These two teams are used to playing close games when they go head-to-head; that’s just what they do. Houston’s 4-3 victory Monday night marked the 24th team the Mets and Astros played in a game decided by two or fewer runs. R.A. Dickey and his knuckle ball were in mid-season form last night, no-hitting Houston through six innings, but there was one pitch he wishes he could have back, one that changed the outcome of the game.
Neither team could put a rally together until the Astros did so in the bottom of the sixth. Jordan Schafer led off the inning with a single, then Jed Lowrie singled behind a sacrifcie bunt. After a run scored on a force out, Matt Downs took a Dickey offering and homered to left field, giving Houston a 3-0 lead. The Mets answered immediately in the top of the seventh; Andres Torres drove in a run with an infield single and Kirk Nieuwenhuis singled to right to tie the score at three by driving home two runs. Manny Acosta relieved Dickey in the seventh inning, and during his second frame of work, gave up the evenutal winning run off a Jed Lowrie single, scoring Schafer in the bottom of the eighth.
The loss snaps New York’s two game winning streak, and their record worsens to 13-10. The Nationals were off last night, so they only lost a half game in the NL East race, trailing Washington by 1.5 games for the division lead.
Dickey was brilliant last night, with that one pitch he threw to Matt Downs being the only mistake he made, but it proved to be a costly one for him. He ended up pitching six innings, giving up three hits, three runs, two walks, and six strikeouts. The bullpen came in for two innings between Acosta, Tim Byrdak, and Bobby Parnell, yielding one run, which made the difference in the game.
Andres Torres returned to the Mets lineup for the first time since Opening Day, but he wasn’t batting lead off. Terry Collins put him seventh in the order, keeping Nieuwenhuis at the top, which proved to be a good decision; Captain Kirk gathered two more hits and two RBI to raise his batting average to a healthy .325. New York could only muster eight hits last night after their offensive outburst at Coors Field, but Ike Davis continued his comeback with two more hits and a run scored, raising his batting average to .185. It took a lot longer than anyone ever imagined, but it looks lIke Davis is finally getting back to normal.
Dickey only threw 77 pitching in his six innings of work in a game that lasted about two hours and 53 minutes. With the win in this close game, Houston improves to 5-9 in contests decided by two or fewer runs, and the Mets fall to 9-2 in such contests.
Probable Pitchers today:
As the calendar flips to May, the Mets will turn to their most consistent starter throughout the first month to get them back on track. Young left-hander Jonathon Niese will take the hill against JA Happ. First pitch is scheduled at Minute Maid Park at 8:05pm.