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Houston at New York

Scoreboard
Houston (66-64) «0003001002680
N.Y. Mets (72-59)2010100000470

Ausmus, Erstad go deep in 10th as Astros burn Mets' bullpen

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- Pedro Feliciano was stunned to see two Houston Astros with a combined three homers this season take him deep in the 10th inning.

The way the year has gone for the Mets' bullpen, it shouldn't have been surprising at all.

Brad Ausmus led off the 10th with his second homer of the year, Darin Erstad connected for his third three batters later and Houston rallied against New York's unpredictable bullpen for a 6-4 win Sunday.

"I surprised myself because of giving up a slider for a home run," Feliciano said. "We got struggle time, we got outstanding time. Just one day, one game. Tomorrow we're going to come back and win."

While Aaron Heilman failed to hold a 4-3 lead in the seventh provided by Carlos Beltran's two home runs, and Feliciano (2-4), the Mets' sixth pitcher, gave up both home runs in the 10th, Houston's pen retired the 12 batters it faced to help the Astros improve to 3-3 on their seven-game road trip.

Chris Sampson pitched two innings in relief of Randy Wolf, LaTroy Hawkins (2-0) worked a 1-2-3 ninth and Jose Valverde was perfect in the 10th for his 33rd save in 39 tries.

Hawkins has not given up a run in 10 outings since Houston acquired him in a trade with the Yankees on July 30. He had a 5.71 ERA with New York.

"The bullpen has pitched awfully well. Now we can use Sampson along with Hawkins in the late innings," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "I can't say enough about them and the bench."

Hunter Pence hit a two-run shot, but much of this win could be attributed to the substitutes, who've been pushed into bigger roles with Carlos Lee and Kaz Matsui out with injuries and slugger Lance Berkman playing sore.

Second baseman Mark Loretta made an elastic catch to end an early bases-loaded threat and had a sacrifice fly. Pinch-hitter David Newhan drove in pinch-hitter Geoff Blum to tie it at 4 in the seventh. Ausmus entered as a defensive replacement and homered in his one at-bat.

And Erstad was playing first base because Berkman was given the day off after a night game to rest his sore left hamstring and a jammed thumb, although he batted in the 10th.

"Terrific win. Team effort. Everybody contributed. We played them all and they all contributed," Cooper said. "All our extra men played and lots of them helped out."

The NL East-leading Mets lost consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 10-11.

"We've played good baseball. We just haven't got the offense on track in the last couple of days. They've done a good job against us," manager Jerry Manuel said. "Their 'pen shut us down and we kind of gave it up in our 'pen."

Manuel turned to his relievers after Oliver Perez walked Pence with one out in the seventh, and the Mets' bullpen reverted to its struggling ways after showing signs of stabilizing during the first five games of a seven-game homestand.

Heilman gave up a double off the right-field wall to Blum on his first pitch. Newhan singled to right to drive in Pence, but Blum was nabbed trying to score. Fernando Tatis' throw to catcher Ramon Castro beat Blum by several feet to keep it tied at 4.

Heilman, who hadn't allowed a run in four outings, did not move from the stretch position while Manuel made the walk from the dugout to replace him with Scott Schoeneweis.

"It's a tough deal because you'd like to see him attack," Manuel said. "There's also a plan in place and he didn't execute."

Beltran gave New York a 4-3 lead with his second homer of the game, a drive off the screen attached to the left-field foul pole. Beltran, a switch-hitter, had hit just two of his 17 homers from the right side before connecting as a righty twice against Wolf.

It was Beltran's 24th career multihomer game and second this season.

Beltran's first homer came after David Wright walked in the first. Jose Reyes singled leading off but was thrown out at second trying to tag up on a fly to left-center.

Wolf got help from his defense in the third, too. After Tatis walked with the bases loaded to make it 3-0, second baseman Loretta made a diving catch of a flair hit by Damion Easley near the line in shallow right, sliding on his belly and holding his glove up, with plenty of ball showing, to end the threat.

Loretta then hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth, and Pence, who came in hitting .190 (15-for-79) in August and looked lost striking out in the second, hit his career-high 18th homer, a two-run shot that tied it 3-all.

Notes

  • The Mets fell to 1-5 against Houston this season.
  • Wolf came in 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA against New York this season. He gave up four runs in six innings.
  • Fighting a sore shoulder, Mets RHP John Maine will throw a side session in the next couple of days and is confident he'll make his scheduled start Friday at Florida.
 
