Beltran homers, Takahashi earns save in place of K-Rod as Mets beat Astros 3-1

Carlos Beltran homered and the New York Mets took the lead in the ninth inning on a wild pitch by Houston closer Matt Lindstrom in a 3-1 win over the Astros on Monday night.

Hisanori Takahashi worked a perfect ninth for his first save, filling in as closer on the day the Mets learned Francisco Rodriguez will miss the rest of the year. The four-time All-Star needs season-ending surgery on a torn thumb ligament in his pitching hand sustained during a fight with his girlfriend's father at Citi Field last week.

Pitching for the first time since Tuesday because of a sore back, Lindstrom (2-4) allowed a single to David Wright with one out in the ninth before a single by Beltran put runners at the corners. With Jeff Francoeur batting, Lindstrom's pitch in the dirt got away from rookie catcher Jason Castro, allowing Wright to score and give the Mets a 2-1 lead.

Francoeur added an insurance run with an RBI triple off the left-center fence.

Beltran was booed before and after his first-pitch solo homer to the Crawford Boxes in left field that made it 1-0 in the fourth inning. That wasn't the only time he was booed, with the hometown fans voicing their displeasure with him each time he came to bat, six years after he left the Astros to join the Mets.

It was Beltran's second homer since returning to the lineup July 15 after missing the first half of the season following knee surgery.

Chris Johnson tied it at 1 in the sixth with his two-out, run-scoring double to right-center. Jason Michaels was on base following a single.

Carlos Lee doubled with one out in the eighth. The Mets intentionally walked Johnson, the hot-hitting rookie, with two outs before Elmer Dessens was replaced by Pedro Feliciano (3-6).

Feliciano fielded by a grounder hit by Brett Wallace, but got an error when he dropped it, allowing Wallace to reach first. The Mets escaped that jam when Castro flied out.

Wright singled before Beltran walked with no outs in the seventh, but Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez retired the next three Mets to get out of the inning.

Rodriguez yielded four hits and one run with six strikeouts in seven innings.

Mets starter Jonathon Niese didn't factor into the decision for his third straight start despite allowing one run in seven innings. He also allowed just one run in seven innings in each of his last two starts.

Niese yielded seven hits and struck out five.

Johnson singled with one out in the second before reaching third on a single down the left-field line by Wallace. Niese retired the next two batters to get out of the inning.

NOTES: Houston 2B Jeff Keppinger left with a sprained left big toe. ... The Astros announced that former pitcher Shawn Chacon's grievance against the team has been denied. The players' association filed the grievance after his contract was terminated two years ago, saying the decision was without just cause. Arbitrator Shyam Das found that the Astros were within their rights to terminate Chacon's contract without further compensation after he assaulted general manager Ed Wade on June 25, 2008. ... Astros SS Tommy Manzella, on the disabled list since June 24 with a broken left index finger, is hitting .364 in nine games in his rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Round Rock.