Mills reflects on unique usage of relievers

Mills reflects on unique usage of relievers

HOUSTON -- There was plenty of talk at the ballpark Tuesday about the Astros using seven different pitchers to face seven consecutive Mets batters in Monday's series opener.

After starter Bud Norris was pulled from the game, Wilton Lopez got the final out in the seventh inning. Four relievers -- Wesley Wright, Brandon Lyon, Fernando Abad and Fernando Rodriguez -- faced four different batters in the eighth, with manager Brad Mills wearing out a path to the mound.

"The rest of the infield got tired of coming to the mound and we finally kind of made a joke about it to ease the tension," Mills said.

Closer Brett Myers handled the ninth, with the first batter he faced in the ninth representing the seventh different Mets batter to face a different Houston pitcher.

"You never plan on it, that's for sure," Mills said. "That's something I'm not real thrilled with. I don't like doing that. In the same breath, we wanted to do what we had to do to win that ballgame. Any one of those guys [in the Mets' lineup] could have hit the ball out and put us behind the eight-ball. Being the home team, you're trying to keep that game tied and give us the best opportunity to win the game."

The only reliever who worked Monday that Mills was concerned about his availability Tuesday was Rodriguez, who threw 22 pitches Sunday against the Reds before throwing seven more Tuesday. Mills was also unsure about the availability of right-hander Rhiner Cruz, who's nursing a sprained ankle and hasn't pitched in more than a week.