Happ guides Astros to second consecutive win over Mets

Bernardo Fallas, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- Emboldened by an early lead courtesy of home runs by Jed Lowrie and Chris Snyder, Houston Astros left-hander J.A. Happ cooked up another quality start to make the advantage last in a 6-3 win over the New York Mets on Tuesday.
The victory gave the Astros a two-game winning streak. Houston won the series with a game to spare, its first series win since April 6-8 against Colorado.
Happ (2-1) posted his fourth quality start in five tries this season and his first win since April 9 against Atlanta.
"The great thing about tonight was it was sure great to see Happ continue to be consistent and throw the ball extremely well," Astros manager Brad Mills said.
Happ allowed three runs on six hits through 6 1/3 innings, striking out seven and walking three.
Relievers Wilton Lopez and Wesley Wright combined to keep the Mets scoreless through the eighth inning, and Brett Myers pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his sixth save in as many attempts.
Happ was glad to be in front early.
"It was great, definitely some good ABs there by Jed and Snyd to get us ahead," Happ said. "It's always nice to pitch with that kind of lead."
Snyder blasted a three-run shot to left off Mets starter Jonathon Niese to give the Astros a 5-0 lead in the second inning.
It was Snyder's first home run since signing with the Astros as a free agent in January.
Snyder, a Houston native who played college ball at the University of Houston, entered the game hitting .121 -- including .083 versus left-handers -- with three RBI.
Lowrie was first to rock Niese, hitting a two-run shot to left in the first inning, his third homer of the season.
"It was a two-strike count, so I'm just trying to react at that point," Lowrie said. "You start guessing with a guy like that with a good curveball, he's liable to beat you. He threw a fastball up and in, and I was able to hit it off the (foul) pole."
Niese (2-1) left after three innings, charged with five runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out one.
"Two mistakes on the plate," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Niese's outing.
It was Niese's shortest outing as a starter since Sept. 29, 2010, when he pitched 2 2/3 innings in a loss to Milwaukee.
Asked if he was surprised to be pulled after three innings, Niese said the competitive side of him wanted to remain in the game.
"I had put up a zero (in the third inning), and I felt my stuff was good enough to keep the team in the game," Niese said.
Andres Torres and Josh Thole hit back-to-back, two-out, RBI singles off Happ in the fourth to get the Mets on the board.
Scott Hairston plated Justin Turner with a single to left in the fifth inning to get the Mets within two runs.
Houston made it 6-3 in the sixth with some help from Mets relievers Miguel Batista and Ramon Ramirez, who combined for four walks in the inning.
Ramirez walked Lowrie to load the bases with two outs, and J.D.
Martinez walked to score Happ.
The Mets were aiming to bounce back from Monday's 4-3 loss to Houston in the series opener. They have now lost three of the last five.
NOTES: Astros right-hander Kyle Weiland is out indefinitely after undergoing arthroscopic surgery Tuesday to treat an infection in his right shoulder. Weiland, on the 15-day disabled list since Friday (retroactive to April 25), is 0-3 with a 6.62 ERA in three starts. ... Astros center fielder Jordan Schafer sat out the game due to a left oblique strain. Justin Maxwell started in place of Schafer, who has reached base safely in 23 consecutive games, tied with Ricky Gutierrez (1998) for the second-longest stretch in franchise history at the start of a season. ... Prior to Tuesday's start, Niese was 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA against the Astros. ... After the game, the Astros placed right-hander Rhiner Cruz on the 15-day disabled list with a right ankle sprain and recalled right-hander Enerio Del Rosario from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

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