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Houston (8-6) «0000101518110
Cincinnati (8-8)300030000682

Astros' big eighth-inning rally derails Reds for second straight game

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CINCINNATI -- Same inning. Same rally. Same disbelief for the Reds.

Luke Scott hit a bases-loaded double to highlight another eighth-inning rally, and the Houston Astros completed a two-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds with a bookend 8-6 victory on Thursday night.

"It's hard to believe you could have back-to-back nights where you give up five runs in the eighth inning," Reds manager Jerry Narron said.

The Astros believed it the entire time.

They scored five runs in the eighth inning for a 7-2 victory on Wednesday night, with Jason Lane's three-run homer leading the way. That was still fresh in their minds when they headed into the eighth trailing 6-2 this time around.

"In any situation, whenever you come back like that, it's positive energy," Scott said. "It builds confidence for everybody."

Manager Phil Garner could sense it, too.

"There was a feeling like we were in the ballgame," Garner said.

Lance Berkman started the comeback sequel with a run-scoring single -- his 100th career RBI against the Reds -- and the Astros loaded the bases against closer David Weathers (0-2), who was summoned early with the game slipping away.

Weathers hadn't blown a save chance all season. The Reds made two errors behind him in the eighth to help this one get away.

"That's the way it's going right now," said starter Bronson Arroyo, who left after the seventh with a 6-2 lead.

Scott, who had homered in the seventh, drove a ball to the wall in right-center field to score three runs for a 6-all tie. Scott later scored on Morgan Ensberg's sacrifice fly, which brought a cascade of boos from the crowd of 14,222.

Lane added a solo homer in the ninth, the first pinch-hit homer by an Astro this season.

Brad Lidge (1-0) got the victory with one inning in relief of Woody Williams. Dan Wheeler pitched a perfect ninth for his third save in four chances.

Houston has won seven of eight, including back-to-back rallies against a bullpen that hadn't given up a late lead all season.

Until the eighth-inning meltdown, the fans were reveling in Josh Hamilton's latest feats. He added a curtain call to his inspiring comeback story, hitting a three-run homer for a 6-1 lead after five innings.

During spring training, Hamilton was a curiosity. The former No. 1 overall draft pick was out of baseball for more than three years while fighting through alcohol and drug addiction.

Three weeks into the season, he's a Cincinnati sensation. The 25-year-old outfielder has a team-high five homers in only 30 at-bats, forcing Narron to find a place for him in the lineup every day.

"He's a feel-good story," said right-hander Woody Williams, who gave up the homer. "It's going to be hard not to root for this guy to put a solid season in, on and off the field."

Brandon Phillips also homered for the second time in the two-game series, and Arroyo turned a tidy lead over to the bullpen in the eighth. The Reds have lost all of Arroyo's four starts this season.

Williams, who got a two-year, $12.5 million deal to pitch for his hometown team last November, also failed to get a win for the fourth time. The 40-year-old pitcher has been hit hard with Houston, posting a 6.55 ERA.

"I'm going through a rough stretch right now," Williams said.

Both teams took a few moments to honor Vern Ruhle before the game. Ruhle pitched for the Astros and was the Reds' pitching coach when he got cancer last year. He died from complications in January.

A replica jersey was unveiled above the Reds' bullpen in center field. Ruhle's widow, Sue, threw a ceremonial pitch to Cincinnati right-hander Aaron Harang, who gave her a warm hug afterward.

Notes

  • RHP Matt Albers makes his season debut and his third career start in Milwaukee on Friday. Albers was called up from Triple-A when RHP Jason Jennings went on the 15-day DL on Monday with a sore elbow.
  • Ensberg's double in the fifth extended his hitting streak to seven games.
  • The Astros are 5-1 on the road, their best such start since they won seven of their first eight road games in 2004.
  • Reds LHP Mike Stanton made his 1,118th career appearance, leaving him one behind John Franco for second place on the career list. Jesse Orosco holds the record at 1,252.
  • Hamilton started in RF for Ken Griffey Jr., who was sick.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Luke Scott makes a diving catch in the fifth and adds a bases-loaded double in the eighth for Houston.  (AP)
Luke Scott makes a diving catch in the fifth and adds a bases-loaded double in the eighth for Houston. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cincinnati

