Reed's quirky inside-the-parker sparks Astros

Reed's quirky inside-the-parker sparks Astros

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A bizarre inside-the-park homer sparked a three-run Astros rally against Matt Harvey on Thursday, leading Houston to an 8-5 win over the Mets at Tradition Field.

A.J. Reed opened the scoring with what appeared to be a one-out double off Harvey in the second inning. But center fielder Yoenis Cespedes stopped pursuing Reed's hit after it trickled under the fence's padding, claiming that the ball was wedged in place. Umpire C.B. Bucknor disagreed, dislodging the ball himself after Reed motored home with the game's first run.

"It should have just been a double," Cespedes said through an interpreter.

Reed became the first of five straight Astros to reach base safely that inning against Harvey, who walked George Springer with the bases loaded and served up a Marwin Gonzalez sacrifice fly. An inning later, the Astros doubled their margin on Reed's RBI double and Derek Fisher's two-run triple. From there, it was only a matter of time before the Mets dropped their seventh consecutive Grapefruit League game.

Must C: Reed's inside-the-parker

"Everything was a little out of whack," Harvey said of his first poor outing this spring. "I think mechanically, I have to go back and watch some film tomorrow, and figure out what was going on. Every time I tried to execute a pitch, it was just over the middle. It felt like every pitch was different from every other one."

Astros starter Dallas Keuchel endured none of the same issues, scattering three hits and a walk over five shutout innings. The American League's reigning Cy Young Award winner is unscored upon in 10 Grapefruit League innings.

Keuchel's scoreless start

Dominic Smith's RBI single highlighted a five-run eighth-inning for the Mets, but they could not complete the comeback.

Smith's RBI single

Up next for the Astros: Dan Straily will take the mound for the Astros when they face the Braves at 12:05 p.m. CT on Friday in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on MLB.TV. Collin McHugh was originally slated to start the game, but the Astros want to give Straily a good look considering he's out of options and competing for the last spot in the bullpen.

Up next for the Mets: Two of the game's brightest young starting pitchers, Noah Syndergaard and Michael Wacha, will square off when the Cardinals come to Tradition Field on Friday for a 1:10 p.m. ET game on MLB.TV. Syndergaard has been electric all spring, posting a 1.54 ERA with 10 strikeouts and one walk in 11 2/3 innings.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.