KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Mike Pelfrey's sinker wouldn't sink and his ERA keeps rising.
Carlos Lee drove in five runs with a double and a home run off Pelfrey, and the Houston Astros beat the Mets 9-5 Sunday to extend New York's spring training losing streak to eight.
``A lot of the pitches were up and they were over the middle,' Pelfrey said, ``and guys at this level can hit that.'
Making his third spring training start, Pelfrey allowed eight runs, eight hits and four walks in 2 2-3 innings with four strikeouts. He has given up 20 hits, six walks and four homers over 9 2-3 innings, and his ERA went up to 14.90 as New York dropped to a big league-worst 3-11.
``Obviously I walked way too many guys and the ball was up a little bit, but I got through 80 pitches and that was fine,' Pelfrey said. ``Of course I would love to get everybody out, but I don't know if I've ever had a good spring training so it doesn't necessarily concern me that much. I feel good, and today was my best day velocity-wise. I don't know how many more starts I have left, two or three maybe. I know I definitely need to be better than that.'
The 28-year-old right-hander has started 31 or more games for the Mets in each of the last four seasons.
``I remember in `10 getting my brains beat in for five or six starts, and then the last start in Tampa, I went for six innings and gave up one run, and then I started off 9-0 (actually 9-1),' Pelfrey said. ``So I'm not too worried about it now. I feel good and the results will come.'
The 35-year-old Lee, having a good spring training as a full-time first baseman, took Pelfrey down the right-field line for a two-run double in the first inning, then drove a fastball over the left-field wall for a 7-4 lead in the second inning. It was his first home run of the exhibition season.
``I'm happy where I am right now,' Lee said. ``In that situation it was a sinkerball pitcher trying to get me to hit a ground ball. I was just thinking inside, and when you're in position to take a good swing, you're going to have results.'
Jed Lowrie also homered and drove in three runs, and Travis Buck had three hits.
Houston starter Livan Hernandez allowed four runs, five hits and three walks in three innings. Ronny Cedeno homered off Hernandez in the first inning, and Rob Johnson homered for the Mets' final run.
After walking and scoring twice, Astros centerfielder Jordan Schafer left in the third inning. He injured his left hand during a diving catch. X-rays were negative.
``He thought he was OK and then he picked up a bat and he felt kind of funny,' Astros manager Brad Mills said.
NOTES: Humberto Quintero, who caught 79 games for Houston last season, played five innings in his first game. He has been bothered by lower back discomfort. ... The Mets have their spring training off-day Monday. ... J.A. Happ and Zach Duke are to pitch five innings each Tuesday in an intrasquad game scheduled by Mills to generate more innings and at_bats.
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