HOUSTON -- The Mets' pitching staff issued eight walks in a 6-3 loss on Tuesday, the second most it has allowed in a game this year. Over the last five games, Mets pitchers have allowed 22 walks.

New York ranks seventh in the Majors with 82 walks and has issued four bases-loaded free passes this season, including one during Tuesday's game. That and the home runs given up by Mets pitching, including two on Tuesday, are a concern to manager Terry Collins.

"You just can't put people on and expect to win a Major League baseball game," Collins said. "It's just going to come back to burn you."

Collins added that execution is the big cause for the 25 long balls the staff has yielded so far this season.

"One of the reasons is that we're leaving a lot of balls in the middle of the plate," Collins said. "We're not making pitches we need to make."

Mets catcher Josh Thole said that despite six walks issued by the bullpen on Tuesday, the trio of relievers threw the ball well in combining for five innings of work. Miguel Batista worked 2 2/3 innings and Ramon Ramirez tossed 1 1/3 before Jon Rauch pitched the final frame.

Thole said Ramirez, in particular, had excellent movement on his pitches.

"[On Tuesday], I thought he came in and did a good job," Thole said. "Some guys didn't bite at the pitches like they do a lot of times."

He said both Ramirez and Batista had good stuff.

"When you're pitching with that much action on the ball, both of those guys, their pitches take off in any direction," Thole said. "When you have that kind of movement, it makes it tough. And that's why they miss a lot of barrels."

Mets play final NL matchup in Houston

HOUSTON -- The Mets and Astros both entered the National League in 1962. Wednesday marked the final time the two teams will meet at Minute Maid Park as National League opponents.

Manager Terry Collins, who held the same position in Houston from 1994-96, said that considering the infrequency with which the teams play now, it won't be that strange not to be facing the Astros in the future.

"If we played them more, the answer would be, 'Yes.' But when you only play them home-and-home, not really," Collins said. "It's almost like doing an Interleague game.

"It's a little different than it once was, when you played everybody a couple of times each."

Tejada getting settled in two-hole

HOUSTON -- While Ruben Tejada hit at the top of the batting order on Wednesday, the Mets shortstop is beginning to settle into the No. 2 spot.

"That's where he is until we get everybody back," manager Terry Collins said. "The way he's been swinging the bat, I don't want to mess up the top of the order, those first four guys."

Tejada is making a believer out of Collins in that role.

"Yeah, the way he's been handling the bat lately, going the other way so much, he's done a great job," Collins said. "And if we make a switch in the leadoff spot, where we think Andres [Torres] brings more to us ... he's the kind of guy that can take some pitches and let Andres steal a base."

Tejada hit .588 (10-for-17) during the recent series at Colorado, the first Mets player to have 10 or more hits in a three-game series since Edgardo Alfonzo did it at Colorado, April 28-30, 2000.

During Wednesday's game, Tejada went 3-for-4 with two doubles to raise his average to .305.