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Lyles' arm, bat leads Astros past Mets

NEW YORK -- Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco combed the champagne out of his hair, filled his glass and joined 25 friends and family members in a toast in the visitors' clubhouse at Citi Field on Friday night.

It took 17 years in the Minor Leagues to get here, but DeFrancesco is finally a big league manager. And now he has a win to show for it.

Houston rode a strong outing by Jordan Lyles to snap a seven-game slide with a 3-1 win over the Mets -- the first Major League win in the fifth game of DeFrancesco's managerial career.

"I'm going to remember every one of those guys," said DeFrancesco, who was born and raised in New York. "It's good for our coaching staff -- I know it's been tough on them -- but we're sticking together through this. The underdog somehow is going to have to come on top, and hopefully it will happen soon."

DeFrancesco's first four games could have gone better -- a lot better. The Astros were outscored 32-8 by the D-backs and Cardinals, including a 13-5 rout in St. Louis on Thursday.

Friday's Astros showed no resemblance.

Lyles delivered six innings of one-run ball, allowing just three hits and striking out four to earn his first win since June 26. He twice got into trouble -- New York had two on and less than two outs in both the second and fourth innings -- and twice got out of it. His only run surrendered came courtesy of a home run by David Wright -- the 200th of his career.

In his next at-bat, Wright powered a ball that bounced off the right-field fence, but Steve Peace delivered a bullet to second base to nail Wright as he attempted to stretch it into a double. The Mets were unable to move a runner into scoring position over the game's final five innings.

"It's big for me, that's what hurt me all year," Lyles said about escaping the jams. "Hopefully this is the right step moving forward, and hopefully I can build on it and finish strong this year."

Houston took an early 2-0 lead courtesy of back-to-back second-inning doubles by Brandon Barnes and Lyles before Wright cut it in half in the fourth. But Tyler Greene led off the seventh with a home run to push the lead back to two, and Houston's bullpen sealed the deal as the Astros improved to 4-0 against the Mets in 2012.

"He's been anxious and we've all been anxious to get him his first win, and hopefully we can start to build something off of this," Greene said. "That's just enjoying the moment, and this is a big moment for him. First time coaching up here and first win, you want to make the best of it."

Mets starter Jon Niese kept his team in the game -- he allowed all three Astros runs over seven innings -- but New York's offense continued to struggle. The Mets haven't plated more than two runs in seven consecutive games, and they have scored just six times over the first five games of their current homestand.

"I made a few mistakes, and they capitalized on them," Niese said. "As a pitcher, you try to minimize mistakes as much as possible and not give up any runs. But I thought our offense hit the ball pretty solid today. They just hit it right at guys and had some bad luck."

DeFrancesco was the first to admit the obvious -- it's just one game. But on the same day he called a team meeting about starting fresh and not giving up, Houston put together the team's best all-around performance since a 10-1 win over the Cubs on Aug. 14.

"I can't say enough about what's going to happen around here," DeFrancesco said. "We're going to change the attitude, we're going to change momentum. I know it's only one win, but the guys are at a good place. After the game, they got me with some champagne, and that means we're together. Even though it's been a long season, we've got a long way to go here, and hopefully we can turn this thing around for a little bit."

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