NEW YORK – David Wright ended his career-worst hitless drought with a homer and a two-run double and the New York Mets welcomed Jason Bay back to their lineup with a 9-1 romp over the Houston Astros on Thursday night to end a seven-game home winless skid.
Bay hit a ground-rule double and later raced around the bases on a rare four-base error in the eighth inning to give the Mets a lift in a sobering season thus far. Bay was out with a strained rib cage since late March and hadn't played since July 25,when he went out with a concussion.
Mike Nickeas connected for his first major league home run, Ike Davis hit a monster shot over the apple in center field and Chris Capuano (2-1) pitched seven sharp innings
Hoping to shake a slide in which they had lost 12 of 14, the Mets wore black hats, socks and undershirts with their white uniforms — the color combination of choice during spring training games in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Manager Terry Collins felt the team played solid fundamental baseball in the preseason and chose to try the look in a regular-season game. Anything goes after dropping eight of nine games at Citi Field this year.
Collins then tried to inspire the team further with a quick ejection — his first since 1999, when he was manager of the Anaheim Angels.
After Michael Bourn grounded out to start the game, Collins thought Nickeas caught Angels Sanchez's foul tip for strike three. Home plate umpire Doug Eddings allowed Collins plenty of time to state his case before tossing him for his 22nd career ejection.
The Mets had their starting outfield together for the first time since Bay's last game for all of five innings. Center fielder Angel Pagan left after the fifth inning with a pulled muscle in his left side.
Rookie second baseman Justin Turner ran into Pagan's left arm, knocking off his glove, in the fourth inning while running into shallow center to make a catch on a popup by Hunter Pence.
Pagan batted twice before Willie Harris took over in the field in the sixth.
Harris misplayed his first chance, in the seventh. He took his first step in on Brett Wallace's drive to straightaway center and he could never recover to make the catch. Wallace ended up on second with a double, the first leadoff batter for Houston to reach base.
To that point Capuano worked an easy six innings. He gave up an RBI single to Matt Downs in the seventh for the Astros lone run. Capuano gave up six hits in seven innings, his longest outing of the season.
Nickeas homered with one out in the third off J.A. Happ (1-3) for the Mets first hit.
Wright struck out in the first to extend his hitless streak to 20 at-bats with 10 Ks. He ended it emphatically with a liner into the left-center field seats in the fourth inning.
Beltran followed with a single and Bay hit a shallow fly down the right-field line that bounced into the stands for a double. Beltran scored on a wild pitch and Davis hit a sacrifice fly to left to put New York 4-0.
Wright doubled to left-center in the fifth, scoring Capuano and Jose Reyes, who walked.
Happ gave up six runs and six hits in 4 2-3 innings. He walked one and struck out five.
Bay hit another shallow fly to right in the eighth but this time Hunter Pence got to the ball. It hit off the right fielder's glove and rolled down the line as Bay sped around the bases for a run. Wright, who walked scored ahead of him.
NOTES: Houston SS Clint Barmes (broken left hand) has been cleared by Dr. Tom Mehlhoff for all baseball activities. Out since March 25, Barmes will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday. He is scheduled to get three at-bats on Sunday, four on Monday and four-plus on Tuesday. ... Astros 2B Bill Hall (sprained right ankle) was feeling much better a day after spraining his ankle running into the wall behind first base to catch a foul pop, manager Brad Mills said. Mills still didn't know how many days Hall would need until he returned. ... Mets C Ronny Paulino (anemia) played both games of a doubleheader for Triple-A Buffalo. He went 0 for 4 and made two throwing errors in the opener and 0 for 2 in the nightcap as the designated hitter.