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Johnson hits 2 HRs, drives in career-high 6 RBI, as Astros win 8-1 over Mets

The SportsXchange

HOUSTON - The Astros could get used to the long ball, and Chris Johnson wouldn't mind a few more days like this.

The Astros rallied behind Johnson's first career multi-homer game and Wandy Rodriguez's solid start to beat the Mets 8-1 on Wednesday for their first series sweep of the season.

"Home runs -- they can smooth everything out a little bit," Astros manager Brad Mills said.

Johnson gave the Astros a 3-0 lead in the second inning with his first home run of the season, then expanded it an inning later with a two-run shot off Mets right-hander Chris Schwinden.

Johnson (4-for-4) also drove in Jed Lowrie in the fifth inning to finish with a career-high six RBIs, the most by a Houston player since Angel Sanchez also had six on Aug. 3, 2010 at St. Louis.

"Getting that first homer out of the way was big, too," Johnson said. "I've been searching for that for a little while now. This is probably my best day in the major leagues. This is something I'll never forget."

Johnson's four hits tied his career high, last achieved Aug. 24, 2010 in a win at Philadelphia.

"It was nice to see CJ break out and put us on the board like he did," Mills said.

Schwinden (0-1) lasted only four innings, having given up five runs on six hits - including the two homers. He struck out one and walked two.

"I made a couple of bad pitches, and they got hammered," Schwinden said. "I thought today was going to be a little different, but I left a couple of balls up in the zone, and it changed the whole day.

"I know it doesn't really help me, but I think their patience is kind of wearing a little bit with my performance. I just have to keep my head on straight, and if I get another opportunity, try to go for it."

The Astros relied on the long ball in all three wins over the Mets, getting homers from Matt Downs on Monday and Chris Snyder and Lowrie on Tuesday, for a total of five home runs and 12 runs.

The Mets, who did not homer in the series, were outscored 18-7.

It was the Astros' first series win since taking two of three from Colorado on April 6-8.

The three straight wins matched their longest streak since April 7-9.

The Mets lost three in a row for the second time this season and first since April 17-20.

"You have ups and downs, and this is a down," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "They out-pitched us and they out-hit us."

Lowrie finished 3-for-4 with a double and three runs scored to extend

his hitting streak to six games.

Brian Bogusevic and Jason Castro each went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Bogusevic also scored two runs.

Rodriguez (3-2) limited New York to one run on six hits through seven innings for his third win in as many starts. He struck out five and walked two over 90 pitches, lowering his ERA to 1.64 in the process.

"I tell you what, when I see a score like that, I feel very, very comfortable," Rodriguez said.

David Carpenter and Fernando Abad combined to shut out the Mets over the last two innings.

Ruben Tejada went 3-for-4 with two doubles for the Mets, who lost their third in a row and went 2-4 during stops in Colorado and Houston.

Andres Torres drove in the Mets'one run in the fourth with a grounder to right that scored David Wright with two outs in the inning.

Schwinden's replacement, right-hander Manny Acosta, gave up three runs on six hits over two innings. All three runs allowed came in the fifth inning.

NOTES: Astros CF Jordan Schafer left the game after the fourth inning with lower back tightness. He was replaced by Justin Maxwell. ... With a walk in his first at-bat, Shafer reached base safely for a 24th consecutive game, one shy of tying the team record to start a season set by Denis Menke in 1969. ... Mets RF Lucas Duda was scratched from the lineup because of flu-like symptoms. Scott Hairston started at right field, with Kirk Nieuwenhuis at left.
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