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Updated: Wednesday, April 23, 2003 1:26 AM EDT
MLB RECAP
Houston Astros
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
6 12 0
New York Mets
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
2 5 0
W Redding (1-2)
L Cone (1-3)
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HOUSTON 6, NY METS 2
 

FLUSHING, New York (Ticker) -- David Cone 's comeback attempt may have hit a roadblock.

The 40-year-old Cone gave up two runs in the top of the first inning and left just one inning later with a sore left hip as the Houston Astros posted a 6-2 victory over the New York Mets .

"It's something I've battled the last few years of my career," Cone said. "It's always something when I get loose. It was OK. Tonight, I felt fatigue, weak and unstable. I was struggling during warmups. That would explain my misfires and walks."

"He didn't have his command," Mets manager Art Howe added. "He battled but he didn't have it and that was due to his hip. It was important to get him out of there before something really bad happened. It's something he's been battling. He had to be (hurting) quite a bit because David is one tough cookie, but not under these conditions."

While Cone could not get past the second inning, Tim Redding (1-2) earned his first win of the season and first career victory against the Mets. He allowed one run and just three hits in six innings with two walks and three strikeouts.

"I was a Yankee fan growing up," Redding said. "I always loved (watching) Cone pitch. It was kind of exciting. He was the first pitcher that I enjoyed watching."

Cone, who returned to the major leagues this year for the first time since 2001, gave up RBI doubles to Jeff Kent and Orlando Merced in the first, but worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second by striking out Jeff Bagwell .

Cone (1-3) suffered his third straight loss after winning his first start back in a Mets' uniform. The two-inning stint was his shortest outing since pitching 1 2/3 innings for the New York Yankees against the Texas Rangers on August 24, 1999.

"Everyone worried about my arm, including me," said Cone, who gave up three hits and walked three. "It turns out my lower half is the problem. My arm's been pretty amazing. I feel like there's a lot more there to give."

The Mets got more bad news as Jeromy Burnitz suffered a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal bone on his left hand when he was hit by Billy Wagner in the ninth inning and will be sidelined four to six weeks.

"It's the same thing in '99, but on my other hand," Burnitz said. "When you get hit, it's numb for a couple of minutes. You really don't know until you get an X-ray but it's clear as day."

"Obviously, we got some bad news," Mets catcher Mike Piazza added. "Now's the time we need to persevere and get through this. Hopefully, we can scratch and crawl and stay in it."

Jae Seo replaced Cone and allowed four runs in five innings. Seo gave up a solo homer to Richard Hidalgo in the third before the Astros made it 5-0 in the fourth on RBI doubles by Craig Biggio and Bagwell.

Houston got its final run in the seventh on Merced's RBI single.

"It's nice to get runs early," Biggio said. "We played well tonight."

The Mets got their only run off Redding in the fourth on doubles by Burnitz and Mike Piazza .

"He pitched six good innings, a couple of sacrifice bunts and he had a nice ballgame," Astros manager Jimy Williams . "I thought he got better as the game went on."

"I was trying to find a way to win whether you have your best stuff or not," Redding added.

The Mets made it interesting in the ninth as Scott Linebrink gave up a solo homer to Piazza before Wagner loaded the bases. But Tsuyoshi Shinjo lined out to left fielder Merced to end the game.


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