J. Hamilton
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
Houston

L. Scott
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 4
 
Houston Astros
Chris Burke, CF5020021 .222
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
Mark Loretta, 2B5110012 .278
Lance Berkman, 1B5121000 .213
Carlos Lee, LF5100012 .296
Luke Scott, RF3224100 .270
Morgan Ensberg, 3B3111000 .283
Adam Everett, SS4020011 .286
Humberto Quintero, C4000021 .154
Woody Williams, P2000010 .111
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
   a- Craig Biggio, PH0100100 .237
    Trever Miller, P0000000 .000
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
   b- Jason Lane, PH-CF1111000 .261
Totals37811728  
a-walked for Lidge in the 8th
b-homered for Qualls in the 9th
Batting
2B - Chris Burke (6, Arroyo), Luke Scott (4, Weathers), Morgan Ensberg (3, Arroyo)
HR - Luke Scott (2, Arroyo), Jason Lane (4, Coutlangus)
SF - Morgan Ensberg (1)
RBI - Lance Berkman (5), Luke Scott 4 (10), Morgan Ensberg (6), Jason Lane (9)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Williams-Everett-Loretta, Ensberg-Loretta-Berkman
Houston Astros
Woody Williams 6766322 6.55
Brad Lidge (W,1-0) 1100010 5.79
Trever Miller (H,2) 0.1000000 7.71
Chad Qualls (H,3) 0.2000010 2.35
Dan Wheeler (S,3) 1000010 4.50
Pitches-Strikes - Woody Williams 97-54, Brad Lidge 7-4, Trever Miller 2-1, Chad Qualls 7-5, Dan Wheeler 9-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Woody Williams 6-9, Brad Lidge 1-0, Chad Qualls 1-0, Dan Wheeler 1-1
Batters Faced - Woody Williams 27, Brad Lidge 3, Trever Miller 1, Chad Qualls 2, Dan Wheeler 3
Cincinnati Reds
Ryan Freel, CF3210110 .302
Adam Dunn, LF3110121 .317
    Kirk Saarloos, P0000000 .000
    Mike Stanton, P0000000 .000
    David Weathers, P0000000 .000
    Jon Coutlangus, P0000000 .000
Brandon Phillips, 2B4112003 .226
Josh Hamilton, RF4223000 .333
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B4000011 .167
Scott Hatteberg, 1B4011000 .270
Alex Gonzalez, SS4010001 .286
David Ross, C2010101 .121
   a- Juan Castro, PH1000010 .111
Bronson Arroyo, P3000002 .100
    Norris Hopper, LF1000000 .000
Totals3368635  
a-struck out for Ross in the 9th
Batting
2B - Josh Hamilton (2, Williams), Scott Hatteberg (1, Williams)
HR - Brandon Phillips (4, Williams), Josh Hamilton (5, Williams)
RBI - Brandon Phillips 2 (9), Josh Hamilton 3 (11), Scott Hatteberg (6)
2-OUT RBI - Josh Hamilton 3 (4), Scott Hatteberg (2)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - B. Phillips-A. Gonzalez-Hatteberg
E - Alex Gonzalez (2, Misplayed grounder), Brandon Phillips (1, Throwing)
Cincinnati Reds
Bronson Arroyo 7522141 3.25
Kirk Saarloos 0.1122110 4.70
Mike Stanton0111000 1.69
David Weathers (BS,1; L,0-2) 0.2120010 2.25
Jon Coutlangus 1311021 5.06
Pitches-Strikes - Bronson Arroyo 96-64, Kirk Saarloos 16-6, Mike Stanton 7-5, David Weathers 24-16, Jon Coutlangus 23-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bronson Arroyo 4-12, David Weathers 1-1
Batters Faced - Bronson Arroyo 26, Kirk Saarloos 3, Mike Stanton 1, David Weathers 4, Jon Coutlangus 6
Game Information
Attendance - 14222
Game Time - 2:38
Temperature - 58
Umpires - Home - Jerry Meals, First Base - Bruce Dreckman, Second Base - Gary Darling, Third Base - Larry Poncino