Mets beat Astros in rain-shortened game

October 4, 2009

Pat Misch iced his left arm and watched the Washington-Notre Dame college football game as sheets of rain fell on Citi Field on Saturday.

He was hoping to get another chance to pitch. He settled for finishing the season strong.

Misch pitched five solid innings before his outing was cut short by a long rain delay, leading the New York Mets to a 5-1 victory over the Houston Astros.

"I'm always bummed when it comes to an end. ... I like pitching, that's just how I am," Misch said, but "to finish like that was awesome."

Fernando Tatis had two hits and two RBIs for New York, which scored all of its runs with two outs. Josh Thole singled in Tatis in the seventh and finished with two hits.

Tatis was subbing for All-Star third baseman David Wright, who was rested on the penultimate day of the season because manager Jerry Manuel said he wanted to give him a break. Center fielder Carlos Beltran was scratched because he was feeling ill and the club decided against playing him in the day game after he went 0 for 4 in New York's 7-1 victory Friday night.

Beltran missed 2 1/2 months of the season with a bone bruise on his right knee and has been eased back into the everyday lineup since he returned Sept. 8.

Manuel said Wright and Beltran will be back in the lineup for Sunday's season finale.

Misch (3-4) allowed one run and five hits to close his season with consecutive wins, raising his career record to 3-11 in 60 games. The 28-year-old lefty threw an eight-hitter in a 4-0 win at Florida last Sunday for his first career complete game.

Four relievers combined to finish up, with Francisco Rodriguez recording one out to earn his 35th save in 42 opportunities. It was Rodriguez's first appearance since he gave up a game-ending grand slam to Justin Maxwell in a 7-4 loss at Washington on Wednesday.

"It is good that that did not go to the winter, with anybody," Manuel said. "But for me I don't think it's a bother to him."

Misch was about to return to the mound for the sixth when it began to rain heavily and the grounds crew came on to put the tarp on the field. After a delay of 2 hours, 20 minutes that included a round of boos after the kids' postgame dash around the bases was called off, the rain tapered off and the non-contending teams returned to the field to warm up.

"I was surprised after we had went like an hour and a half, I thought maybe then we'd be able to go home, watch the college football or something," Manuel said. "But that wasn't the case."

Crew chief Gary Cederstrom said the forecast called for 45 minutes of showers.

"We have no control over how it rains," he said.

Miguel Tejada singled in the first to extend his hitting streak to 20 games and drove in Houston's run with a sacrifice fly in the third. The All-Star shortstop also committed an error that allowed Anderson Hernandez to score in New York's two-run second.

The Astros have lost four of five to drop to 4-8 under interim manager Dave Clark, who took over when Cecil Cooper was fired Sept. 21. Rookie Yorman Bazardo (1-3) allowed three earned and five hits in 4 2-3 innings.

"I didn't have any command of my fastball," Bazardo said. "That made it really difficult."

Houston turned in a couple of sharp defensive plays in the fourth to keep the game close.

The Astros brought the infield in after Thole hit a one-out triple with New York leading 2-1. Anderson Hernandez followed with a hard grounder that first baseman Lance Berkman knocked down with a diving stop. Thole broke for home when the ball dribbled away but second baseman Kaz Matsui picked it up and threw to catcher J.R. Towles for the tagout.

Bazardo then walked Misch to put runners on first and second before Carlos Lee made a sliding grab in left to retire Angel Pagan for the final out. Third base umpire Fieldin Culbreth initially ruled that the ball touched the ground, then changed the call after conferring with the other umpires following a brief protest from Lee and Clark.

TV replays appeared to show Lee catching the ball cleanly.

Houston right fielder Hunter Pence also made a diving grab to snare Jeff Francoeur's drive in the third, and center fielder Michael Bourn hustled in to make a nice catch on Cory Sullivan's sinking liner with two on in the eighth.

"It was a difficult day under the circumstances but, overall, we played well in the outfield," Clark said. "One thing about them, they're not going to quit."

NOTES: Tatis' bat shattered on a flare to right-center off Sammy Gervacio that scored Luis Castillo and Cory Sullivan in the fifth. ... Tejada's streak is the Astros' longest since Willy Taveras set a club record with a 30-game hitting streak in 2006. ... The announced paid attendance was 37,578.