Series: Game 2 of 3

Series tied 1-1 (as of 5/15)

Game 1: Friday, May 14
NY Mets8Final
Game 2: Saturday, May 15
NY Mets4Final
Game 3: Sunday, May 16
NY Mets3Final
in 13

Mets 4

(17-20, 9-12 away)

Astros 7

(22-14, 12-10 home)

    7:05 PM ET, May 15, 2004

    Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    NYM 000301000 4 6 0
    HOU 22001110 - 7 12 0

    W: A. Pettitte (4-1)

    L: J. Baldwin (0-2)

    S: O. Dotel (7)

    Pettitte allows four runs in six innings

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Andy Pettitte put his emotions aside after a close friend died earlier in the day, and went out and beat the New York Mets.

    "He's a professional, and he showed it tonight," Houston Astros catcher Brad Ausmus said.

    Pettitte won his fourth straight game and drove in a run as the Astros stopped a three-game losing streak with a 7-4 victory Saturday night. He left immediately after being taken out of the game after the sixth inning, and didn't speak with the media.

    "I talked to him about it before the game and he said he would be fine," Ausmus said. "But that's certainly a difficult situation to pitch under."

    Pettitte (4-1) went six innings and allowed four runs on six hits. He struck out eight, tying his season high set May 4 against Pittsburgh, and walked one. Pettitte also helped himself with an RBI single in the fifth inning.

    He has won all four starts since coming off the disabled list April 29. He missed 19 games with a strained left elbow after losing his first start April 6 against San Francisco.

    Craig Biggio, who played under a similar situation when a close friend of his died at midseason two years ago, understood what Pettitte was going through Saturday.

    "There's no easy way around it," Biggio said. "But I know he felt that the best thing he could do for his friend was to go out and do the best job he could pitching tonight. And that's what he did.

    "I know it was riding on him all day long. Everybody just thinks that as pros we just put the armor-plating on and go out and nothing bothers you. But we're human too. You lose a good friend, and it bothers you. Our prayers go out to him and his family."

    Adam Everett, who hit a two-run homer, agreed.

    "He did really well on the mound considering everything that was going on in his life," Everett said. "He was out there with a heavy heart. All of our thoughts and prayers are with him."

    The Mets weren't aware of the situation, but were still impressed by Pettitte.

    "Against that caliber of pitcher, you can't give up that many runs at the start," manager Art Howe said. "We kept at it. But they didn't let us out of the hole."

    Cliff Floyd agreed that Pettitte was still on his game.

    "Pettitte is awesome," Floyd said. "He knows how to pitch. He's a great pitcher and a great competitor. He battled through some tough innings and stayed poised. That's what good pitchers do."

    But Floyd, who struck out twice, also was unhappy with plate umpire Angel Hernandez's strike zone.

    "You can't allow a guy like Pettitte to have more of the plate," Floyd said. "We are already at a disadvantage. Both teams were moaning about it. You just can't give a guy like that extra pitches.

    "When you're thinking about what you're going to call, you're in trouble. It's not that hard. If it's a strike, call it a strike. If it's a ball, call it a ball. I was going to go up there swinging because if he called another ball a strike, I was going to get thrown out of the game and I didn't want to embarrass myself and my team."

    Jeff Kent was 2-for-4 with two RBI as the Astros ended the Mets' three-game streak.

    Octavio Dotel got three outs for his seventh save in eight chances.

    James Baldwin (0-2) lasted four innings and allowed four runs on six hits in his second start with the Mets. He walked three and hit a batter, after giving up six earned runs in two innings and losing 12-8 at Arizona last Monday.

    Kent's double drove in Craig Biggio from third in the first inning for a 1-0 lead. The Astros then loaded the bases and Baldwin walked Richard Hidalgo to force in a run.

    Everett hit a two-run homer in the second, his third of the season, and gave Houston a 4-0 lead.

    Pettitte retired the first 11 batters, before Floyd singled with two outs in the fourth. Shane Spencer's RBI single to center drove in Floyd, and Jason Phillips knocked in two more with a double to make it 4-3.

    Pettitte's RBI single in the fifth drove in Morgan Ensberg from second for a 5-3 lead.

    Phillips made it a one-run game again with an RBI double in the sixth, but Kent made it 6-4 with an RBI single in the sixth.

    Ensberg scored on Jason Lane's fielder's choice in the seventh to make it 7-4.

    Game notes

    Pettitte's single was his first hit and first RBI of the season. It also was only the fourth hit and third RBI of his career in 37 at-bats. ... Phillips' three RBI tied his career high for a game. The last time he drove in three was at Colorado on Aug. 16, 2003. ... Mets SS Kazuo Matsui's double in the sixth was his sixth in the last seven games. ... With his appearance Saturday, Mike Stanton has 907 in his career -- one short of tying Cy Young for 13th on the all-time list for pitchers.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press