HOUSTON – Wandy Rodriguez threw a four-hitter for his first complete game and Lance Berkman had a two-run homer to lead the Houston Astros to a 4-0 win over the New York Mets.
Rodriguez (6-7), whose previous longest outing was 7 2-3 innings, struck out eight, tying a career high, and walked one.
All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes failed to run out a ground ball to third that he apparently thought would be foul to end the eighth inning. He was replaced at shortstop by Ruben Gotay in the bottom of the eighth. It was the second time this week that Reyes was removed from a game after failing to run hard on a grounder.
The Mets didn’t get a runner past first base after Carlos Beltran’s first-inning double. Rodriguez allowed a single to Jose Valentin with one out in the sixth before retiring the next eight batters, striking out four of them.
He walked Valentin to start the ninth before Beltran popped out. David Wright grounded into a force out before he was thrown out trying to take second on a ball in the dirt to end the game.
It was the third time the Mets have been shut out this season, and the third shutout for Houston.
Berkman, who has homered in five of his last 10 games, hit his 15th home run of the season to left field in the fifth inning.
Mets 23-year-old starter Mike Pelfrey (0-7), in his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Sunday, was solid until the fifth inning, giving up just three hits and one run through four.
He walked Brad Ausmus to start the fifth before retiring the next two batters. A run-scoring double by Hunter Pence pushed Houston’s lead to 2-0. The rookie has quickly become a fan favorite, with many fans expressing their affection for him with clever signs. On Friday – a rain-soaked and dreary day – two teenage girls offered a sign that read ‘Hunter Pence: The Only Sunshine in Our Life.’
Berkman followed with his homer to the Crawford Boxes in left field to make it 4-0. On the pitch before the home run, Berkman lost the handle on his bat and it went flying into Houston’s dugout, narrowly missing bench coach Cecil Cooper.
Carlos Lee doubled, but Pelfrey got out of the inning when Mark Loretta lined out to Carlos Delgado.
Pelfrey struck five, a career-high, but remains winless in eight starts this season. He walked two and allowed seven hits in six innings.
Craig Biggio’s grounder to center field in the third inning scored Ausmus and put Houston ahead 1-0.
Notes: Biggio’s hit was career hit No. 3,012.