Duda hits 2-out, 2-run HR in 9th, Mets beat Astros
NEW YORK (AP) — Mets manager Terry Collins mentioned before Saturday night’s game that his burly first baseman may be growing a bit fatigued.
After all, this is Lucas Duda’s first full season manning the position and he’s been relied on to be the big run producer in the middle of New York’s lineup for the majority of the season.
He didn’t look tired in his last at-bat, though.
Duda hit a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, rallying the Mets over the Houston Astros 2-1.
Held to two hits by four Houston pitchers through eight innings, the Mets came back against Tony Sipp (4-3).
Eric Young Jr. tripled with one out and stayed there on Daniel Murphy’s flyout to shallow left field.
Duda followed with a line drive off the right-field foul screen for his 29th home run, and the first game-ending homer of his career.
Plus, his parents were in the stands.
“That was fun,” Duda said. “EY was huge out there with that triple and I was lucky enough to put the barrel on the ball and that was it.”
Even better, he hit the game winning shot off a lefty, something Duda has struggled with this year.
“One of the things that he is really trying to prove is that he can hit lefties,” Collins said. “He is really focused on doing just that.”
Jenrry Mejia (6-6) pitched one inning for the win.
Jose Altuve, hitless in four at-bats for Houston, heads into Sunday with a chance to win the AL batting title. He leads the majors at .340, and Detroit’s Victor Martinez is at .337.
Altuve is vying to become the first player in Astros history to win a batting crown.
“I believe he’ll play tomorrow,” interim manager Tom Lawless said. “We’ll see what happens. It should be fun.”
On the eve of the regular season’s final day, two clubs with losing records and an eye on the future matched zeros for the first five innings in front of an announced crowd of 34,886 — many presumably for a postgame concert by 18-year-old Austin Mahone.
Houston scored in the sixth. Dexter Fowler hit a slow roller that straddled the third-base line and Murphy advanced on the grounder, wishing it foul by waving his glove over the ball. He eventually scooped it up in fair territory, just short of the bag, for a single.
Jason Castro followed with an RBI double that chased Mets starter Rafael Montero. Reliever Buddy Carlyle limited any further damage, striking out Jake Marisnick with runners at the corners.
Astros starter Samuel Deduno gave up one hit in four innings, striking out four and walking one. It was his first start since June 14 with Minnesota at Detroit.
Deduno had made four relief appearances for Houston since being claimed off waivers on Aug. 30.
Deduno also got his first big league hit, a hard-hit double to deep center in the third that caused his teammates on the Houston bench to erupt in cheers and fist-pumping.
Owners of the worst ERA in the American League, the Houston bullpen proceeded to stifle New York’s lineup until the ninth. Relievers Jake Buchanan, Kevin Chapman and Jose Veras combined for four innings of one-hit ball.
Montero, starting in place of fellow rookie Jacob deGrom, escaped trouble several times in the early innings.
Astros: Deduno was limited to 65 pitches because he “hasn’t been out there in a long time,” Lawless said.
Mets: LHP Jonathan Niese, who exited Friday night’s game in the sixth inning with an elevated heart rate, was feeling better on Saturday. “He’s all right. I think he’s got an appointment on Monday to be looked at again but he’s fine today,” Collins said. “He’s had these before. He said last night he just got a little more light-headed than usual.” ... OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, scratched from the lineup on Friday night due to an illness, was in a local hospital Saturday and was not expected to be released until Sunday. “He’s got an infection of some type,” said Collins. “All the lab work should come back tonight.” ... 2B Dilson Herrera (strained right quad) will not play the rest of the season.
The Mets start RHP Bartolo Colon (14-13, 4.08) for the regular-season finale, looking to win 15 games for the eighth time in his career. The former Cy Young Award winner last pitched on Tuesday in Washington, taking the loss after allowing four runs over six innings. Astros rookie starter RHP Nick Tropeano (1-2, 3.78), hails from West Islip, less than an hour drive from Citi Field, and pitched at nearby Stony Brook University. The 24-year-old is expecting a large cheering section comprised of family and friends on Sunday afternoon, saying that the total number of well-wishers may top 100. Tropeano, who grew up a Yankees fan but attended several Mets games at Shea Stadium, has dropped two straight decisions after winning his major league debut on September 10 in Seattle.
The Mets reached 78 wins for the first time since 2010, when they finished with 79 wins.
MAKING THEM COUNT
The Mets won for the major league-leading seventh time this season when tallying four hits or less, tying the franchise record set by the 1972 club.