August 12, 2004: Zambrano Leads Two-Hitter

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Date: August 12, 2004
Mets starter: Victor Zambrano
Mets: 2
Astros: 1
Winning pitcher: Victor Zambrano
Key player(s): Victor Zambrano, Joe McEwing, Mike Cameron
Key play: Cameron’s double, McEwing’s single

The Mets faced the Astros on a Thursday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played the finale of a three-game series. Victor Zambrano and three relievers teamed up for a two-hitter in a 2-1 Mets win over Houston.

Zambrano pitched a perfect top of the first inning. Astros’ starter Andy Pettitte retired the side in order in the bottom half and Victor set down all three batters again in the top of the second. Richard Hidalgo singled to lead off the bottom of the inning. Mike Cameron followed with a double that brought home Hidalgo for a 1-0 Mets lead. David Wright grounded out to second baseman Jose Vizcaino and a walk to Jason Phillips ensued. Pettitte then got Danny Garcia on a pop-up to first baseman Mike Lamb and struck out Zambrano to end the inning.

After a scoreless third, Zambrano set down the side 1-2-3 in the top of the fourth. Pettitte hurled a perfect bottom half and Victor gave up just an infield single to Vizcaino in the top of the fifth. The Mets were retired in order in the bottom of the inning and Eric Bruntlett reached on Zambrano’s error to begin the top of the sixth. Bruntlett stole second base and Brad Ausmus went down on strikes. Pettitte’s sacrifice bunt moved Bruntlett to third and walks to Orlando Palmeiro and Carlos Beltran loaded the bases. Lance Berkman singled for the Astros’ second hit, driving home Bruntlett to tie the game at 1-1. Zambrano got Lamb to ground out to second baseman Garcia and finish off the inning. The Mets then failed to score after loading the bases against Pettitte and Houston reliever David Weathers in the bottom half.

Zambrano pitched a perfect top of the seventh. Garcia doubled to open the bottom of the inning. Pinch-hitter Eric Valent was retired on a fly ball to right fielder Berkman. Gerald Williams grounded out to shortstop Bruntlett to advance Garcia to third base. Joe McEwing hit a single to score Garcia and put the Mets back in front by a run. Weathers then threw a called third strike past Todd Zeile to close out the inning.

Mets’ reliever Ricky Bottalico struck out both Ausmus and pinch-hitter Craig Biggio to begin the top of the eighth. Palmeiro drew a walk and New York’s Mike Stanton issued a walk to Beltran. Stanton fanned Berkman for the inning’s third out and the Astros’ Chad Harville hurled a scoreless bottom half. Morgan Ensberg walked against the Mets’ Braden Looper with one out in the top of the ninth. Vizcaino followed with a force play ground ball to shortstop McEwing. Looper then retired pinch-hitter Jeff Bagwell on a fly ball to left fielder Williams for the game’s final out. The Mets had a series-closing victory.