No more jokes on the pitching mound between Art Howe, manager of the Houston Astros, and Doug Drabek, the struggling righthander.
Not after Drabek’s career-high seven-game losing streak came to a halt Wednesday as the Astros edged the Mets, 3-2, at New York.
“It’s become kind of a joke between the two of us when I take him out of a game,” Howe said. “I take the ball from him and say, ‘Let’s see if we can hold this one for you.’ ”
Al Osuna, the first man out of the bullpen, and Doug Jones, who earned his 24th save, did just that, combining for one hit and two strikeouts in the last two innings to give Drabek (8-15) his first victory since beating St. Louis on July 4.
Jones gave up a leadoff single to Jeff Kent in the ninth, but struck out Ryan Thompson and Ced Landrum after Kent was sacrificed to second.
“Doug did his job,” Howe said. “He’s pitched like that all year. We finally got him off the schneid. Usually we only get him one or two runs, the three today were a luxury.”
Jeff Bagwell doubled home a run in the first, Casey Candaele homered in the third and Scott Servais singled home a run in the seventh. Bobby Bonilla singled in a first-inning run for the Mets and Eddie Murray hit his 21st homer in the eighth to bring the Mets to within 3-2.
“I was fortunate to be ahead when I came out,” Drabek said. “All you can do is sit there and root for the guy who replaces you.
“Naturally I’m happy to get the win under my belt. It’s good for me and better for the team to carry into the next series.”
Did the almost two-month drought bother him?
“Starting pitchers are gauged by wins and losses,” he said. “There’s nothing I could do about the past. That’s how it was.”
St. Louis 7, Cincinnati 4--Todd Zeile hit a two-run single and Bernard Gilkey followed with a two-run homer to cap a five-run seventh inning as the Cardinals defeated the Reds at St. Louis.
Jeff Reardon (3-5), who had stranded 27 previous inherited runners, relieved Scott Service with one out in the seventh and a runner at first. Reardon hit Luis Alicea with a pitch and gave up a run-scoring single to Ozzie Smith to make it 3-2. After getting Gregg Jefferies to fly out, Reardon gave up single and Gilkey’s 14th home run to give the Cardinals a 6-3 lead.
San Diego 13, Florida 5--Archi Cianfrocco, Jeff Gardner and Derek Bell paced a 17-hit attack with three hits each as the Padres beat the Marlins at Miami. Andy Benes (15-10) didn’t give up a hit until the fifth inning and equaled his career high for wins.
Philadelphia 4, Chicago 1--Jim Eisenreich drove in two runs and Terry Mulholland pitched a six-hitter as the Phillies beat the Cubs at Chicago.
Mulholland (12-9) walked one and struck out three for his first win since Aug. 3. It was his seventh complete game of the year.
Montreal 11, Colorado 3--Sean Berry homered twice and Dennis Martinez pitched eight innings of five-hit ball at Denver as the Expos won their seventh consecutive game.
Berry hit solo home runs in the seventh and eighth innings to give him 13 for the season. Larry Walker gave the Expos a 2-0 lead in the first with a 432-foot homer, his 17th.