This is no way for the Mets to prove to the naysayers that the first month of the season was for real — they dropped their second straight to the lowly Astros.
It was a night to forget for Jonathon Niese. He allowed a two-run home run in the first inning and a three-run shot (left) in the second to fall behind 5-0. Niese threw just 60 pitches before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the fourth, allowing the five runs on six hits.
In that fourth Justin Turner led off with a double and stole third on a Scott Hairston walk. With two outs Andres Torres singled Turner home and Josh Thole followed with a single to score Hairston. With runners on first and third Terry Collins chose to end Niese’s night, sending Lucas Duda up to pinch hit. He struck out.
It was a smart decision to pinch hit for Niese — clearly he didn’t have it and the Mets had a chance to tie the game. And Collins had no choice but to use the left handed Duda, who was only on the bench because he is still suffering from flu-like symptoms, against lefty J.A. Happ. Mike Nickeas was out because of similar symptoms, and Mike Baxter, the only right handed hitter on the bench, was the backup catcher for the evening. Collins couldn’t risk using him and leaving the team with no catchers in case something happened to Josh Thole, so there was no righty to call upon.
The Mets continued to peck away in the fifth, once again with two outs — Turner walked, David Wright singled and then Hairston singled to plate Turner to make it 5-3.
Miguel Batista pitched reasonably well in relief of Niese, going 2.2 innings, leaving in the sixth with runners on first and second. But Ramon Ramirez promptly walked his first two batters to extend the Astros lead to 6-3.
And that’s the way it would end. The Mets try salvage the final game of the series in a Wednesday matinee.