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Astros Take On Mets Knuckleballer Dickey After Yet Another Meltdown Loss

(Sports Network) - R.A. Dickey tries to avoid a fifth straight loss this afternoon when the New York Mets continue their three-game series with the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

Dickey won his first start of the year, but the knuckleballer has since gone 0-4 and was beaten by the Los Angeles Dodgers his last time out. Dickey gave up four runs (three earned) and a season-high 10 hits in seven innings of that one.

"Today, I think I gave up nine singles and a home run late in the game," said Dickey, who's pitched to a 4.50 earned run average on the season. "Against San Francisco last outing, same thing ... I have to always weigh the ways I'm giving up runs, and I can't be too disappointed. I'm confident, having been on the other side of the coin, that things are going to turn."

Dickey lost to the Astros on April 20 and is 1-1 lifetime against them with a 2.49 ERA in five games, three of which have been starts.

Houston, meanwhile, will counter with lefty J.A. Happ, who is 2-4 with a 5.75 ERA. Happ did not get a decision on Sunday in Pittsburgh, as he surrendered two runs and six hits in six innings. He also walked four batters in his team's 5-4 loss.

"I felt like I was making good pitches," Happ said. "I just definitely tried to battle the best I could. That's all you can do."

Happ was hit hard by the Mets earlier in the year, allowing six runs in just 4 2/3 innings and is 1-2 in seven games (five starts) against them with a 5.17 ERA in his young career.

The Astros will be trying to bounce back tonight after a stunning loss in Friday's opener, as Fernando Martinez and David Wright clubbed two- run homers in the eighth inning to help New York rally for a 6-4 win. Jason Bay also went deep for the Mets, who scored all their runs from the seventh inning on to win for the sixth time in eight tries.

Houston, which had a pair of runners thrown out at the plate, suffered its seventh loss in nine contests. The NL-worst Astros also left nine men on base.

"It wasn't just one thing," Michael Bourn said of the loss. "You can go back and it could be anything. Mistakes happen."

On the milestone watch, Houston outfielder Carlos Lee is one hit shy of 2,000 for his career. He was 2-for-4 in Friday's loss and extended his hit streak to seven games.

Houston took two of three when these teams met at Citi Field in late April.

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