FINAL SCORE: Mets 5, Astros 1

WP: R.A. Dickey (9-5, 2.56)

LP: Bud Norris (6-8, 5.17)

Top 9th: Hisanori Takahashi, K-Rods effective replacement as the Mets closer, got Johnson to fly out, struck out Castro, allowed a single to center and ended the game by inducing an easy groundout. Takahashi has not allowed a run in nine of his last 10 appearances. 

SCORE: Mets 5, Astros 1

Bottom 8th: The Mets got one hit this inning, by Luis Hernandez, who got his first start after being called up yesterday and now has his first hit of the year on a single to left. Time to close things out. 

SCORE: Mets 5, Astros 1

Top 8th: Astros shortstop Tommy Manzella led off the inning with a single and Manuel quickly yanked Dickey. Though he let off a leadoff hit, Dickey began the eighth inning for the fourth time in his last seven starts. Bobby Parnell picked up Dickey by getting a double play and, after allowing two hits, got a fly out to end the inning.

SCORE: Mets 5, Astros 1

Bottom 7th: Nothing doin this inning. We'll see if Dickey continues to try and finish what he started.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

SCORE: Mets 5, Astros 1

Top 7th: Another quick inning from Dickey and the Mets are headed back to the dugout. The inning lasted about four minutes, incredible considering some Johnny Damon at-bats have lasted that long. Dickey kept the infield busy, inducing 11 groundouts that were easy for the most part. In a year when the Mets' big bats have been unimpressive - Bay, Beltran, Reyes and even Wright to an extent - Dickey has been a gem. Dickey has proven he is a quality starter, but going forward he could take over the legacy of Tim Wakefield and help out yearly contenders as a spot starter or reliever. The Mets will have some competition when Dickey tests free agency this off season.

SCORE: Mets 5, Astros 1

Bottom 6th: Thole golfed a bomb of a home run to right, that ricocheted off the second deck for his second homer of the year. The extra run this inning should be a nice bit of insurance for Dickey when he heads out for his seventh inning of work.

SCORE: Mets 5, Astros 1

Mets videos

Top 6th: If you blinked this inning, you may have missed it. Dickey retired the side on 10 pitches, putting him in excellent position to complete another inning of work and spare the bullpen from exhaustion. 

SCORE: Mets 4, Astros 1

Bottom 5th: Beltran, Carter and Wright went down 1-2-3. They are a combined 1-for-6 today with two strikeouts.

SCORE: Mets 4, Astros 1

Top 5th: Dickey worked another scoreless inning and recorded his second strikeout. His at 86 pitches, a decent pace to at least get into the seventh inning.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

SCORE: Mets 4, Astros 1

Bottom 4th: Thole put in a nice at-bat, fouling off a few pitches to lead the inning off with a bloop single to left. With two outs Pagan slashed a single to center and then stole his 32nd base of the season to put runners in scoring position with two outs. Castillo could not get anyone home, grounding to the pitcher to end the inning.

SCORE: Mets 4, Astros 1

Top 4th: The Mets avoided trouble this inning after Blum singled, Michaels walked and Castro singled on a bobble by Wright to load the bases with two outs. Dickey got the pitcher to ground out and end the inning.

SCORE: Mets 4, Astros 1

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Bottom 3rd: Norris gave up a single to Carter, but struck out Beltran, Wright and Davis to avoid any damage. Norris has got impressive stuff, mainly a 95 mph heater complimented by a 85 mph slider. It helps that the Mets middle of the order has looked unimpressive so far.

SCORE: Mets 4, Astros 1

Top 3rd: After Castro led off the inning with a double, he advanced on a sacrifice and scored on an infield single by Bourn. Dickey received four runs of support in his last start but squandered the lead after serving up a three-run homer. 

SCORE: Mets 4, Astros 1

Bottom 2nd: The Metropolitans plated four runs this inning on three hits. Wright led off the inning with a walk, Davis doubled, Thole walked and Dickey knocked in Wright and Davis on a single up the middle to put the Mets ahead. Thole then scored on a Pagan ground out and Dickey came home on a blooper to center by Castillo.

SCORE: Mets 4, Astros 0

Top 2nd: Dickey recorded his first strikeout of the game, taking out Blum. Blum saw five knuckleballs of speeds 74, 69, 70, 74 and 78. Dickey's had success this season in large part because of his combination of control and speed variation, making it pretty hard for hitters to get into a rhythm.

SCORE: Mets 0, Astros 0

Bottom 1st: Pagan struck out looking, Castillo fought to earn a walk, Beltran and Carter popped up to shortstop. Not exactly the most intimidating showing from the middle of the lineup. While Dickey held Houston to two runs previously, Norris held New York to two runs in his last matchup. Should be a close one today.

SCORE: Mets 0, Astros 0

Top 1st: Dickey started the day by getting three groundouts on eight pitches. His knuckler was dancing and twirling toward the hitters' ankles. He went 8 1/3 innings on two-run ball last time against Houston. 

SCORE: Mets 0, Astros 0

Mets lineup:

1. Angel Pagan
2. Luis Castillo
3. Carlos Beltran
4. Chris Carter
5. David Wright
6. Ike Davis
7. Josh Thole
8. Luis Hernandez
 9. R.A. Dickey

Pitching: R.A. Dickey (8-5, 2.64 ERA)

Astros lineup:

1. Michael Bourn cf
2. Tommy Manzella ss
3. Hunter Pence rf
4. Carlos Lee 1b
5. Geoff Blum 2b
6. Jason Michaels lf
7. Chris Johnson 3b
8. Jason Castro c
9. Bud Norris p

Pitching: Bud Norris (6-7, 5.03 ERA)