NEW YORK -- Perhaps after yet another rough start to a season, things are starting to go right for the Astros.
Wednesday's game was one of those that made you think just that.
At Citi Field, Houston allowed 15 Mets hitters to reach base, nursed an uncomfortable one-run lead in the final two frames and somehow ended up with a 4-3 win to notch back-to-back victories for the first time this season.
Somewhere in the midst of a rare acrobatic catch by Carlos Lee, an eighth-inning Houdini-like escape by Jose Valdez and a fortunate double play on a bunt in the ninth, the Astros found themselves believing good fortune may finally be on their side.
"We've been close all year," second baseman Bill Hall said. "These are the kind of games where the ball bounces your way - the type of games that can put you on a roll."
Wednesday's game saw Hall exit early with a sprained right ankle, one sustained after he made a terrific lunging grab in foul territory in the second inning.
Hall's injury isn't deemed serious -- he's day-to-day and isn't planning on getting an MRI -- and it wasn't serious enough to dim the enthusiasm of a team that began this season 1-7, but has notched victories in six of its last 10.
What Hall saw as he sat out the game's final five innings was a victory that resulted in bounces finally going his team's way.
After Bud Norris delivered the Astros' fourth straight quality start with six innings of three-run ball, Hunter Pence broke a 3-3 tie with a solo homer off knuckleballer R.A. Dickey in the eighth -- a laser to left field that was the right fielder's second long ball of the season.
That's when the bounces came.
Fernando Abad started the bottom half by putting runners on the corners with one out, so Astros manager Brad Mills went to Jose Valdez -- who had only appeared in one Major League game -- to get his team out of it.
One thing about Valdez: He says he's hardly ever nervous.
Another thing about Valdez: He has a really nasty splitter.
The pitch is a gift and a curse because it gets hitters chasing, but is hard for many catchers to handle. Against pinch-hitter Justin Turner in that first-and-third, one-out situation, it was a gift, then a curse, then a prize.
Valdez's splitter struck out Turner, but bounced off the tip of J.R. Towles' glove and trickled a few feet in front of him. Towles sprinted toward it, scooped it up and fired to the dashing Valdez, who tagged out Angel Pagan on a close play at the plate to end the inning.
Valdez is quite familiar with the effect his pitch can have on catchers, so as soon as the 28-year-old saw where it was headed, he sprinted home.
"I know I have to be ready to go home," Valdez said, "[and] be ready [in case] something happens."
"I wasn't worried about the guy swinging; I knew he was out, the batter," Towles added. "I was just worried about not letting that runner come in, and when I saw him coming, I was hoping that Valdez was going to be at the plate, and I just gave him a good throw."
Then came the ninth.
Houston closer Brandon Lyon, who hadn't been charged with an earned run since April 1, put leadoff hitter Jose Reyes on with a single. But Josh Thole's bunt went air born and sailed right into the glove of Lyon, who fired to first to catch Reyes napping for a double play and the final blow.
"I went too far," Reyes, who finished 4-for-5, said. "I have to be on that base. I can't allow them to throw me out there because I saw the ball in the air right away. I knew they were going to catch it."
But there was another ball Reyes perhaps didn't think would be caught. That came in the sixth. The Mets had just finished tying the score at 3 thanks to a two-run homer by Daniel Murphy that hooked around the right-field foul pole.
Two batters later, Reyes singled to represent the go-ahead run with two outs, then looked ready to score when Thole sent a rocket into the power alley of Citi Field's spacious dimensions.
But the lumbering Lee sprinted to his left, covered plenty of ground -- or, more than you'd probably expect out of him -- and made an over-the-shoulder catch to rob Thole of extra bases and preserve the tie.
"Carlos really tracked that one down," Norris said. "... [Thole] definitely got a lot of wood on it and I thought Carlos was going to make a good play on it, and he did."
Norris, coming off six shutout innings against the Padres, gave up 10 hits on the night. He also knocked in an RBI single off Dickey's knuckleball as part of a three-run third that put the Astros on the board first.
It was just one of many things that went the Astros' way on this night.
Perhaps it's a trend.
"The guys have been giving themselves a chance to win games, and getting that hit, like Hunter did tonight, to put us over," Mills said. "And I think the guys feel what it's like now to do that, and that's sure nice to see it come around like that."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.