Giles struggles in Houston debut as Mets beat Astros 3-1
KISSIMMEE, Florida (AP) Ken Giles gave up two runs in one inning in his debut with the Houston Astros, who lost 3-1 to the New York Mets on Saturday.
Giles is expected to take over the closer role after he was acquired in an offseason trade with Philadelphia. The right-hander went 6-3 with 15 saves and a 1.80 ERA in 69 games with the Phillies last year.
Houston had a 1-0 lead when Giles took the mound for the fifth inning. Eric Campbell doubled and Dilson Herrera had a run-scoring triple on Giles' first two pitches. He walked Ruben Tejada with one out before the Mets grabbed a 2-1 lead on a sacrifice fly by Michael Conforto.
''I was just trying to work on staying around the plate kind of thing,'' Giles said. ''Kind of trying to do too much. I was trying to make my slider too fine. So, I ran into trouble with that (but) overall I think the ball just came out of my hand really well today.''
New York shortstop Ruben Tejada went 0 for 2 with a walk in his first game since breaking his leg on a hard slide by Chase Utley of the Dodgers in the National League Division Series last season.
Houston's George Springer led off with a ground-rule double and scored on Colin Moran's single to make it 1-0 with no outs in the first.
The Astros are hoping Springer can play a full season in 2016 after each of his first two years in the majors were trimmed by injuries. The 11th overall pick in the 2011 draft missed the last two months of the 2014 season with a hamstring injury and sat out another two months last season with a broken wrist.
The Mets added an insurance run on a sacrifice fly by Stefan Sabol in the ninth.
Mets: RHP Robert Gsellman yielded three hits and a run with one strikeout in two innings. It was the spring debut for Gsellman, who went 13-7 with a 2.89 ERA in 24 games between Single-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton last season.
''He's got great stuff,'' New York manager Terry Collins said. ''He's got a great sinker. He's got a nice curveball. He's everything those guys in the minor leagues told us, and he's going to get a couple more opportunities to go out there and pitch. I know I like his stuff and with more experience he's going to be good.''
Astros: Collin McHugh allowed one hit in two scoreless innings. McHugh's 19 wins last season were second in the American League to teammate Dallas Keuchel's 20 victories. McHugh, who was an 18th-round pick by the Mets in 2008, returns after pitching a career-high 203 2-3 innings in 2015.
''Anytime you can go out there and pound the strike zone and get away without any runs, it bodes well for you,'' McHugh said.
There was a pregame moment of silence in honor of Mets senior director of public relations Shannon Forde, who died Friday night at 44 after a long fight with breast cancer. Forde had been with the Mets since graduating from St. John's University in 1994.
TONING IT DOWN?
Houston manager A.J. Hinch said before Saturday's game that the Astros were trying to get outfielder Carlos Gomez to tone down his aggressive swing a bit. So far, it looks as if their pleas haven't worked; Gomez swung so hard a couple of times on Saturday that he fell to one knee.
''He's never shy in his exertion level,'' Hinch said. ''But we'd like him to play under control maybe a touch more with the bat ... so it's really just trying to find a good pitch to hit and put a controlled swing on it.''
Mets: LHP Sean Gilmartin opposes Atlanta's Kyle Kendrick when the Mets host the Braves on Sunday.
Astros: Scott Feldman will face Toronto ace Marcus Stroman when an Astros split squad hosts the Blue Jays on Sunday. In Houston's other game, right-hander Brad Peacock meets Pittsburgh's Juan Nicasio when the Astros visit the Pirates.