Updated: 8/20/10 7:10 a.m.
HOUSTON (AP) Houston’s last nine wins have been come-from-behind victories.
The Astros have rallied so often lately that they have come to expect a late comeback.
Carlos Lee hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning and the Astros did it again on Thursday night, beating the New York Mets 3-2.
“We’ve been fighting back a lot lately and winning a lot of games coming from behind,” Lee said. “Now we feel like it’s never over until it’s over. So it seems like we get a hit here and there … and then a big hit.”
Angel Sanchez and Hunter Pence singled with no outs before Lee drove Pat Misch’s next pitch to the Crawford Boxes in left field.
“They found the right spots and then we kind of decided to go in with Lee,” Misch said. “He guessed right and crushed it. I could have gotten it in a little bit farther, but he also opened up, and guessed right. He got it, and that is what he gets paid to do.”
Misch (0-2) was rolling before the trouble in the seventh, retiring 16 straight hitters after Pence’s two-out double in the first.
“We were 1 for 19 or something like that against this guy until the seventh inning and to see the guys put some good at bats together and get some hits was good,” Houston manager Brad Mills said. “Being able to finally get some guys on and get something going was big. Of course when you get a big hit like that, that’s huge.”
Bud Norris (6-7) pitched seven solid innings for Houston, yielding two runs and two hits. Wilton Lopez worked the eighth before Brandon Lyon tossed a perfect ninth for his fifth save, completing the three-hitter.
New York scored both of its runs in the fourth. Angel Pagan walked, stole second and advanced on a groundout before coming home on Jeff Francoeur’s bouncer to shortstop. Chris Carter added a run-scoring infield hit.
Mets manager Jerry Manuel is disappointed with the his team’s recent hitting slump.
“We have to do more offensively,” Manuel said. “We have to find a way to get it done. That’s a poor effort on our part offensively. We just have to do better. Period. It’s pathetic.”
Norris settled down after the shaky fourth, retiring the last 10 batters he faced. The right-hander struck out four and walked two while throwing 123 pitches, improving to 4-0 with a 3.31 ERA in his last five starts.
“I went in the tunnel and took a deep breath and said: ‘Hey, it’s done. It’s over with. You’ve still got to go out there and pitch,'” Norris said of getting back on track after the fourth inning. “My pitch count was already pretty high, but my arm felt good and I had no trouble throwing a lot of pitches and I went out there and regrouped and pitched good from there on out.”
Lopez yielded a hit in the eighth and hasn’t allowed a run in his last 17 outings.
Misch gave up three runs and four hits in six-plus innings.
Misch singled with one out in the third for the first hit off Norris, who retired the next two batters before running into trouble in the fourth inning.
NOTES: Houston placed IF Jeff Keppinger on the 15-day DL with an injured left big toe and purchased the contract of IF Anderson Hernandez from Triple-A Round Rock after the game. … The Astros activated INF Tommy Manzella from the DL. He had been out with a fractured left index finger. … RHP Brian Moehler, on the DL with a tear in his groin, felt good after throwing three innings of a simulated game on Thursday. He could be ready to go on a rehabilitation assignment soon. … The Mets optioned OF Fernando Martinez to Triple-A Buffalo to make room on the roster for Rod Barajas, who came off the DL to start at catcher.
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