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New York at Houston

Final 10th
N.Y. Mets
W: J. Valverde (5-3) L: A. Heilman (1-6)
HR: NYM - D. Easley (5)   HOU - K. Matsui (4)

Astros tie game with rare play in ninth, win in 10th

CBSSports.com wire reports

HOUSTON -- Mark Loretta threw the block, Hunter Pence found the hole and the Houston Astros rallied to beat the New York Mets.

Lance Berkman raced home when Darin Erstad lined out to left in the 10th inning and the Astros beat the Mets 5-4 Saturday night after Loretta and Pence scored on a memorable play in the ninth inning.

New York was leading 4-2 when Houston loaded the bases with one out against Billy Wagner, who had converted 13 of his previous 14 save chances. Pinch-hitter Geoff Blum then lined a single to left and Pence raced around third, right on Loretta's heels.

In an image reminiscent of a scene in the baseball movie Major League, both players slid in safely in a three-player collision with catcher Ramon Castro.

Loretta crashed into Castro first and the force of the blow jarred the ball loose.

"I felt like a fullback going in there," Loretta said. "It was like a car wreck."

Like a tailback sneaking across the goal line, Pence scored an instant later.

"He just opened up a little spot for me to touch the plate," Pence said.

A dazed Castro, meanwhile, sprained his right ankle and left the game.

"I didn't see it. I got hit," Castro said. "I went back and then the ball came out. I saw the first guy and then I was on the ground."

Wagner grabbed the loose ball and tagged Loretta, but umpire Tim Welke ruled both runners had touched the plate. Wagner wasn't so sure, but didn't argue.

"I didn't think Pence had," Wagner said. "But Pence had already taken off. He was pretty much in the dugout and there's no way for the umpire to see. He was blocked the whole time."

Aaron Heilman (1-6), who gave up Loretta's tiebreaking grand slam in Friday's 7-3 Astros win, gave up a walk to Berkman and a single to Carlos Lee to start the 10th.

Pedro Feliciano relieved and struck out Michael Bourn. He issued an intentional walk to Pence before Erstad sliced a 3-2 pitch toward Fernando Tatis in left field. Tatis fell down as he caught it and Berkman scored the winning run.

"That was a fun game to be involved in," Houston manager Cecil Cooper said. "That was an exciting one."

It was a costly loss for New York, which has dropped five of six to fall into third in the NL East. The Mets are two games back of Philadelphia and trail Florida by a half-game.

Jose Valverde (5-3) pitched a scoreless 10th to pick up the victory and Kaz Matsui hit a solo homer in the eighth for the Astros, who have won five of six.

Wagner's blown save against his former team ruined a strong start from Johan Santana, who threw 6 1/3 solid innings and has been repeatedly let down by his bullpen this season.

"Those are things I can't control," Santana said. "Unfortunately, this game, they judge you for that, they criticize winning or losing a game. That's the way it goes. It happened in the past and there's nothing I can really do."

Damion Easley hit two-run homer in the second, and Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado each drove in a run in the third to help the Mets built a 4-0 lead against ace Roy Oswalt.

Santana didn't allow a baserunner for three innings. Matsui led off the Houston fourth with a triple to left-center and Santana hit Berkman with a pitch with one out.

Lee singled to score Matsui, prompting a mound visit from pitching coach Dan Warthen. Santana walked Loretta to load the bases, but struck out Pence and retired Erstad on a popup to get out of the inning.

"He's a great pitcher, very tough," said Berkman, who went 0-for-3. "He's got two very good pitches and we kind of hung in there. That's why it's so important, even when the team gets up three or four runs, you have to stop the bleeding."

Oswalt reached 100 pitches in the sixth, his highest total since June 25, the start before he strained his left hip. He sat out two weeks, then allowed four runs in his return start on Monday, a 5-4 victory over Cincinnati.

Tim Byrdak and LaTroy Hawkins, acquired in a trade with the New York Yankees on Wednesday, combined to retire the Mets in the seventh, with Hawkins striking out two of the three batters he faced in his Houston debut.

Santana walked Pence leading off the Houston seventh, then plunked Erstad with his 99th pitch. After Brad Ausmus flew out, Mets manager Jerry Manuel brought in Duaner Sanchez.

"I was battling, doing my job and trying to give the team a chance to win," Santana said. "We took the lead and I was just protecting the lead, hoping everything winds up the way everybody wants. Unfortunately, that didn't happen."

Pinch-hitter Ty Wigginton hit a drive to the left-field wall, but Daniel Murphy made a leaping catch. Pence was already halfway to third and Murphy made a perfect throw to second, where Easley tagged him to complete the double play.

Murphy also scored a run in his major league debut. He was called up from Triple-A New Orleans before the game, taking the spot vacated when Marlon Anderson was put on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring.


