Houston at New York

N.Y. Mets
W: B. Backe (6-3) L: V. Zambrano (3-6)
S: B. Lidge (14)
HR: HOU - O. Palmeiro (1)   NYM - None

Astros 4, Mets 1

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

NEW YORK -- Brandon Backe was at his best with runners on base. Good thing, too, because he put them there.

Backe worked around a career-high six walks, and pinch-hitter Orlando Palmeiro homered to lead the Houston Astros past the New York Mets 4-1 Wednesday night.

"The amount of changeups that worked for me tonight really helped me out," Backe said. "I just stayed away from the big inning. If I did walk a guy, I somehow got a strikeout or a groundball. I refocused and went after the next hitter."

Craig Biggio and Jason Lane each had an RBI double for the Astros, who improved to 6-23 on the road and handed the Mets only their fourth defeat in 12 games.

New York lost star catcher Mike Piazza to a bruised left wrist in the first inning after he was hit by a foul ball. X-rays were negative and he is day-to-day.

"It's swollen, but we'll just go and see how it is tomorrow," Piazza said. "On the base of the wrist, the left wrist, pretty flush, pretty square. I've had it on ice two or three times. Right away, it was bugging me and I just tried to get through the inning."

Piazza's replacement, Ramon Castro, came through with an RBI double in his first at-bat, but Backe (6-3) limited the damage.

Starting on three days' rest after making his first relief appearance of the season Saturday against St. Louis, the right-hander gave up four hits in six innings. He struck out seven, helping him overcome a wild outing.

"He's been such an unusual study so far. He's pitched so well at home and he hasn't pitched as well on the road. But you've got to hand it to him today. He made the pitches when he needed to," Houston manager Phil Garner said. "It doesn't matter how you do it, pretty or ugly, just get it done."

Chad Qualls and Dan Wheeler each threw a scoreless inning before Brad Lidge got three outs for his 14th save in 16 chances.

One night after Pedro Martinez pitched a gem against one of baseball's worst offenses, Mets starter Victor Zambrano (3-6) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings.

New York took the lead in the first when Mike Cameron walked and scored on pinch-hitter Castro's two-out double. Marlon Anderson followed with a looper to center, but Lane made a diving catch to save two runs.

"When it came off the bat, I thought it was going to drop in there. It hung up there a little bit longer than I thought, and he made a great play. What can you do?" Anderson said.

The Mets stranded 11. They loaded the bases in the second, but Carlos Beltran grounded out.

"We had a couple of chances in the early innings but couldn't get the big hit," Anderson said.

Todd Self singled in the fourth and scored on Biggio's double to left, tying it at 1.

Zambrano walked Self leading off the sixth, and Biggio followed with a single. After a double play, Zambrano had a chance to escape unscathed, but Morgan Ensberg drove in the go-ahead run with an infield single down the third-base line.

"We got a lot of contributions from a lot of people," Biggio said. "We didn't get a ton of hits, but we got big hits."

Lane added an RBI double to make it 3-1, and Palmeiro connected in the seventh off Heath Bell for his third career pinch-hit homer.


  • It was Palmeiro's first homer of the year and Houston's second pinch-hit homer this season. Self hit the other one on May 18 against Arizona.
  • Backe pitched two scoreless innings in relief Saturday against the Cardinals despite four walks.
  • Lane started in center for Willy Taveras, who missed his second consecutive game with a strained left hamstring. He is day to day.
  • Anderson started at 1B for Doug Mientkiewicz (strained chest muscle, bruised ribs) for the second consecutive night.
  • Fans in the bleachers began a roll call in the first inning, chanting each starter's name just as Yankees fans do in the Bronx. Mets players appeared unsure what to do, each hesitating before waving their gloves in acknowledgment. That went on until the fans got to shortstop Jose Reyes -- he never turned around.
  • Cameron walked in his first three plate appearances.
  • The Mets signed INF Jose Offerman to a minor league contract. He will report to New York's extended spring training program in Florida, then join Triple-A Norfolk soon.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game

O. Palmeiro
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 1

B. Backe
IP 6.0
H 4
ER 1
BB 6
K 7

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Houston Astros
Chris Burke, LF4000021 .206
Todd Self, RF3210110 .200
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
    Brad Ausmus, C0000000 .229
Craig Biggio, 2B4021000 .273
Lance Berkman, 1B4000002 .235
Morgan Ensberg, 3B3111100 .288
Jason Lane, CF4011012 .232
Adam Everett, SS4020001 .243
Humberto Quintero, C4000012 .125
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
Brandon Backe, P2000001 .240
   a- Orlando Palmeiro, PH-RF2111001 .292
a-homered for Backe in the 7th
2B - Craig Biggio (17, Zambrano), Jason Lane (12, Zambrano), Adam Everett (15, Zambrano)
HR - Orlando Palmeiro (1, Bell)
RBI - Craig Biggio (25), Morgan Ensberg (31), Jason Lane (22), Orlando Palmeiro (7)
2-OUT RBI - Morgan Ensberg (14), Jason Lane (8)
SB - Adam Everett (3, 2nd base off Hernandez/Castro)
Team LOB - 5
Houston Astros
Brandon Backe (W,6-3) 6411670 4.31
Chad Qualls (H,5) 1100010 5.02
Dan Wheeler (H,7) 1100110 1.35
Brad Lidge (S,14) 1000010 2.77
WP - Brandon Backe 2 (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Backe 101-61, Chad Qualls 16-10, Dan Wheeler 22-15, Brad Lidge 13-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Backe 5-5, Chad Qualls 1-1, Dan Wheeler 1-1, Brad Lidge 1-1
Batters Faced - Brandon Backe 27, Chad Qualls 4, Dan Wheeler 5, Brad Lidge 3
New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS5010013 .275
Mike Cameron, RF2100320 .339
Carlos Beltran, CF5010015 .293
Cliff Floyd, LF4010024 .289
Mike Piazza, C0000000 .254
   a- Ramon Castro, PH-C4011012 .222
Marlon Anderson, 1B4000002 .328
David Wright, 3B2010200 .303
Kaz Matsui, 2B2010211 .246
Victor Zambrano, P1000012 .182
   b- Victor Diaz, PH1000001 .277
    Heath Bell, P0000000 .000
   c- Chris Woodward, PH1000012 .317
    Roberto Hernandez, P0000000 .000
a-doubled for Piazza in the 1st
b-grounded out for Zambrano in the 6th
c-struck out for Bell in the 8th
2B - Ramon Castro (1, Backe), David Wright (16, Wheeler)
SH - Victor Zambrano (3)
RBI - Ramon Castro (4)
2-OUT RBI - Ramon Castro (2)
SB - Jose Reyes (16, 2nd base off Qualls/Quintero)
PK - Ramon Castro (2, Backe)
Team LOB - 11
DP - Matsui-Reyes-Anderson
New York Mets
Victor Zambrano (L,3-6) 6633230 4.26
Heath Bell 2111011 3.55
Roberto Hernandez 1100010 2.52
WP - Roberto Hernandez (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Victor Zambrano 101-58, Heath Bell 29-18, Roberto Hernandez 25-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Victor Zambrano 9-5, Heath Bell 3-2
Batters Faced - Victor Zambrano 25, Heath Bell 7, Roberto Hernandez 4
Game Information
Attendance - 23635
Game Time - 3:06
Temperature - 85
Umpires - Home - Bill Hohn, First Base - Gerry Davis, Second Base - Doug Eddings, Third Base - Bruce Dreckman