HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Astros were happy to get a series win for the first time since the opening three games of the season on Tuesday night.
They weren’t quite ready to celebrate it though, with one more game left in the three-game set with the New York Mets.
“I don’t think we can look at it that way now,” Houston’s Jed Lowrie said of winning the series. “Tomorrow is the most important game we have to play. It’s nice to get these two, but it’s going to be more important to get the one tomorrow.”
Chris Snyder hit a three-run home run and Lowrie had a two-run shot to give the Astros a 6-3 win over the Mets.
Lowrie’s homer, off Jonathon Niese, which hit the inside of the foul pole in left field in the first inning, got things going for the Astros, who got a 4-3 win to open the series on Monday. The Astros had lost six consecutive series entering this set with the Mets.
Snyder pushed the lead to 5-0 in the next inning with his first home run of the season, which landed in the Crawford Boxes in left field. Brian Bogusevic and Justin Maxwell hit consecutive singles to start that inning and set up Snyder’s shot.
The Astros still rank in the bottom third of the league in home runs this season with 16 despite the two on Tuesday. Still, Snyder said it’s too early to write off Houston as not having much power.
“I wouldn’t look too deep into it. It’s kind of a great hitters’ park,” he said. “We’ve got some guys that can leave it. It’s not one of those things where you should expect to not see power from this team. We’ll get into the groove and you’ll start seeing the ball leave.”
Niese (2-1) allowed a season-high five runs and six hits in three innings. It was his shortest start since lasting just 2 2-3 innings on Sept. 29, 2010.
Niese entered the game 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA this season and was 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA in three career starts against Houston.
He was disappointed to be pulled from the game so early.
“Obviously, the competitiveness in me wanted to stay in the game,” he said. “I had put up a zero, and I felt my stuff was good enough to keep the team in the game.”
Houston starter J.A. Happ (2-1) allowed six hits and three runs with seven strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings, which was his longest outing of the year.
Relievers Wilton Lopez and Wesley Wright combined to allow one hit in 1 2-3 innings before Brett Myers threw a perfect ninth for his sixth save.
Reliever Miguel Bautista walked Maxwell in the sixth inning, but Snyder grounded into a double play. Happ singled before Bautista walked Jose Altuve. He was replaced by Ramon Ramirez, who walked Lowrie.
His bases-loaded walk of J.D. Martinez gave Houston an insurance run and made it 6-3. The Mets finally got out of that inning on a fly out by Carlos Lee.
The Mets issued eight walks on Tuesday, including three to Lowrie.
“You just can’t put people on and expect to win major league baseball games, especially when you are walking in runs,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “It’s going to come back to burn you.”
Justin Turner walked with two outs in the fifth inning and scored after consecutive singles by David Wright and Scott Hairston to cut Houston’s lead to 5-3. Happ got out of that inning by striking out Ike Davis after a short coaching visit to the mound.
Happ allowed just one hit — a single by Davis in the second — through the first three innings.
Turner doubled to start the fourth inning and Hairston walked with one out. A two-out single by Andres Torres scored Turner to make it 5-1. Josh Thole followed with a RBI single to center field to get New York within 5-2.
Happ struck out pinch-hitter Lucas Duda to limit the damage.
NOTES: The Astros placed reliever Rhiner Cruz on the 15-day disabled list with a right ankle sprain and recalled RHP Enerio Del Rosario from Triple-A Oklahoma City after the game. … Mets starter Mike Pelfrey had season-ending Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Tuesday. The team said the surgery, done by Dr. James Andrews, went well. … Houston starter Kyle Weiland had arthroscopic surgery for an infection in his right shoulder on Tuesday. Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow said he isn’t sure how long Weiland, who has been on the disabled list since Friday, will be out. … Mets catcher Mike Nickeas stayed at the team hotel on Tuesday with the flu. The Mets haven’t decided whether they will call up another player to fill in while he’s out. … Duda was out of the starting lineup for the second game because of flulike symptoms, but pinch-hit in the fourth inning. … Houston CF Jordan Schafer got a day off after experiencing soreness in his left side. Manager Brad Mills doesn’t think the problem is serious and expects him to be back in the lineup Wednesday. … The series wraps up on Wednesday when Houston left-hander Wandy Rodriguez faces Chris Schwinden.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)