HOUSTON – The Houston Astros lamented their missed chances after going 3 for 21 with runners in scoring position in a 6-5, 13-inning loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.
Jay Bruce's two-run double in the 13th inning helped the Reds to the victory.
"Whenever you play this many innings you can go back inning by inning and I'm pretty sure you can find different opportunities that you could come away with a big hit here or a big hit there and the outcome would probably be different," Houston manager Bo Porter said.
Rookie base-stealing specialist Billy Hamilton of the Reds got his first three career hits, had four steals, an RBI and scored the go-ahead run in his first major league start.
Hamilton walked to start the 13th and stole second before Shin-Soo Choo walked. They advanced on a wild pitch before Jorge De Leon (0-1) intentionally walked Joey Votto with one out.
Bruce's third double of the game bounced off the wall in center field to send Hamilton and Choo home. Bruce, who is from nearby Beaumont, Texas, had seven hits and 10 RBIs in the series to give him 103 RBIs this season.
Alfredo Simon (6-4) pitched three scoreless innings for Cincinnati. Aroldis Chapman allowed a hit and a run in the 13th, but struck out Chris Carter to end the 5-hour, 18-minute game for his 37th save.
Brandon Barnes hit a solo homer and Carlos Corporan drove in two runs for Houston.
The Reds led early, but Houston tied it 4-4 with a two-run sixth.
Hamilton, who set a professional record with 155 steals in the minors last year, is the first player since 1920 to have four steals in his first major league start, according to stats provided by the Reds from the Elias Sports Bureau. He is the first Red with four steals in a game since Felipe Lopez in May 2006, and finished one steal shy of the team record. The 23-year-old is 9 for 9 on stolen base attempts.
The Astros were impressed with Hamilton.
"Four stolen bases and we weren't even close," Houston catcher Corporan said. "We even pitched out and he steals on the pitcher and the catcher. He's one of a kind."
Chris Carter and L.J. Hoes hit consecutive singles with one out in the 12th, but Simon retired the next two batters to send it to the 13th.
The Astros had a shot to win it in the 11th. Barnes singled to start the inning and took second on a sacrifice bunt by Jonathan Villar. Cincinnati intentionally walked Jose Altuve before a single by Trevor Crowe.
But Altuve got caught in a rundown and was out on the play before Marc Krauss struck out to end the inning. Porter was particularly unhappy about Altuve's baserunning blunder.
"That's baserunning 101," Porter said. "You have the winning run in front of you. You just stop at the next base. It's really that simple and I can't quantify it any other way."
Bruce got things going for the Reds with an RBI double to right field to give them a 1-0 lead in the first. A sacrifice fly by Ryan Ludwick extended the lead to 2-0.
Hamilton collected his first hit with a double with two outs in the second inning. Hamilton scored on a single by Choo to leave Cincinnati up 3-0.
Barnes cut the lead to 3-1 with a solo homer which bounced off the low wall in right field to start the bottom of the third.
Hamilton hit a two-out single in the fourth and stole second. He had made five appearances as a pinch runner and two as a defensive replacement since his promotion on Sept. 2 before starting in center field on Wednesday night.
A bases-loaded one-out sacrifice fly by Corporan got Houston within 3-2 in the fourth inning.
Hamilton hit a two-out grounder down the right field line bounced off third base for an RBI single to extend the lead to 4-2 in the sixth. He stole second base in that inning.
Pinch-hitter Hoes greeted reliever Manny Parra with an RBI double to cut the lead to 4-3 in the sixth. Corporan followed with a run-scoring double to tie it and end Parra's night.
NOTES: The Reds have a day off on Thursday before opening a series against NL-Central foe Pittsburgh on Friday with Mat Latos scheduled to pitch against Francisco Liriano. ... Dallas Keuchel is set to pitch for the Astros when they begin a four-game series at Cleveland on Thursday. ... Votto went 0 for 4 with three walks to snap a 23-game hitting streak at Minute Maid Park, which was the longest by any player in the park's history.