New York at Houston

N.Y. Mets
W: A. Heilman (4-3) L: D. Wheeler (1-3)
HR: NYM - C. Floyd (24)   HOU - E. Bruntlett (3)

Castro, Mets cool off NL wild-card leading Astros

CBS wire reports

HOUSTON -- When Mike Cameron noticed that the New York Mets' lineup card was posted Sunday morning, he took a quick glance, then did a double take.

Making sure that really was his name in the sixth spot, he said, "OK," smiled and stretched his arms.

So maybe it wasn't just a coincidence that a few hours later, shortly after the trade deadline passed, he led off the eighth inning with a double off the wall and turned it into the pivotal go-ahead run in a 9-4 victory that ended the Houston Astros' seven-game winning streak.

Cameron, the Mets' most prominent player mentioned in trade talks, insisted afterward that his focus was strictly on baseball, but New York sure played like a relaxed team -- not one going into the finale of a seven-game road trip having won just once, plus facing the looming threat of a roster shake-up to add Manny Ramirez or Dannys Baez.

The Mets gave Astros starter Roy Oswalt his worst pounding at home since opening day, then still had to get a bloop single from seldom starter Ramon Castro to take their first lead since the early innings Thursday night. Once ahead, they added four more runs in the ninth, the same amount they'd scored, total, over the previous three games. New York finished with a season-high 17 hits.

"I think it's all coincidental," manager Willie Randolph said. "That's just the way it falls sometimes."

Houston lost for only the second time in 15 games. Still, the Astros went 22-7 in July for their most wins and highest winning percentage ever in the month. More importantly, they go into August leading in the wild-card race.

Oswalt struggled over six innings, later blaming a dead arm, but left with a 4-3 lead thanks to a career-best three hits and three RBI from Eric Bruntlett. The bullpen blew it, giving up six runs over the last three innings. Dan Wheeler (1-3) allowed the deciding run, then Russ Springer gave up four more in the ninth on three hits and a walk without retiring a batter.

"They've been stingy and they'll do it again," Astros manager Phil Garner said of a relief corps that had given up only four runs in its previous 29 innings.

Cameron said before Saturday's game that he hadn't slept because he was getting so many calls as word spread that he might be headed to Boston for Ramirez. He said he thought he could handle it, but couldn't. He then went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

On Sunday, he was 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Two of his hits came after the deadline passed.

"We just decided that we were going to have to go out there and take it," Cameron said. "We faced a tough pitcher and we fought it out and came back and figured out how to win it. ... We got good hits from everyone and we just stood our ground."

The game was therapeutic for several other Mets, too.

Carlos Beltran, booed all four games by an Astros series-record crowd of 172,835, was 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a stolen base.

"He just needed a good game to get going - not just against the Astros, against anybody," Randolph said.

Doug Mientkiewicz, making his first start since being ejected Wednesday night, also went 3-for-5.

Cliff Floyd had two hits, including an RBI single in the seventh that tied it at 4.

There were no sparks in the first meeting between Oswalt and Floyd since a June beaning that emptied both benches and bullpens. But it was a good pitcher-hitter battle.

Floyd missed a three-run homer by inches on the first pitch he saw from Oswalt, then ended up lining into an inning-ending double play. Leading off the fourth, he hit his 24th homer for New York's first run.

Aaron Heilman (4-3) pitched one scoreless inning for the victory. Roberto Hernandez protected it in the eighth and closer Braden Looper pitched the ninth, even though the big rally in the top of the inning prevented it from being a save situation. Houston loaded the bases with two out on a hit batter, an infield single and a walk, but Adam Everett fouled out to end it.

Oswalt allowed three runs on nine hits, striking out three and walking one. This was the first time in his 23 starts that he didn't get a decision.

"My arm's dead, my legs are dead - I'm just grinding," Oswalt said. "I think it's just the innings piling up on me. Usually you have a dead arm around 100 innings. Maybe for me it's around 170."

New York starter Kaz Ishii allowed three runs on five hits over four innings. He walked three and two of them scored.

Mets bench coach Sandy Alomar was ejected from the dugout in the first inning following a strange sequence that began with Houston's Morgan Ensberg thinking he'd walked, but it was only ball three. Time was called for him to go back to the batter's box, but Lance Berkman was trotting from first to second. New York tagged him in a rundown, but he was allowed to stay at first.

Randolph complained for several minutes. Seconds after he returned to the bench, third-base umpire Rob Drake tossed Alomar.


Had Houston won, it would've had 23 wins in July, a franchise-best for any month. ... Sunday was Family Day for the Astros, with players' wives and children on the field before the game. It was awkward timing considering the happy scene was only hours before the trade deadline.

