.283, 11 HR, 50 RBI)
    L BERKMAN (.344, 22 HR, 76 RBI)

    Mets 1, Astros 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsAug 1 8:16 PM
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    Mets vs. AstrosApr 3 10:44 AM