“We stunk” was Scraps Garner’s frank assessment after the Astros were blanked, 3-0 last night by Pittsburgh’s Paul Maholm, who in tossing his first career complete game shutout, handed Houston their 4th straight defeat at the hands of the Pirates. Never fear, Astros fans, “once Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee both start to hit, the Astros will score plenty of runs,” promises the Chronicle’s Richard Justice.

Don’t pull the plug our the Local Nine yet. The Astros will score runs. If Jason Jennings returns and if Troy Patton or one of the kids establish themselves, the pitching might be adequate, too. And then again, the Texans might win 14 games and Jeff Van Gundy may be a stand-up comedian next fall.

Come to think of it, here’s a scenario. How about the Astros stay around .500 for half a season and then bring both Hunter Pence and Troy Patton up to start the second half of the season? They could energize a clubhouse and a city, not to mention a press box. If you’ve ever sat beside Brian McTaggart, you’ll look anyplace you can for energy.

The afternoon after the Rockies failed to provide Aaron Cook with any run support against the Mets, Colorado teed off on New York starter Mike Pelfrey and designated mop up man Aaron Sele, banging out 20 hits in an 11-5 rout at Shea. Willy Tavares had his first 5 hit day, while on the hosts’ side of the stat-padding, Jose Reyes gained his first hits of the series with a 4 for 5 (two doubles) afternoon, and Shawn Green — the living argument for bringing the DH to the senior circuit — knocked in 3 runs with a 6th inning triple. At the moment, the Mets’ problems with the 5th spot in the rotation seem less worrisome than David Wright’s inability to emerge from a slow start. Wright is 2 for his last 22 at bats, and rumor has it, Dr. Jae Rock Lee has turned his attentions to David Newhan.

It’s kind of nice so many school kids attended today’s Mets matinee, especially because this gave them a chance to ask their teachers such important questions as “how is John Mabry still in the big leagues?” and “is Clint Hurdle’s entire career the most glaring example of the Sports Illustrated cover jinx?”

I think it is fair to say the headline “Prior Out For Season” will surprise absolutey no one. Nor should Ben Sheets’ latest injury come as a shock considering the conditions at Wrigley today. But at least Derek Lee busted out — his production will catch up with that of John Mabry pretty soon, I reckon.