HOUSTON: It’s almost unbelievable to imagine how the Mets lost their game tonight to the Houston Astros. They just keep finding original ways to do so.

Pat Misch was on the mound for the Mets making his second Major League start of the season. The Mets were trying to win their first NL road series of the season.

Over the first six innings of the game, it felt as if Misch was going to throw a one-hitter. After all, he had only allowed one hit through six.

Bud Norris was facing the Mets for the first time in his career, coming off a 14-strikeout performance against the Pirates. He threw a ton of pitches through the first three innings, and the Mets broke through against him in the fourth.

After a walk and hit batsman, Astros shortstop Angel Sanchez gave the Mets a couple of runs. Ike Davis hit a ball to short, where Sanchez didn’t step on second base, therefore only getting one out, and allowing two runners to get to scoring position.

The next batter, Jeff Francoeur, grounded out to short, allowing a run to score. Chris Carter, playing left field, hit a ball in the hole at short, and Sanchez couldn’t throw him out, allowing another run to score.

Earlier in the game, Sanchez dropped a ball thrown by the pitcher Norris, allowing Davis to go first to third. The Mets though, would only record two hits against Norris and his 5.42 ERA.

Pat Misch kept rolling along after allowing a double to Hunter Pence in the first inning. After the double, until the end of the sixth, Misch retired 16 in a row.

Norris came back to pitch the seventh after throwing 110 pitches, and it paid off for him.

The Astros put together a three-batter, three-run rally against Misch to start the seventh. Sanchez and Pence singled, and Carlos Lee hit a three-run home run to left field, giving Houston a 3-2 lead.

Misch was immediately pulled thereafter, having only thrown 69 pitches. He allowed three runs on four hits (three runs, three hits in seventh) and struck out one.

Trying to get the tying run back in the eighth, the Mets stranded Jose Reyes at second base. Luis Castillo hit a comebacker and Angel Pagan lined out to shortstop.

The Astros had second and third with one one in their eighth, but Ryota Igarashi struck two batters out. It was his first Major League appearance since July 4.

The Mets went down in order to Brandon Lyon in the ninth, losing a devastating series finale. With the 3-2 loss, the Mets split the four games in Houston.

They still haven’t won a road series against the NL or consecutive road games against the NL this season. Pat Misch is now 0-2 in his first two starts in 2010.

The Mets couldn’t take advantage of the Braves and Phillies both losing, staying 8.5 games out of a playoff spot.

They will try to finally win a road series this weekend, facing the team with the worst record in baseball, the Pirates. Mike Pelfrey opens up the series tomorrow night against Jeff Karstens.

NL East standings

Atlanta 71-50
*Philadelphia 68-52 (2 1/2)
Florida 60-60 (10 1/2)
NY Mets 60-61 (11)

*Lead NL Wild Card; Mets 8 1/2 behind

Next series probable pitchers:

Aug. 20
New York: Mike Pelfrey (2010: 11-7, 3.95 ERA) vs. Pittsburgh: Jeff Karstens (2010: 2-9, 4.57 ERA)
Aug. 21
New York: Jon Niese (2010: 7-5, 3.38 ERA) vs. Pittsburgh: James McDonald (2010: 2-1, 2.55 ERA)
Aug. 22
New York: Johan Santana (2010: 10-7, 2.97 ERA) vs. Pittsburgh: Zach Duke (2010: 5-12, 5.33 ERA)

Upcoming schedule:

New York Mets:
Aug. 20-22 @ Pittsburgh Pirates
Aug. 24-26 vs. Florida Marlins

Pittsburgh Pirates:
Aug. 20-22 vs. New York Mets
Aug. 23-25 vs. St. Louis Cardinals

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