Astros 11, Mets 1
HOUSTON (AP)—Once the ball rolled free, Adam Everett took off.
Everett hit the first inside-the-park home run at Minute Maid Park, and Jeff Bagwell and Richard Hidalgo each homered and drove in three runs as the Houston Astros routed the New York Mets 11-1 Wednesday night.
Everett hit a liner in the fifth inning that eluded diving center fielder Jeff Duncan.
“I thought he caught it at first. Then when I saw that he missed it, I was thinking triple. I was excited and I just kept on running,” Everett said.
Left fielder Timo Perez tracked down the ball near the wall and threw to shortstop Jose Reyes. Everett slid home ahead of the relay for the first inside-the-park job in the stadium’s four-year history.
“Adam can run, and to see him go around the bases was pretty sweet. An inside-the-park home run is the most exciting play in baseball,” teammate Geoff Blum said.
Blum also homered and the Astros got 15 hits, with Lance Berkman going 4-for-4 and scoring three times.
“It was good for our offense to shake out of the malaise we have been in,” Berkman said. “We haven’t scored 10 runs in the last week. Anytime you see an avalanche of runs like that, it is usually a combination of the pitcher being off and the hitters swinging the bats.”
Wade Miller (8-10) allowed one run and six hits in six innings for the victory for Houston, which rebounded from a 10-1 loss to the Mets the previous night.
Rookie Aaron Heilman (1-5) lost his third straight game, allowing six runs and seven hits in three innings.
“Aaron struggled with command on all of his pitches. They put some pretty good swings on it, so he must have been in the middle of the plate a lot,” New York manager Art Howe said. “He is still a young man who has a lot to learn about pitching.”
Houston took a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Berkman led off with triple that bounced off the center-field fence and rolled away from Perez, who was playing the position at that point.
Perez fell while attempting to make the play on the hill in center, and Hidalgo drove in Berkman with an infield single. Blum scored the second run when Craig Biggio was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Houston increased its lead to 6-1 in the third when Bagwell led off with his 25th homer and Blum added a three-run shot, his 10th of the season.
The Astros went up 10-1 in the fourth on a two-run double by Bagwell and atwo-run homer by Hidalgo, his 19th of the season.
Bagwell hit his 405th career home run, leaving him two away from tying Duke Snider for 34th on the career home run list … Hidalgo was in the lineup after missing two games because of a sore right hip … Houston is 53-2 this season when leading after eight innings and 206-5 since opening day 2001 when ahead after eight … Biggio was hit by two pitches, increasing his majorleague lead to 16.