Mets 10, Astros 1

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HOUSTON (AP)—Vance Wilson broke out of his slump in a big way.

Wilson’s three-run homer keyed a seven-run fifth inning, and Al Leiter had another strong outing as the New York Mets beat the Houston Astros 10-1 Tuesday night.

Wilson entered the game in a 1-for-46 skid and flied out to right in his first two at-bats. But he knew those swings felt better.

“Those first two times were two good at-bats,” Wilson said. “I felt I was coming out of (the slump).

“Sometimes it just takes a while to get your head straight. It was just one of those things where something mentally had gone wrong when I was at the plate. I had some external distractions and I just had to get out of that.”

The three-run homer took care of it.

“There just comes a point when something clicks and you start mentally seeing the ball,” Wilson said. “To be able to come in and contribute when I hadn’t been able to for a couple of weeks felt really good.”

The Mets have scored 32 runs in their last three games, including season highs for runs and hits (19) in a 13-5 victory over St. Louis on Sunday.

“For the longest time, we scuffled at the plate,” manager Art Howe said. “Now everybody is contributing. Now we feel we can put runs on the board because we’ve done it three straight games.”

Tony Clark’s home run, his third in two games, started it off in the second inning.

“Not hitting is contagious and so is hitting,” Clark said. “When you have a group of young, talented guys like we have, you go through stretches where the ball can’t find a hole. But now we’re coming out of that and everyone is a part of it.”

Leiter (11-5) allowed one run, five hits and four walks in six innings, striking out six as he won his third decision in a row.

Astros starter Ron Villone (3-2) went four-plus innings and allowed six runs on seven hits and a walk. He struck out five.

“They got outs and we didn’t get outs,” Houston manager Jimy Williams said. “When you play 162 games, things like that are going to happen. We haven’t had many like that. I can’t remember the last one.

“Villone has pitched well for us. (Leiter) pitched an outstanding game and their hitters hit the ball hard.”

Villone went 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his first eight starts with the Astros, and said he didn’t feel much different this time.

“They hit a couple of pitches I left out over the middle,” Villone said. “When I threw strikes, they hit them. When I was down three runs, I still didn’t feel too bad.

“I didn’t feel like I did anything different tonight. I just didn’t get away with mistakes. Maybe I made more mistakes than usual.”

The Mets made it 3-0 in the third on consecutive doubles by Roger Cedeno, Jose Reyes and Cliff Floyd.

New York broke it open in the fifth. Joe McEwing, Leiter and Cedeno singled to make it 4-1 and chase Villone. Floyd hit a sacrifice fly, Ty Wigginton had an RBI single and Raul Gonzalez added an RBI groundout.

Wilson then connected for his eighth home run to left.

“That was the one that broke their backs,” Howe said. “It gave us a big sigh of relief. Hopefully, he’s home free now and can start breathing again.”

Jeff Kent scored when the Mets botched a rundown in the third. Kent was suspended for two games and fined earlier in the day as a result of his argument with umpire Matt Hollowell during a game against the Chicago Cubs on July 26.

Kent appealed the penalty, allowing him to play.


Houston’s Jose Vizcaino, on the disabled list since June 25 with a broken forearm, took 150 swings during batting practice. Club officials still don’t know how long it will be before he is ready to go on a minor league rehab assignment. … With 98 steals, Cedeno needs two to move into eighth place on the Mets’ career list. … Clark’s home run was the first to hit the large 2004 All-Star game sign high in left field. It was unveiled two weeks ago. … Leiter got his first hit in 32 at-bats this season when his grounder up the middle hit second base and bounded away from shortstop Adam Everett in the fifth inning. Leiter’s last hit came Sept. 22 last season. … The Mets purchased the contract of catcher Joe Depastino from Triple-A Norfolk and he grounded out in his first major league at-bat. Depastino, 29, began hisprofessional career in 1992.

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