October 3, 2009: Scoreless Relief Stifles Astros

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Date: October 3, 2009
Mets starter: Pat Misch
Mets: 5
Astros: 1
Winning pitcher: Pat Misch
Key player(s): Pat Misch, Brian Stokes, Anderson Hernandez, Fernando Tatis
Key play: Hernandez’s double, Tatis’s single

The Mets faced the Astros on a Saturday afternoon at Citi Field. The teams played the second of three games in a season-closing series. Mets’ relievers hurled four scoreless innings in a 5-1 win over Houston.

With one out in the top of the first, Miguel Tejada singled and advanced to third base on a single by Lance Berkman. Mets’ starter Pat Misch retired the next two batters to end the inning and the Astros’ Yorman Bazardo yielded only a double to Daniel Murphy in the bottom half. Misch gave up just a double to J. R. Towles in the top of the second and Cory Sullivan drew a walk to lead off the bottom half. Fernando Tatis was retired on a fly ball to right fielder Hunter Pence. Josh Thole grounded out to Bazardo and a double by Anderson Hernandez drove home Sullivan. Misch reached on shortstop Tejada’s error that allowed Hernandez to score for a 2-0 Mets lead. Angel Pagan hit a double and Bazardo retired Luis Castillo on a ground ball to Tejada for the inning’s third out.

Michael Bourn tripled to begin the top of the third. Tejada followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Bourn and cut the Mets’ lead to 2-1. Berkman grounded out to second baseman Castillo and a single by Carlos Lee ensued. Pence hit a force play grounder to third baseman Tatis to close out the inning and Bazardo retired the side in order in the bottom half. Misch pitched a perfect top of the fourth and Thole hit a one-out triple in the bottom of the inning. Hernandez followed with a grounder on which Thole was out at home via a throw by second baseman Kazuo Matsui to catcher Towles. Misch drew a walk and Bazardo got Pagan on a line drive to left fielder Lee to finish off the inning.

Misch set down all three batters in the top of the fifth. Castillo drew a walk against Bazardo to open the bottom half. Murphy and Jeff Francoeur were retired on outfield fly balls and Sullivan singled to send Castillo to third base. With Houston reliever Samuel Gervacio on the mound facing Tatis, Sullivan stole second. Tatis hit a single to plate both Castillo and Sullivan, increasing the Mets’ lead to 4-1. Tatis stole second and Thole walked. Hernandez followed with a walk against the Astros’ Wesley Wright to load the bases. Wright then retired Misch on a ground ball to Matsui to end the inning.

Mets’ reliever Brian Stokes hurled a scoreless top of the sixth. Houston’s Tim Byrdak set down all three hitters in the bottom half and Matsui drew a leadoff walk against Stokes in the top of the seventh. Towles and pinch-hitter Darin Erstad followed with consecutive force play ground balls to Tatis. New York’s Pedro Feliciano retired Bourn on an inning-ending grounder to Tatis, who got a two-out double against the Astros’ Jeff Fulchino in the bottom half. Thole singled to bring home Tatis with the Mets’ fifth run of the game. Hernandez drew a walk and Fulchino got pinch-hitter Jeremy Reed on a ground ball to first baseman Berkman that closed out the inning.

Mets’ reliever Sean Green surrendered only a walk to Berkman in the top of the eighth. Houston’s LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless bottom half and Jeff Keppinger walked against Green to lead off the top of the ninth. Matsui lined out to center fielder Pagan and a strikeout of Towles followed. Pinch-hitter Geoff Blum drew a walk and New York’s Francisco Rodriguez retired Bourn on a fly ball to right fielder Francoeur for the game’s last out. The Mets had a victory with shutout relief.