  • The Astros have hit 14 home runs in their last seven games.
  • Beltran batted in the No. 2 spot for the first time this season. Manuel said he was trying to kick-start Beltran, who came into the game with seven hits in his last 35 at-bats.
  • The Mets have gone 11 straight games without an error.
  • Castro said he was OK after the game, and Manuel said the catcher was day to day.
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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Mark Loretta and Hunter Pence come barreling toward the plate to tie the game in the ninth.  (AP)
Mark Loretta and Hunter Pence come barreling toward the plate to tie the game in the ninth. (AP)

Players of the Game

K. Matsui
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 1
New York

D. Easley
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1

Related Video

New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS5120012 .306
Carlos Beltran, CF4111101 .265
David Wright, 3B5000012 .287
Carlos Delgado, 1B3011121 .263
Fernando Tatis, RF-LF5010023 .314
Daniel Murphy, LF4110010 .250
    Scott Schoeneweis, P0000000 .000
    Joe Smith, P0000000 .000
    Billy Wagner, P0000000 .000
   a- Argenis Reyes, PH1000011 .295
    Aaron Heilman, P0000000 .000
    Pedro Feliciano, P0000000 .000
Damion Easley, 2B3122100 .283
Ramon Castro, C4000012 .272
    Brian Schneider, C0000000 .250
Johan Santana, P2000121 .170
    Duaner Sanchez, P0000000 .000
    Endy Chavez, RF1000000 .266
a-struck out for Wagner in the 10th
2B - Carlos Beltran (25, Oswalt), Carlos Delgado (23, Oswalt)
HR - Damion Easley (5, Oswalt)
SF - Carlos Delgado (6)
RBI - Carlos Beltran (73), Carlos Delgado (70), Damion Easley 2 (32)
SB - Jose Reyes (36, 3rd base off Hawkins/Ausmus)
Team LOB - 8
Outfield Assists - Daniel Murphy 1
DP - Murphy-Easley
New York Mets
Johan Santana 6.1311230 2.86
Duaner Sanchez (H,16) 0.2000000 3.83
Scott Schoeneweis (H,12) 0.2111001 3.19
Joe Smith (H,9) 0.1000000 3.83
Billy Wagner (BS,7) 1322120 2.30
Aaron Heilman (L,1-6)0111100 5.25
Pedro Feliciano 0.2000110 3.89
IBB - Pence by Pedro Feliciano
HBP - Berkman (by Johan Santana), Erstad (by Johan Santana)
Pitches-Strikes - Johan Santana 103-68, Scott Schoeneweis 13-11, Joe Smith 1-1, Billy Wagner 23-13, Aaron Heilman 9-4, Pedro Feliciano 15-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johan Santana 6-10, Scott Schoeneweis 2-0, Joe Smith 1-0
Batters Faced - Johan Santana 26, Duaner Sanchez 1, Scott Schoeneweis 3, Joe Smith 1, Billy Wagner 7, Aaron Heilman 2, Pedro Feliciano 3
Houston Astros
Kazuo Matsui, 2B5221012 .284
Miguel Tejada, SS5010003 .282
Lance Berkman, 1B3100111 .340
Carlos Lee, LF5021001 .303
Mark Loretta, 3B3110101 .277
    Jose Valverde, P0000000 .000
   a- Michael Bourn, PH1000012 .233
Hunter Pence, RF3110213 .274
Darin Erstad, CF3001015 .267
Brad Ausmus, C3000102 .239
    David Newhan, PR0000000 .226
    Humberto Quintero, C0000000 .200
Roy Oswalt, P2000010 .200
    Tim Byrdak, P0000000 .200
    LaTroy Hawkins, P0000000 .000
   b- Ty Wigginton, PH1000002 .263
    Geoff Geary, P0000000 .000
   c- Geoff Blum, PH-3B1012000 .225
a-struck out for Valverde in the 10th
b-flied out for Hawkins in the 7th
c-singled for Geary in the 9th
2B - Mark Loretta (12, Wagner)
3B - Kazuo Matsui (2, Santana)
HR - Kazuo Matsui (4, Schoeneweis)
SF - Darin Erstad (1)
RBI - Kazuo Matsui (25), Carlos Lee (89), Darin Erstad (17), Geoff Blum 2 (30)
Team LOB - 9
E - Brad Ausmus (3, Throwing), Mark Loretta (4, Throwing)
Houston Astros
Roy Oswalt 6644371 4.74
Tim Byrdak 0.1100000 2.72
LaTroy Hawkins 0.2000120 5.62
Geoff Geary 2000000 2.55
Jose Valverde (W,5-3) 1100020 4.47
IBB - Delgado by LaTroy Hawkins
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Oswalt 100-70, Tim Byrdak 11-9, LaTroy Hawkins 11-8, Geoff Geary 19-13, Jose Valverde 15-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Oswalt 7-4, Geoff Geary 5-1
Batters Faced - Roy Oswalt 27, Tim Byrdak 2, LaTroy Hawkins 3, Geoff Geary 6, Jose Valverde 4
Game Information
Attendance - 39152
Game Time - 3:26
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Tim Welke, First Base - Chuck Meriwether, Second Base - Bill Welke, Third Base - Chris Guccione