HOUSTON -- On a day when final scores and stat sheets seemed less important than usual, the Astros won with ease. An emotional Saturday at Minute Maid Park ended with a 4-1 win over the Mets, giving the Astros a doubleheader sweep.
Josh Reddick and Marwin Gonzalez hit RBI singles during a four-run sixth inning, sending the thousands at Minute Maid Park -- many of them clad in electric orange T-shirts and jerseys -- into extended rounds of applause. Fans came from all over the Houston area to watch the Astros play their first home games since Hurricane Harvey made landfall over Southeast Texas late last week, including thousands of evacuees, volunteers and first responders.
Following a pregame ceremony featuring a ceremonial first pitch from Houston mayor Sylvester Turner, the Astros won Game 1, 12-8. The Astros improved to 14-5 in Interleague Play this season with their first doubleheader sweep since Aug. 11 of last year at Minnesota.
"It was a long day, but a productive day for us," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We played pretty well and with high energy and a lot of emotion. I'm obviously proud of our guys. Two good wins and win the series in one day and have a chance to sweep tomorrow at home before we get back on the road. Couldn't have scripted a better day."
"The whole sixth inning, we won virtually both sides," Hinch said. "We had the bases loaded and a 3-0 count and they come away with no runs in that situation, one run total in the inning. We just put incredible at-bats together in the bottom of the sixth."
Mets starter Seth Lugo pitched five shutout innings before stalling in the sixth, allowing the first four Astros he faced to reach base. All four wound up scoring. As a result, the Mets fell 19 games below .500 for the first time since the final game of the 2009 season.
"I can't speak for anybody else, but for me, I was just trying to stay focused," Lugo said of the circumstances surrounding the game, "and keep my mind on the job I had to do."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Third time's the charm: Lugo's issues this season have mainly occurred when batters see him a third time, and Saturday was no different. Holding the Astros scoreless the first two times through the order, Lugo allowed each of the five batters to face him a third time to reach base. Four of those Astros reached during a sixth-inning rally that Reddick and Gonzalez highlighted with RBI singles. All told, opposing batters have hit .373 off Lugo the third time through the order, more than a 100-point spike over their first two meetings.
"Pitching the third time through the lineup is tough, especially against a team like this," Lugo said. "It's never easy."
Mets strike first:Dominic Smith's sixth-inning double came off his bat at 107 mph with less than three seconds of hang time, giving Springer precious little chance to make a read on it. The center fielder made an incorrect one, stepping in before realizing the ball was arcing over his head. Though he reached up in time to make a play, the ball glanced off his glove for an RBI hit. Statcast™ estimated Springer's catch probability at 87 percent.
"Why the heck not?" -- Mets manager Terry Collins, on his decision to let Smith swing away on a 3-0 pitch in the sixth
"He was huge today, probably the most energy he's had. Really on all sides of the ball, he was key in virtually everything we did," -- Hinch, on Gonzalez, who went 2-for-4 with with an RBI, two stolen bases and a run scored after going first to third on a grounder in the sixth, and made a pair of nice defensive plays at second base
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Mets snapped a 14-game streak in which they plated an even number of runs in each contest. That was a franchise record dating back to their inaugural 1962 season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
FROM THE TRAINER'S ROOM
Mets infielder Wilmer Flores departed in the fourth inning after fouling a ball off his face, sending him to the turf with blood running from his nose. Pinch-hitter Amed Rosario took over in the middle of the at-bat for Flores, whose nose was broken on the play. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Mets: Rookie Chris Flexen (3-3, 6.89 ERA) looks for better control when he leads the Mets into their 2:10 p.m. ET series finale against the Astros. Flexen, who came to the Mets straight from Double-A Binghamton in July, has walked four batters in each of his last four starts.
Astros: All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa returns to the lineup for the first time since July 17 when the Astros meet the Mets in a 1:10 p.m. CT series finale on Sunday at Minute Maid Park. Right-hander Mike Fiers (8-9, 4.55 ERA) will start for Houston. He's 1-4 with a 7.44 ERA in his last six starts.