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Oswalt beats Mets with bat, arm in Astros' victory

NEW YORK (AP) -- Houston pitcher Roy Oswalt has been around long
enough to recognize that baseball isn't always fair.

"Sometimes you pitch great and lose," Oswalt noted Sunday.
"And sometimes you pitch terrible and win."

The Astros beat the New York Mets 8-4 Sunday and Oswalt's bat
had as much to do with the win as his arm. He contributed a pair of
singles to help build Houston rallies and came away with his first
victory in over a month.

There had been four losses and three no-decisions since he beat
Chicago on June 14 so Sunday's win was a welcome change. "It was a
battle," Oswalt said. "I didn't have great stuff. Sometimes
you're able to battle and get through it."

It was a day that did not begin well for Oswalt (7-7). He gave
up a three-run homer to New York's Carlos Delgado in the first
inning. It was a similiar start to Saturday when the Mets Orlando Hernandez gave up three runs to Houston in the first inning in a
game New York won 4-3.

"After it's 3-0, you just try to keep your club in the
ballgame," Oswalt said. "I was able to get to the sixth."

By then, the Astros had battled back to take the lead. They
scored a run in the third when Oswalt contributed a single and four
more in the fifth when he led off with another single.

Manager Phil Garner wasn't as tough on Oswalt as the pitcher was
on himself.

"I thought Roy threw good," the manager said. "He left one up
over the plate to Delgado. The Mets are swinging pretty good right
now. They worked deep counts on him."

Oswalt had thrown 106 pitches when he left the game with two out
in the sixth. He gave up four runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings.
He struck out four and walked three. Four Houston relievers did not
allow a hit and shut out the Mets the rest of the way

"Oswalt did for them what El Duque did for us the other day,"
Mets third baseman David Wright said. "Once he got out of the
first inning, he settled down and started making good pitches."

The victory ended a three-game losing streak for the Astros, who
avoided a weekend sweep.

New York was leading 3-1 on Delgado's first-inning home run when
Oswalt, who had singled to help build Houston's first run, opened
the fifth with a pop fly that fell off second baseman Jose Valentin's glove for another hit. The Astros went on to bat around
and score four runs to take the lead.

After Oswalt's hit, Willy Taveras doubled. Mike Lamb then
singled up the middle, scoring Oswalt and Taveras to tie the score
at 3-3. Then Lance Berkman delivered an RBI double, giving the
Astros the lead.

Berkman strained his groin running out the double and was
replaced by pinch runner Luke Scott. The hit knocked out Mets
starter Mike Pelfrey and Preston Wilson's single against reliever
Darren Oliver scored Scott.

"I quit throwing my secondary pitches for strikes," Pelfrey
said. "They started sitting on my fastball and started hitting
it."

Berkman said he hurt himself when he tried to change speeds
getting to second base. "I saw the ball kick around and I thought
I could get to third," he said. "I'm not very concerned. It
didn't pop or anything. I think it's minor."

The Mets, who had won three straight games, got a run back in
the bottom of the fifth. Paul Lo Duca opened with his second
double, reached third on a fly by Wright and scored on Cliff Floyd's two-out single.

In the eighth, Adam Everett singled, stole second, went to third
on a throwing error by Lo Duca and scored on a hit by Taveras.
After Taveras stole second and went to third on an infield out, he
scored when Chris Burke beat reliever Aaron Heilman to first on a
soft looper for an infield single.

Everett added an RBI single in the ninth to make it 8-4.

The Mets, who came into the game leading the National League in
first-inning runs with 79, struck quickly again.

Lo Duca doubled down the right field line with one out and
Carlos Beltran walked. Delgado followed with his 25th home run of
the season and third in the last four games. The three-run homer
gave Delgado 65 runs batted in for the season and eight in the last
four games.

The Astros got a run back in the third when Pelfrey (2-1) hit
Everett with a pitch with one out. Oswalt, attempting to bunt, fell
behind in the count and swung at an 0-2 pitch, singling to right
and sending Everett to third. Taveras followed with a sacrifice
fly.

Pelfrey gave up five runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings. He
walked one and struck out three.

Game notes
Mets bullpen coach Guy Conti underwent an angioplasty to
relieve a clogged artery at Lenox Hill Hospital on Saturday. He is
expected to rejoin the team on Monday. ... Pelfrey was attempting
to become the first Mets pitcher to win his first three starts.
Dick Selma (1965) and Gary Gentry (1969) are the only others to win
their first two starts.