Copyright 2014 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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Darin Erstad's third home run of the season gives the Astros an insurance run in the 10th.  (AP)
Darin Erstad's third home run of the season gives the Astros an insurance run in the 10th. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

C. Beltran
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 3
Houston

H. Pence
AB 3
R 2
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Houston Astros
Reggie Abercrombie, CF4000012 .207
    Chris Sampson, P0000000 .136
    LaTroy Hawkins, P0000000 .000
   a- Lance Berkman, PH1000000 .330
    Jose Valverde, P0000000 .000
Darin Erstad, 1B5221020 .300
Miguel Tejada, SS5110000 .287
Ty Wigginton, LF4010022 .299
Mark Loretta, 2B3001001 .268
Hunter Pence, RF3212111 .260
Jose Castillo, 3B2000001 .242
   b- Geoff Blum, PH-3B2010000 .237
Humberto Quintero, C2000000 .230
   c- David Newhan, PH1011000 .218
    Brad Ausmus, C1111000 .230
Randy Wolf, P2000020 .130
   d- Michael Bourn, PH-CF1000110 .225
Totals3668629  
a-flied out for Hawkins in the 10th
b-doubled for Castillo in the 7th
c-singled for Quintero in the 7th
d-walked for Wolf in the 7th
Batting
2B - Miguel Tejada (29, Perez), Ty Wigginton (21, Perez), Geoff Blum (8, Heilman)
HR - Darin Erstad (3, Feliciano), Hunter Pence (18, Perez), Brad Ausmus (2, Feliciano)
SF - Mark Loretta (4)
RBI - Darin Erstad (26), Mark Loretta (35), Hunter Pence 2 (63), David Newhan (4), Brad Ausmus (19)
2-OUT RBI - Darin Erstad (10), Hunter Pence 2 (21)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Reggie Abercrombie 1
DP - Abercrombie-Loretta
Houston Astros
Randy Wolf 6744342 4.86
Chris Sampson 2000000 4.27
LaTroy Hawkins (W,3-1) 1000000 4.88
Jose Valverde (S,33) 1000000 4.01
IBB - Beltran by Randy Wolf
WP - Randy Wolf (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Randy Wolf 101-61, Chris Sampson 18-10, LaTroy Hawkins 10-5, Jose Valverde 17-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Randy Wolf 2-11, Chris Sampson 4-2, LaTroy Hawkins 1-2, Jose Valverde 2-1
Batters Faced - Randy Wolf 27, Chris Sampson 6, LaTroy Hawkins 3, Jose Valverde 3
New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS5010000 .300
Nick Evans, LF5110000 .264
David Wright, 3B4110100 .293
Carlos Beltran, CF3223100 .270
Carlos Delgado, 1B4000003 .258
Fernando Tatis, RF3011100 .297
Damion Easley, 2B4010004 .261
Ramon Castro, C3000011 .248
   a- Daniel Murphy, PH1000000 .358
    Brian Schneider, C0000000 .257
Oliver Perez, P3000032 .114
    Aaron Heilman, P0000000 .000
    Scott Schoeneweis, P0000000 .000
    Joe Smith, P0000000 .000
    Luis Ayala, P0000000 .000
   b- Ryan Church, PH1000000 .310
    Pedro Feliciano, P0000000 .000
    Duaner Sanchez, P0000000 .000
Totals3647434  
a-flied out for Castro in the 9th
b-grounded out for Ayala in the 9th
Batting
2B - David Wright (37, Wolf)
HR - Carlos Beltran 2 (19, Wolf, Wolf)
RBI - Carlos Beltran 3 (86), Fernando Tatis (39)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Beltran 3 (28), Fernando Tatis (10)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Fernando Tatis 1
New York Mets
Oliver Perez 6.1444181 4.00
Aaron Heilman (BS,4) 0.1200000 5.37
Scott Schoeneweis 0.2000100 2.94
Joe Smith 0.2000000 4.06
Luis Ayala 1000000 5.40
Pedro Feliciano (L,2-4) 0.2222012 4.02
Duaner Sanchez 0.1000000 4.06
WP - Oliver Perez (8)
Pitches-Strikes - Oliver Perez 111-73, Aaron Heilman 4-3, Scott Schoeneweis 15-9, Joe Smith 11-7, Luis Ayala 16-9, Pedro Feliciano 11-9, Duaner Sanchez 2-1
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Oliver Perez 3-8, Scott Schoeneweis 2-0, Joe Smith 1-1, Luis Ayala 2-1, Duaner Sanchez 1-0
Batters Faced - Oliver Perez 24, Aaron Heilman 2, Scott Schoeneweis 3, Joe Smith 2, Luis Ayala 3, Pedro Feliciano 4, Duaner Sanchez 1
Game Information
Attendance - 49758
Game Time - 3:12
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Sam Holbrook, First Base - Chad Fairchild, Second Base - Mark Wegner, Third Base - Wally Bell