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Mets 4, Astros 1

May 8, 1997

HOUSTON (AP) _ Butch Huskey wasn’t thinking home run in the ninth inning. He wasn’t even thinking hit.

Huskey broke a 1-1 tie in the ninth with a two-run, pinch-hit homer as the New York Mets beat the Houston Astros 4-1 Wednesday night.

Huskey homered off reliever Tom Martin (1-1) with Manny Alexander on first base.

``It was a bunt situation. If I could work the count in my favor I was also thinking walk,″ Huskey said. ``The first pitch just turned out to be my pitch to hit and I said `Let’s see what happens.′ He really gave me a good pitch, right over the plate.″

Martin, who replaced starter Shane Reynolds, had not given up a run all year.

``I really didn’t think he’d be swinging at the first pitch,″ Martin said. ``A guy that big and that strong, when you get a fastball up out over the plate, that’s what happens.″

Huskey’s long shot over the wall in left field boosted the effort of Mets starter Armando Reynoso. Reynoso (2-0) pitched eight solid innings for the victory, allowing only four hits and a run.

``Reynoso is the hero because he kept them right there and gave us a chance to win,″ Huskey said.

John Franco pitched the ninth for his eighth save.

New York manager Bobby Valentine admitted he was challenging the odds by giving the Huskey _ batting just .238 _ the option to swing away.

``It was a hunch that paid off, I either felt something or I was dumb, I know I was leaving myself wide open for criticism, I knew all the options,″ Valentine said. ``Butch was the story, coming up with one swing doing what we tried to do the whole game.″

Reynolds matched Reynoso, giving up just seven hits and a run in eight innings. He struck out eight, leaving him second in the National League with 53 strikeouts.

Carl Everett followed Huskey’s homer with a single. Everett moved to second on a sacrifice, stole third and scored on John Olerud’s sacrifice fly.

``You knew Martin wasn’t going to go all year without giving up a run,″ Houston manager Larry Dierker said. ``Personally I could have picked a better time for it to happen. He threw a mistake to a hitter you can’t give a high fastball to, and he hit it out.″

The Mets have won eight of 11. The Astros lost for the eighth time in 12 games.

Carlos Baerga had three singles for the Mets.

Jeff Bagwell homered in the first to give Houston a 1-0 lead, but the Mets tied it in the fifth.

Baerga singled and was forced at second on Alex Ochoa’s groundout. Alexander singled to move Ochoa to second. Reynoso then attempted to bunt the runners over, but reached first and was given a hit when Astros third baseman Sean Berry mishandled the ball. Steve Bieser then hit a sacrifice fly to score Ochoa.

Notes: Reynoso’s win was his first against Houston since May 15, 1994, when he was with Colorado. New York catcher Todd Hundley’s streak of reaching base safely ended at 10 when he flied to left to start the second ... The Mets have been successful on 18 of their last 21 stolen base attempts ...Ricky Gutierrez made his first start of the season. The Houston shortstop was activated from the disabled list Tuesday ... Houston third baseman Sean Berry is hitting .167 (4-for-24) since May 1.

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