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Astros score 5 in 11th to top Mets in series finale

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Astros score 5 in 11th to top Mets in series finale


NEW YORK — Considering the things the Astros had to overcome Sunday — a lengthy rain delay in the ninth inning, piecing together seven pitchers in a bullpen game and the loss of star second baseman Jose Altuve to an ejection in the seventh inning — their 10-5 win in 11 innings over the Mets at Citi Field might have been their most satisfying victory of the season.

With their ninth win in 10 games, the Astros surpassed the .500 mark (42-41) for the first time this season and moved them to within 3 1/2 games of the first-place Mariners in the American League West. Houston, which was 10 games out of first place on June 18, posted the best record in the Major Leagues in June at 17-8.

“I never lost faith in this group,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. “I know that we were down, but we were not out. And I’m not surprised that we are where we’re at. We will continue to fight to get to where I know where this team will get.”

After a 2-hour, 47-minute rain delay with the game tied in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Astros opened the floodgates on the Mets and scored five times in the 11th inning. Rookie Joey Loperfido had a two-run single and Trey Cabbage, who started in right in place of the injured Kyle Tucker, added a two-run double.

“I think definitely after a long rain delay to see that up and down the lineup, it’s a huge win,” said Loperfido, who entered the game as a pinch-runner and played the final three innings at first base. “To take the series win on a Sunday with the gritty way we did, it feels good. It’s a great vibe in here postgame, and we’re going to keep it going.”

The Astros have gone 35-22 since starting the season 7-19. Remarkably, they have clawed their way up the standings without Tucker, who had 19 homers in 60 games when he fouled a ball off his shin on June 3 and has been out since, and with five starting pitchers on the injured list.

“It kind of shows that we’ve been grinding through the season with ups and downs,” said center fielder Jake Meyers, who had the go-ahead single in the 11th.

The Astros, utilizing a bullpen game because they have only four healthy starting pitchers, got three hitless innings from starter Shawn Dubin and held the Mets hitless through five as Houston built a 4-0 lead. Despite the hot start, the Astros entered the eighth locked in a 4-all tie after Seth Martinez (sixth inning) and Bryan Abreu (seventh) each allowed two runs.

Houston then burned closer Josh Hader after he warmed up for the ninth and didn’t pitch because of the delay.

“A bunch of heroes,” Espada said. “Our guys fought through that one. It started with Dubin, and he gave us the innings that we needed and then handed the ball to the bullpen. We got some big hits when we needed to, and I’m proud of the effort.”

When the rain delay ended, Tayler Scott started the ninth and pitched a 1-2-3 inning before allowing the tying run in the 10th on a first-pitch double by Brandon Nimmo. He stranded Nimmo at third and watched the Astros blow it open moments later. Luis Contreras pitched a perfect 11th.

“The pressure was a little bit less,” Scott said. “All the fans had left and to come back from a delay, it didn’t feel like the ninth inning of a tied game. That kind of helped me a little bit. Once you come back from the ninth inning and extra innings, the pressure started coming back.”

Altuve was ejected for the second time in his career after a ball he fouled off his foot was ruled in play and he was thrown out at first base. He broke his helmet when he slammed it to the ground in frustration and was ejected for the first time since 2016. The ejection was much easier to take when so many of his teammates came through with runners in scoring position late in the game.

“It was huge,” Altuve said of the rally. “I think it’s not easy to go out there after a rain delay and make stuff happen like they did. There were a lot of big swings and good hits, and Contreras at the end and Scott throwing the ball the way he did. It was teamwork today, and I’m happy [with] the way we won this game.”



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