NEW YORK – Hunter Pence hit a blistering go-ahead home run in the eighth inning and the Houston Astros used two smart fielding plays late to beat New York 4-3 Thursday night, giving the Mets their worst home start ever.
The Mets fell to 1-8 at Citi Field. They began 1-7 at the Polo Grounds during their 1962 expansion season before winning their next home game.
The Mets' seventh straight home loss dropped them to 5-13 overall, their poorest start since going 3-15 in 1964, according to STATS LLC.
Astros reliever Jose Valdez made a sweeping tag at home to end the Mets' eighth-inning comeback. In the ninth, after Jose Reyes got his fourth hit, Josh Thole popped up a bunt and closer Brandon Lyon threw to first for the double play.
Daniel Murphy hit a tying, two-run homer in the sixth to spoil a fine outing by Houston starter Bud Norris.
Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey flustered the Astros after a three-run second inning. But Pence lined a tiebreaking shot deep into the first section beyond the left-field wall.
Norris was pitching with a 3-1 lead in the sixth. He gave up a one-out double to Willie Harris before Murphy hit a fly just inside the right-field pole for his first homer of the season and second of three hits on the night.
Murphy should see significantly more playing time at second base because the Mets cut December draft pick Brad Emaus on Monday. Learning a new position this season, Murphy turned two double plays to back Dickey (1-3).
Mark Melancon (2-1) walked the leadoff hitter in the seventh and Fernando Abad did the same in the eighth, walking Angel Pagan on a 10-pitch at-bat. Then after a strikeout, Murphy had a perfect hit-and-run single that sent Pagan to third.
Valdez relieved and struck out pinch-hitter Justin Turner with a pitch in the dirt. The ball got away from J.R. Towles and Pagan broke for home. Towles chased the ball up the first base line and tossed it to Valdez, who swept around to tag Pagan.
Lyon pitched the ninth for his fourth save.
Norris worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the first — the Mets were 4 for 17 with the bases loaded coming in. And to form, Ike Davis struck out and Pagan hit a long fly to right to end the threat.
Norris then drove in a run in the second with a single. A run had already scored on Dickey's wild pitch and Michael Bourn followed Norris with an RBI single to put Houston up 3-0.
But Dickey figured out how his knuckleball was reacting to Wednesday's light breeze and shut down the Astros, allowing only three hits from the third inning through the seventh. He was aided by three double plays.
Astros second baseman Bill Hall left in the fourth because of a sprained right ankle. He was injured when he slammed into the wall behind first base making a running catch of Harris' foul pop in the second inning. Matt Downs took over at second in the fourth.
NOTES: Mets reliever Bobby Parnell has a circulatory problem in the middle finger of his pitching hand and will have further tests to determine if a blood clot is causing the numbness. He will likely go on the 15-day DL when LF Jason Bay is activated. ... Astros manager Bud Mills said SS Clint Barmes (broken left hand) will probably have another X-ray Monday morning then the team will decide if he will take batting practice and when he will start a rehab assignment. ... Carlos Lee came in 7 for 14 against Dickey. He went 0 for 4. ... Mets star David Wright came in an 0-for-16 slide and went 0 for 3.