Mets 5, Astros 4

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HOUSTON (AP)—The New York Mets finally found something to feel good about—complete with a champagne celebration—in a season long-gone wrong.

Tony Clark hit a tiebreaking home run in the sixth inning, helping Steve Trachsel earn his 100th career victory as the New York Mets beat the Houston Astros 5-4 on Thursday night.

“It took me a shade over 10 years to get it,” Trachsel said. “I guess the odds of me getting 200 are pretty slim, but I’ll start working on it again in six days. It was just a bottle of champagne—there wasn’t much too it.”

The Mets remained deep in last place in the NL East and they’ve won just seven of their last 21, but at least they took the series 2-1 and lead the Astros 4-2 on the season.

Clark’s homer was his 15th of the season and fifth in five games for the Mets. Timo Perez and Marco Scutaro also homered for New York.

Jeff Bagwell hit two homers—giving him 27—and tied Duke Snider for 34th on the career list with 407. Bagwell went 2-for-5 with three RBIs for the Astros.

Trachsel (10-7) was making his third attempt at 100 victories. He got his 99th on July 22 at Philadelphia, but followed that with a loss against Cincinnati on July 27 and a no-decision on August 1 against St. Louis.

“He gave us five solid innings and got through some tough ones,” Mets manager Art Howe said. “Our bullpen did a fine job the last four innings to make the lead stand up and hit three home runs. Usually when you win the home run battle, you usually win. That’s the way it turned out tonight.”

The veteran right-hander allowed three runs and six hits in five innings and improved to 100-115 in his career. He walked five and struck out one.

“It was a battle, I wasn’t really sharp,” Trachsel said. “I walked a lot of guys, but I stayed aggressive and tried to get ahead on the count as much as I could. When I was forced to challenge those guys we were able to get an out.”

Mike Stanton pitched the ninth for his second save in three opportunities.

With the game tied at 3-3, Clark homered with two outs in the sixth on the first pitch from Brad Lidge (4-2). Clark hit a home run against St. Louis last Saturday, had two more against the Cardinals the following day and homered against Houston on Tuesday before going 0-for-4 on Wednesday night.

Roger Cedeno’s sacrifice fly in the seventh made it 5-3.

Trailing 3-0 in the fifth, the Astros tied it on a two-run homer by Bagwell, his second in as many games, and a sacrifice fly by Geoff Blum.

“We just need to score a little bit more,” Bagwell said. “We just haven’t scored too many runs except for last night. We have a good offensive team. I can’t give you an explanation, but we’re going to have to figure how to do it.

“Maybe this is as good as we are, but I don’t think so.”

Richard Hidalgo tripled and scored when Blum hit a fly to left fielder Cliff Floyd, who threw home in time to get Hidalgo, but catcher Jason Phillips mishandled the throw.

Bagwell’s solo homer in the seventh cut New York’s lead to 5-4. It was his fourth multihomer game of the season and 30th of his career.

Perez led off the second with his third homer of the season, sending a 1-2 pitch from Tim Redding over the right-field fence. The Mets went ahead 2-0 in the third when Jose Reyes singled, stole second and scored on a throwing error by third baseman Morgan Ensberg.

Scutaro’s first homer of the season made it 3-0 in the fourth.

Redding allowed six hits three runs, two earned and he had one walk and fourstrikeouts over five innings.

Notes

The Mets lead the NL with 305 games started by rookies. … Astros CF Craig Biggio’s second-inning walk was the 1,000th of his career. … Biggio needs three hits to join Mickey Mantle at 94th on the career list with 2,412. … Ensberg needs six homers to tie Doug Rader for the most by an Astros thirdbaseman. Rader had 25 in 1970.

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