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.
Players of the Game

E. Bruntlett
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 1
New York

C. Floyd
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1

Related Video

New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS5110003 .278
Miguel Cairo, 2B4010002 .269
    Aaron Heilman, P0000000 .000
   a- Chris Woodward, PH1000012 .285
    Roberto Hernandez, P0000000 .000
    Braden Looper, P0000000 .000
Carlos Beltran, CF4131100 .267
Cliff Floyd, LF4222103 .278
David Wright, 3B5221012 .296
Mike Cameron, RF5231020 .267
Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B5030012 .233
Ramon Castro, C4022101 .266
Kazuhisa Ishii, P1000002 .208
   b- Jose Offerman, PH1000000 .231
    Juan Padilla, P0000000 .000
   c- Marlon Anderson, PH-2B1101101 .290
a-struck out for Heilman in the 8th
b-flied out for Ishii in the 5th
c-walked for Padilla in the 7th
2B - Jose Reyes (18, Oswalt), Miguel Cairo (12, Oswalt), Carlos Beltran (24, Springer), David Wright (28, Oswalt), Mike Cameron (23, Wheeler)
HR - Cliff Floyd (24, Oswalt)
SF - Marlon Anderson (2)
SH - Jose Reyes (4)
RBI - Carlos Beltran (55), Cliff Floyd 2 (64), David Wright (56), Mike Cameron (33), Ramon Castro 2 (21), Marlon Anderson (11)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Beltran (14), Cliff Floyd (30)
SB - Carlos Beltran (7, 3rd base off Springer/Ausmus), David Wright (10, 3rd base off Harville/Ausmus), Marlon Anderson 2 (4, 3rd base off Gallo/Ausmus, 2nd base off Wheeler/Ausmus)
Team LOB - 10
DP - Cairo-Reyes-Mientkiewicz, Heilman-Reyes-Mientkiewicz
New York Mets
Kazuhisa Ishii 4533321 5.04
Juan Padilla 2311000 0.96
Aaron Heilman (W,4-3) 1100010 4.34
Roberto Hernandez (H,14) 1000000 1.76
Braden Looper 1100110 3.12
HBP - Biggio (by Kazuhisa Ishii), Berkman (by Braden Looper)
Pitches-Strikes - Kazuhisa Ishii 68-37, Juan Padilla 35-27, Aaron Heilman 12-8, Roberto Hernandez 9-6, Braden Looper 29-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kazuhisa Ishii 2-8, Juan Padilla 2-4, Aaron Heilman 1-0, Roberto Hernandez 1-2
Batters Faced - Kazuhisa Ishii 21, Juan Padilla 9, Aaron Heilman 3, Roberto Hernandez 3, Braden Looper 6
Houston Astros
Craig Biggio, 2B3210120 .276
Eric Bruntlett, CF5133000 .206
Lance Berkman, 1B4010005 .308
Morgan Ensberg, 3B5021011 .286
Jason Lane, RF4020112 .254
Adam Everett, SS5010005 .247
Chris Burke, LF3100102 .239
Brad Ausmus, C4000002 .241
Roy Oswalt, P1000101 .130
   a- Mike Lamb, PH1000000 .216
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
    Mike Gallo, P0000000 .000
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
   b- Orlando Palmeiro, PH1000000 .326
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
    Chad Harville, P0000000 .000
a-flied out for Oswalt in the 6th
b-popped out for Wheeler in the 8th
2B - Craig Biggio (29, Padilla), Morgan Ensberg (23, Ishii), Adam Everett (21, Ishii)
HR - Eric Bruntlett (3, Ishii)
RBI - Eric Bruntlett 3 (11), Morgan Ensberg (78)
2-OUT RBI - Eric Bruntlett 2 (6), Morgan Ensberg (34)
SB - Lance Berkman (2, 2nd base off Ishii/Castro)
Team LOB - 11
DP - Biggio-Berkman, Biggio-Everett-Berkman
Houston Astros
Roy Oswalt 6933131 2.40
Chad Qualls (H,13) 0.2011200 3.75
Mike Gallo (BS,1)0100000 2.35
Dan Wheeler (L,1-3) 1.1311010 1.69
Russ Springer0344100 6.08
Chad Harville 1100010 5.46
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Oswalt 107-75, Chad Qualls 13-5, Mike Gallo 5-3, Dan Wheeler 26-16, Russ Springer 19-10, Chad Harville 15-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Oswalt 6-7, Chad Qualls 2-0, Dan Wheeler 3-0, Chad Harville 1-1
Batters Faced - Roy Oswalt 26, Chad Qualls 4, Mike Gallo 1, Dan Wheeler 7, Russ Springer 4, Chad Harville 4
Game Information
Attendance - 43028
Game Time - 3:29
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Bob Davidson, First Base - Paul Schrieber, Second Base - Andy Fletcher, Third Base - Rob Drake