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HOU@CIN: Wandy fans six over six solid frames

Chris Schwinden is in need of a bounce back.

Things didn't go well for the Mets' right-hander in his first start of the season, as he surrendered six runs (five earned) on seven hits and a walk in four innings Friday at Colorado. Schwinden left in the fifth after giving up a home run to Carlos Gonzalez, and the Rockies would end up scoring 11 runs in the inning.

Schwinden will get another shot Wednesday when he takes on the Astros in the finale of a three-game series in Houston, and manager Terry Collins is confident his pitcher will be better the second time around.

"He's more comfortable now that he's spent the week and feels like he's part of the team instead of just a spot start," Collins said. "If he pitches his game, he'll do fine. If he keeps the ball down, uses all his pitches, he's going to get outs."

He'll need to get outs against the Astros, who have a tendency to keep things close. Six of their last seven games have been decided by three or fewer runs.

Schwinden is looking to replicate the success he had at Triple-A Buffalo this year. He started four games and won two, including a complete game. His ERA was 2.05 over 22 innings in the Minors. In the big leagues, his ERA is quite a bit higher, at 11.25 after one outing.

But as Collins said, big league batters and Minor League batters aren't quite the same.

"It's a little different striking these guys out," the skipper said.

Mets: Rookie sensation
• Outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis led all rookies in April with a .325 batting average. That April average ranks as the third-best among rookies in Mets history.

• First baseman Ike Davis has had a lot of success on the road this season. He is hitting .310, and all three of his home runs have come away from Citi Field. He'll have an opportunity to add to that total Wednesday before the Mets return to New York on Friday.

Astros: Schafer's streak
• Astros outfielder Jordan Schafer has reached base safely in his first 23 games to start the season. The franchise record is 25, which was set by Dennis Menke. Baseball players are known for their superstition, and Schafer doesn't want to directly address the streak.

"It's not something I really want to talk about yet," said Schafer, who sat out Tuesday's game with a left oblique strain. "I'm just trying to get on base and get the guys behind me opportunities so we can score runs. My job leading off is to get on base and whatever it is -- steal bases or bunt guys over or whatever. As long as I can try to cause a little bit of havoc on the bases and score some runs."

• Wednesday's starter, Wandy Rodriguez, might be just 2-2, but his ERA is a sterling 1.72. The left-hander has allowed just six earned runs in five starts. Rodriguez is 3-2 in seven career starts against the Mets.

• The Astros are going for their first sweep after winning the first two games of the series.

Worth noting
• Rodriguez hasn't fared too well against David Wright in his career. The Mets' third baseman has a .316 career average against Rodriguez, with two doubles and three RBIs. But, Rodriguez has never allowed a home run to Wright and has struck him out five times.

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