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Astros 4, Mets 3: Finding New Ways To Lose

If there was an award for finding bizarre ways to lose, the New York Mets trophy case would be full.  In what has seemingly become a nightly practice, the Mets played their way out of a victory, falling to the Houston Astros 4-3 Wednesday night at Citi Field.

The first inning set the tone for New York.  After loading the bases with just one out, Ike Davis struck out and Angel Pagan swung for the fences on a ball that never reached the warning track to end the inning.

R.A. Dickey pitched eight adequate innings, the first Mets starter this season to go that far into a game.  He gave up three cheap runs in the second inning, starting with a wild pitch with the eighth hitter J.R. Towles at the plate.  After walking Towles, opposing pitcher Bud Norris snuck a hit into left field to plate Houston's second run followed by an RBI single to center by Michael Bourn.

Over the next five innings, Dickey allowed just three hits to give the Mets offense plenty of time to claw their way back.  They put a run on the board in the third inning as the red-hot Carlos Beltran (3-4) doubled to center to score similarly smoking Jose Reyes (4-5).  Davis followed by beating out a grounder to third before Pagan again popped out to end a potential scoring opportunity.

Daniel Murphy tied the game in the sixth inning with his first home run of the season, but the game wouldn't be knotted up for long.  A cruising Dickey opened up the eighth by serving up a home run to Hunter Pence that provided the margin of victory.

Not to be outdone by their recent calamities, the Mets offense went back to work in the bottom of the eighth. 

Pagan walked to lead off the inning.  After Willie Harris struck out swinging, Pagan and Murphy put together a perfect hit-and-run that allowed the New York center fielder to take third base.  However, on the play Pagan slowed up on his way to third and was looking to celebrate with third base coach Chip Hale as the Houston infielders were kicking the relay throw around, missing out on a potential scoring opportunity.

With runners on first and third and still only one out, recently recalled Justin Turner was called on to hit for Dickey.  Turner went down swinging as the ball got away from the catcher on the third strike.  The ball didn't get far from home plate, but Pagan decided to break for the plate.  Pagan slide feet first, but raised his lead foot over home plate, allowing the covering pitcher to tag him out to complete the unconventional double play.

Feeling a need to top themselves once again, New York went right after it again in the bottom of the ninth.  Jose Reyes ripped a 2-2 pitch into right field for a lead off single.  Instead of giving Reyes a chance to swipe his third base of the evening, manager Terry Collins opted to have Josh Thole try and sacrifice.  Instead of getting the bunt down, Thole popped up the first pitch right to closer Brandon Lyon, who then doubled off a napping Reyes at first base.

David Wright popped a 3-1 pitch harmlessly into right field to end the game to finish off an 0-3 game.

Trying to explain just what has been happening to his club that has lost 14 of their last 16, Collins summed it up pretty succinctly.

"We've been sitting back and waiting for s--- to happen for a long time and nothing's happening."

The Mets will attempt to make something happen in the final game of their three game series against the Astros Thursday night.  Chris Capuano (1-1, 8.53) will take on J.A. Happ (1-2, 5.79).

OF Jason Bay is expected to make his 2011 debut when he is activated off the disabled list before the game.

Final - 4.20.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Houston Astros 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 4 8 0
New York Mets 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 3 12 0
WP: Mark Melancon (2 - 1)
SV: Brandon Lyon (4)
LP: R.A. Dickey (1 - 3)

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