Rapid reaction: Mets 9, Astros 1

WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets won for only the second time at Citi Field this season and avoided getting swept in a three-game series by the Houston Astros with a 9-1 victory Thursday. Terry Collins had the Mets wear spring-training apparel such as black socks and hats to try to change the team’s luck. Despite the victory, the Mets (6-13) continue to have the worst record in the National League.

WRIGHT STUFF: David Wright snapped a career-high 0-for-20 slump with a fourth-inning homer against left-hander J.A. Happ that gave the Mets a 2-0 lead. Wright (2-for-3, walk) then delivered an RBI double in his next at-bat.

Wright’s previous worst had been an 0-for-19 skid in April 2008.

The longest droughts in franchise history for a position player:

Rey Ordonez, 0-for-37, 1997

Joe McEwing, 0-for-34, 2002

Ed Kranepool, 0-for-32, 1968

Jose Oquendo, 0-for-31, 1984

Jeff Duncan, 0-for-31, 2003

SIDE-LINED: Angel Pagan collided with second baseman Justin Turner as they converged on Hunter Pence’s fly ball to open fourth. Pagan was forced to depart with a pulled muscle on his left side, and was replaced by Willie Harris to open the sixth inning. However, Pagan said the injury happened while swinging and did not involve Turner. He only expects to miss two or three days. Pagan (0-for-3) is now 2-for-his-last-28.

A DL stint conceivably could mean the return of Lucas Duda, although Kirk Nieuwenhuis -- not on the 40-man roster -- does have an 11-game hitting streak with the Bisons and is a bona fide center fielder. Jason Pridie has major league experience and can certainly man center field, but is struggling at the plate with the Bisons.

Collins has consistently said Carlos Beltran will stay in right field and would not be moved back to center field under any circumstances.

BAY WATCH: Playing in his first major league game since July 25, 2010 at Dodger Stadium, Jason Bay went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. He actually had a "Little League homer" in his final at-bat -- Pence was charged with a four-base error for dropping the fly ball in right field.

It was the fourth four-base error score in Mets history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Bay joined Pagan (2009), Willie Montanez (1978) and Ron Hunt (1964).

Bay delivered a ground-rule double to right field in his second at-bat and scored on Ike Davis’ sacrifice fly.

Bay missed the second half of last season with a concussion, then suffered a rib-cage strain during batting practice on the second-to-last day of Grapefruit League play this year.

“The last week and a half of the spring, I felt great,” Bay said. “I was putting a lot of things together -- and then the impeccable timing of [getting injured] two days before the season starts. You have the whole end of the season, the whole offseason to get excited about getting back out there. And then to get derailed two days before, it was demoralizing for a couple of days. Then you realize what’s done is done and you get over it and you get back out there. I’m just happy to be standing right here, right now.”

HEAVE HO: Collins was ejected by plate umpire Doug Eddings in the top of the first inning. The first-year Mets skipper looked like he was asking to be tossed to jumpstart his team. Collins made a prolonged case that catcher Mike Nickeas had held onto a foul tip and a strikeout should have been awarded against the game’s second batter, Angel Sanchez.

Collins has now been ejected 22 times during parts of seven seasons as a major league manager. He was ejected five times in 1999, during his last year managing, with the Angels.

DEEP THOUGHTS: Nickeas made the most of what could be one of his final major league starts for a while. The backup catcher belted his first career homer, off Happ in the third inning, to open the game’s scoring.

Nickeas is due to be sent to Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday when the Mets plan to activate Ronny Paulino (anemia) from the disabled list. In his first day rehabbing with Buffalo on Thursday, Paulino caught 10 innings in Game 1 of a doubleheader and committed two errors. He served as DH in Game 2. He went a combined 0-for-6 with a walk.

CAPPER: Your move, Dillon Gee. With Chris Young poised to reenter the rotation Tuesday in Washington, Chris Capuano offered no reason to be dislodged from a starting role and to be used as a second left-hander in the bullpen. Capuano limited Houston to one run on six hits and two walks in seven innings. Gee pitches Saturday against the Diamondbacks at Citi Field.

K-ROD TRACKER: Francisco Rodriguez did not pitch. He has finished four of the Mets’ 19 games. Rodriguez needs to finish 51 of the Mets’ final 143 games for his contract to vest at $17.5 million for 2012.

WHAT’S NEXT: Arizona visits Citi Field for the weekend. Left-hander Joe Saunders (0-2, 6.32) opposes Mike Pelfrey. Facing a second straight southpaw, it will be interesting to see if Collins sticks with Turner and Nickeas or goes back to lefty hitters Josh Thole and Daniel Murphy. (Guess: Thole and Turner.)