NEW YORK – Wandy Rodriguez found his form against the punchless New York Mets, pitching seven sharp innings to lead the Houston Astros to a 6-1 victory Tuesday night.
Michael Bourn and Carlos Lee sparked the offense as Houston won for the fifth time in nine games following a 1-7 start. The Astros have alternated wins and losses over those nine games.
Carlos Beltran homered for the Mets, who have dropped 11 of 13. They snapped a seven-game skid Sunday in Atlanta but followed it up with a sluggish effort in all facets of the game.
Jonathon Niese (0-3) walked five and threw 113 pitches in six innings as New York fell to 1-7 at Citi Field, losing its past six at home.
The frustration showed on a rainy night, too. David Wright fired his helmet toward the dugout after a first-inning flyout that would have been a home run in nearly every other ballpark. Mets manager Terry Collins argued a late call at second base.
Featuring a deceptive curveball, Rodriguez (1-2) allowed only three hits and three walks, striking out seven. The left-hander, who signed a $34 million, three-year contract in January, entered with a 7.31 ERA after allowing 26 hits over 16 innings in his first three starts.
Fernando Abad and Jeff Fulchino finished the four-hitter.
Bourn opened the game with a single and moved to second on Angel Sanchez's sacrifice. Bourn then stole third and scored on Lee's single.
Lee also singled in the third and was shaken up on the bases.
Chris Johnson hit a grounder toward the hole and new Mets second baseman Justin Turner tried for a force play. His wild, off-balance throw went past second, so Lee took off for third. But Wright scooped up the ball and beat Lee in a race to third, diving to tag the slugger on a bang-bang play at the bag.
Lee was called out and stayed down for a moment. It appeared he hyperextended his elbow on the slide as he collided with Wright, but Lee walked back to the dugout holding his arm and remained in the game until he was replaced in left field by Jason Bourgeois with a 6-1 lead in the eighth.
Brett Wallace singled to start the fourth and scored on a double to left-center by No. 8 batter J.R. Towles, who finished 2 for 2 with a pair of walks to lift his average to .429.
Sanchez drew a walk from Pedro Beato in the seventh and scored when left fielder Scott Hairston couldn't catch Lee's deep drive with two outs. The ball glanced off Hairston's glove just before his back slammed into the high fence and he was charged with an error.
Beltran connected leading off the seventh to cut it to 3-1. All three of his homers this season have been hit right-handed at home. He has three homers among his seven career hits against Rodriguez.
The Mets put two on with two outs but Rodriguez struck out pinch-hitter Chin-lung Hu with his 118th and final pitch.
Houston tacked on three runs against New York's struggling bullpen in the eighth. Bobby Parnell was booed off the mound after balking in a run and allowing a two-run single to Sanchez.
NOTES: Mets LF Jason Bay (strained left rib cage) went 4 for 4 with two homers, four RBIs and three runs scored in a rehab game with Class-A St. Lucie against Fort Myers. He is expected to come off the disabled list Thursday. ... New York C Ronny Paulino (anemia) had two hits in that game for St. Lucie. ... Bourn is 8 for 8 on stolen base attempts this year and has swiped 16 straight dating to last season. ... Astros SS Clint Barmes (broken left hand) said he felt no pain while taking soft-toss swings. He will be evaluated Friday and could then begin a minor league rehab assignment. The team wants him to have at least 10-12 at-bats in the minors before activating him from the disabled list. ... Astros INF Jeff Keppinger, on the DL following left foot surgery, will be the DH in an extended spring training game Friday. ... Astros RHP Alberto Arias (shoulder surgery) felt soreness at extended spring training in Florida and will travel to Houston to be examined by a doctor Thursday. ... Because of the inclement weather, the Mets offered fans with a ticket Tuesday night to free admission for a game against Pittsburgh from May 30 to June 2.