New York (48-38) at Houston (38-50)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 74° F
  • Game info: 2:05 pm EDT Sun Jul 8, 2007
  • TV: SNY, FSSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The New York Mets and Houston Astros won’t have much time to get ready for their final game before the All-Star break.

The Mets look to recover after their longest game in nearly 14 years Sunday when they wrap up a four-game series with the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

The Mets (48-38) beat the Astros 5-3 on Saturday in 17 innings - their longest game since beating St. Louis 1-0 in 17 innings on Sept. 29, 1993. The Astros (38-50) lost an 18-inning game against Pittsburgh last season.

The 17 innings matched the most in the majors this season - the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres also played that many in April.

“It was one of those classic games and it was great to win it - to be a part of it,” New York manager Willie Randolph said.

Carlos Beltran was 0-for-6 before singling in the go-ahead run in the top of the 17th. He also made a game-saving catch in the 14th, catching Luke Scott’s fly ball while falling down on the grass hill in center field.

The victory was just the second in seven games for the NL East-leading Mets, who moved back to three games ahead of the second-place Atlanta Braves. New York won for the seventh time in its last 10 games against Houston.

Mets third baseman David Wright went 4-for-8 with a homer after failing to get a hit in nine at-bats in the first two games of the series. Jose Reyes, benched in the eighth inning Friday night for failing to run out a ground ball, was 2-for-7 and scored the winning run.

Houston, meanwhile, has dropped three of its last four games.

“We had bunches of chances, we just didn’t punch them across the board,” Astros manager Phil Garner said.

The Astros will have their ace on the mound in the series finale. Roy Oswalt (7-5, 3.52 ERA) was named to the NL All-Star team on Thursday to replace the injured John Smoltz.

Smoltz was one of five NL starting pitchers elected through the player ballot, and Oswalt was next on the list.

“I don’t think it matters how you get in, just as long as you get to go,” he told the Astros’ official team Web site. “There are only 32 spots in the team. To be one of 300 players from the National League, it’s pretty special.”

The Astros have won each of Oswalt’s last four home starts, and he is 5-1 with a 2.37 ERA in 12 starts at Minute Maid Park this season. He gave up four runs and 10 hits in seven innings of Houston’s 13-inning, 5-4 home victory over Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Oswalt is 4-3 with a 3.28 ERA in nine career starts against the Mets and won both of his outings against them last season.

The Mets counter with Dave Williams, who is making his season debut. Williams, who suffered a herniated disk early in the year and spent six weeks in a neck brace before he could throw again, has made three rehab starts.

“My focus was to trying to get back here,” he said. “I feel like I can pitch at this level again.”

The Mets acquired Williams in a May 2006 trade with Cincinnati, and he went 3-1 with a 5.59 ERA in six outings - five starts - for New York in August and September of last season.

He is 1-3 with a 2.70 ERA in six career starts against the Astros but has not faced them since 2005 while with Pittsburgh.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Williams WAS vs. R. Oswalt COL
0-1 Record 14-7
22.85 ERA 3.18
2 K 154
5 BB 60
3.92 WHIP 1.33

Scoreboard

Sunday, Jul 8