HOUSTON -- Newcomer Cameron Maybin socked a three-run, go-ahead homer in the third inning and George Springer added a solo shot in the fourth -- his team-leading 31st -- to lead the Astros to an 8-6 win to cap a three-game sweep of the Mets on Sunday afternoon at Minute
HOUSTON -- Newcomer Cameron Maybin socked a three-run, go-ahead homer in the third inning and George Springer added a solo shot in the fourth -- his team-leading 31st -- to lead the Astros to an 8-6 win to cap a three-game sweep of the Mets on Sunday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros (83-53), who began the day with a 12 1/2-game lead over the Angels for first place in the American League West, have won four in a row for the first time since July 1-5 and earned their first sweep of at least three games since taking four from Oakland from June 19-22.
"It's nice to get back on track and string some wins together," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We've had a really strange week. To have us win the last two out of three series, it's a good feeling. We need to win more games to win the division, and that's what we're focused on."
The sweep capped an eventful weekend at Minute Maid Park, where the Astros were able to play three games in two days a week after Hurricane Harvey ravaged the city with floodwaters. The team pulled off a blockbuster trade for Justin Verlander late Thursday and welcomed All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa back to the lineup on Sunday after six weeks.
• Correa's return from DL 'so much fun'
In his return, Correa went 1-for-3 with an RBI single, and he scored on Maybin's homer.
Astros starter Mike Fiers let the Mets stay in the game, allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings, but Mets starter Chris Flexen gave up seven runs in four innings. Fiers walked three batters, and all three scored as the Mets built a 4-1 lead after two innings.
"That's a really good lineup," Flexen said. "Obviously, they have good hitters one through nine. They're a good, winning team. It was pretty difficult. I thought I made a few good pitches, and tried to pitch to contact today, and got burnt."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Call me Maybin: Maybin, acquired from the Angels off waivers on Thursday, hit his first homer with his new team in the third inning. The three-run blast to left field capped a five-run inning that gave the Astros a 6-4 lead. It was the seventh homer of the season for Maybin and his first since June 22, a span of 137 at-bats.
"It's nice, man," Maybin said. "These guys have been doing this all year, and to be able to come in and do my part and play good defense and help manufacture runs, I'm looking forward to keeping this thing going. It's already been a fun two or three days."
Stuck at third: Astros relievers came up with some huge outs with runners in scoring position in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings. After walking in a run, cutting the Houston lead to 7-6, Tyler Clippard struck out Kevin Plawecki to strand the bases loaded in the fifth. Will Harris (sixth) and Luke Gregerson (seventh) stranded tying runs at third, and Chris Devenski stranded runners at second and third to end the eighth and preserve a two-run lead.
"Each guy had to do something positive to get to the finish line," Hinch said. "Obviously, Devo had the last two innings. ... There was a lot that was needed to get the 27 outs today, and they stepped up."
"Another embarrassing start for me, getting our team off on the wrong foot. Luckily, my team is very good and responded to it well and we ended up getting the lead again. I just didn't do anything right today." -- Fiers, who has a 7.90 ERA in his last eight starts
"You've got to go pitch. You've got to learn how to deal with it. You've got to learn how to pitch around it. That's exactly why we ran him out there in the fourth after a tough third. Look, you've got to go out there and battle through some stuff." -- Mets manager Terry Collins, on Flexen's struggles at the big league level
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Astros went 15-5 against the National League this season for the second most Interleague wins in club history (16 in 2015). They are 42-18 in Interleague Play since 2015, the second-best mark in the Majors in that span. (Boston is 40-17.)
FROM THE TRAINER'S ROOM
Mets shortstop Amed Rosario departed in the eighth inning due to a bruised right index finger, an injury initially sustained on a swing during Saturday's doubleheader. X-rays were negative; Rosario is day to day. More >
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With no outs in the third inning, Jose Altuve and Correa attempted a double steal. The Mets challenged third-base umpire Eric Cooper's ruling that Altuve was safe at third base, but the call stood following a review of two minutes and 25 seconds. The stolen base, Altuve's 30th, moved him back into a tie with Maybin for the American League lead. He later swiped his 31st to take sole possession of the lead.
Mets: Their three-city, nine-game road trip in the books, the Mets will return home to play a Labor Day matinee against the Phillies at Citi Field. Rafael Montero (3-9, 5.12 ERA) will start the 1:10 p.m. ET game, hoping to build upon his 8 1/3 shutout innings last time out in Cincinnati. Fellow right-hander Mark Leiter is scheduled to pitch for the Phillies.
Astros: Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (11-3, 2.91 ERA) faces the Mariners for the first time since Opening Day in Monday's 5:40 p.m. CT series opener at Safeco Field. Keuchel is 2-3 with a 5.35 ERA in seven starts after he missed eight weeks with neck discomfort, having allowed eight earned runs in 13 innings in his last two starts.
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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.