Leiter Stifles Houston, Powers Mets to 4-2 Win

When you're coming off an unpleasant defeat, need a victory desperately, and are suffering from various injuries, you need you're pitcher to go out and be the stopper. Al Leiter did just that. The veteran pitched six innings of two run ball as the New York Mets defeated the Houston Astros 4-2 on Wednesday night inside Shea Stadium.

"It was fun," Leiter said to the Associated Press. "I have a lot of enjoyment in pitching today when I don't throw 95 (mph) like I used to. It's fun to see the reaction of the hitters to pitching, using the changeup away and the two-seamer in. When both sides of the plate are working, it's fun no matter who you pitch against."

Armando Benitez came on the ninth inning with a two run lead and allowed a one out double, but was able to retire the final two batters he faced to earn his sixth save of the season.

"Their pitching just shut us down tonight," Astros manager Jimy Williams said to the Associated Press.

Mo Vaughn got the Mets (9-12) on the board in the first against Astros' starter Roy Oswalt when, with the bases loaded, he hit a ground ball to Jeff Bagwell that the first basemen bobbled. He had no other play than to take the sure out at first as Timo Perez crossed the plate to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

In the second Raul Gonzalez, who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday afternoon, deposited the second pitch he saw from Houston starter Roy Oswalt well over the left field wall for a solo home run.

Cliff Floyd began the third by doubling into the right field gap and, after Mike Piazza popped up, moved to third on Mo Vaughn's single into right field. Ty Wigginton then extended the Met lead to three runs by singling up the middle.

Roy Oswalt (2-2) started the Astros' (10-10) fifth inning off Al Leiter by singling into right center and moved up on Craig Biggio's hit. After Jose Vizcaino sacrificed the runners to second and third, Jeff Bagwell dropped a base hit in front of Cliff Floyd to drive in both runs.

The Mets tacked on one more run in the bottom of the eighth to give them a 4-2 lead when Jay Bell hit a sacrifice fly to deep right field that scored third basemen Ty Wigginton.

Al Leiter (3-0) pitched six solid innings allowing seven hits, two runs, three walks, while striking out five. He has yet to allow a home run in any of his starts this season. Oswalt went six innings, allowing seven hits and three runs.

David Weathers came on in the seventh inning and allowed a leadoff walk to Jose Vizcaino, but then struck out Jeff Bagwell as Mike Piazza threw out Vizcaino to complete the strike him out, throw him out double play. He then fanned Lance Berkman and set down the side in order in the eighth.

Notes
Cliff Floyd started the game after sitting out the past two due to an Achilles injury... Roy Oswalt came into the day 2-0 with an .066 ERA against the Mets in two career starts... The Mets called up Joe McEwing, Raul Gonzalez, and Pat Strange from Triple-A Norfolk, demoted Jason Phillips back down to Norfolk, and placed Jeromy Burnitz (hand) and David Cone (hip) on the 15-day DL... Pedro Astacio comes off the DL to make his first start of the year on Thursday night against Wade Miller (0-1, 4.15) in the series finale...


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