Chris Schwinden walks back to the mound after giving up...

Chris Schwinden walks back to the mound after giving up a second home run to Chris Johnson of the Houston Astros. (May 2, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

HOUSTON -- Miss Mike Pelfrey now? The Mets gave up 26 runs in a pair of losses in what would have been Pelfrey's two starts on the 2-4 road trip that concluded Wednesday with a three-game sweep and an 8-1 loss to the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

Chris Schwinden lasted just four innings for the second straight start and fell to 0-3 in his major-league career. The Mets are 0-6 when the righthander starts for them dating to last September.

Pelfrey had Tommy John surgery on his elbow on Tuesday and will be out at least a year.

"I think their patience is kind of wearing a little bit with my performance," said Schwinden (0-1, 11.25 ERA), who allowed five runs on a pair of home runs by Chris Johnson, the Houston third baseman's first two of the season. Johnson hit a three-run home run in the second inning and a two-run shot in the third for his first career multi-homer game.

Johnson (4-for-4) also had a run-scoring single in the fifth off Manny Acosta for a career-best six-RBI game. His previous high was three.

Schwinden was the starter in Pelfrey's spot when the Mets opened this trip with an 18-9 loss to the Rockies last Friday at Coors Field. He gave up six runs (five earned) in the no-decision.

The Mets (13-12) won the next two in Denver before dropping all three against the rebuilding Astros (11-14).

"I think they outplayed us in pretty much every part of the game," David Wright said. "They played extremely well. We played extremely poorly."

Schwinden is listed as the Mets' starter for Tuesday's game at Philadelphia, and there aren't a lot of quality options behind him. Miguel Batista, who lasted 32/3 innings in a spot start on April 23, is in the bullpen. Jeremy Hefner, who pitched three scoreless innings of relief in the same game in his only big-league appearance, is in Triple-A.

Top prospects Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia are also in Triple-A, but are deemed off-limits by the organization until they get more minor-league innings. Chris Young, who was signed to a minor-league contract after shoulder surgery, is still days away from facing hitters in extended spring training and won't be a viable option till the end of the month, if that early.

Of Schwinden, manager Terry Collins said: "I'm not committed to anything. There's change in this game." He also said it was too early to even think about Tuesday.

It wasn't just Schwinden. The Mets scored only seven runs in this series. Wandy Rodriguez (3-2) shut them down Wednesday, allowing one run on five hits and two walks in seven innings. Their only run came on Andres Torres' fourth-inning RBI single.

Schwinden was removed for a pinch hitter in the fifth and was replaced by Acosta, who gave up five consecutive one-out hits in a three-run bottom of the inning as the Astros made it 8-1.

The Mets were short in the bullpen after Collins' gamble on Tuesday night to pinch hit for starter Jon Niese after three innings trailing 5-2. Lucas Duda struck out as the potential tying run and Collins had to get five innings out of his relievers in a 6-3 defeat.

Duda, who hadn't started since last Sunday because of the flu, was scratched from Wednesday's lineup just before game time. Schwinden was also weakened by the flu, something neither he nor Collins mentioned, but that Wright revealed while defending the rookie.

"Schwinden's going to be fine," Wright said. "He's had a couple rough starts. He's a little under the weather. He's kind of got that thing that's going around here. He's going to be just fine."