On a day the Astros paid tribute to Mariano Rivera with a pregame ceremony, the Astros were hoping to do a little celebrating of their own.
But they weren’t in a celebrative mood after losing 5-1 to the Yankees in 14 innings on Sunday at Minute Maid Park, ending the 2013 season on a franchise-record 15-game losing streak. In Bo Porter’s first season as manager the Astros finished 51-111. On Sunday, Astros hitters struck out 19 times and wasted an outstanding pitching performance by starter Erik Bedard, who pitched seven scoreless innings. Reliever Lucas Harrell pitched four scoreless innings until Mark Reynolds led off the 14th with a tie-breaking home run in a four-run inning.
Bedard saved his best for last. What a performance in the season finale. The left-hander allowed only three hits and no walks in seven shutout innings. Bedard did hit two batters but was never in any trouble. Bedard threw 103 pitches, 69 for strikes.
David Huff was more than solid for the Yankees, in his brief five-inning stint. Huff allowed only a first-inning run and allowed only three hits and no walks. The left-hander struck out seven and threw only 71 pitches, 49 for strikes.
IN THE BULLPEN
Harrell (6-17) retired his first nine batters in order from the 10th through the 12th innings. The right-hander looked like the Harrell the Astros wished they had all season. With the go-ahead run at third base in the ninth inning Josh Fields struck out Brendan Ryan swinging for the third out, stranding David Adams, who had tripled off the right-field wall with two outs. Rhiner Cruz needed only one pitch to retire Vernon Wells for the third out of the eighth inning in a 1-1 game. Wells lined out softly to second baseman Jose Altuve.
Matt Daley (1-0) earned the win in relief, pitching two innings of hitless ball. Brett Marshall relieved Huff in the sixth inning and pitched two scoreless innings, allowing only one hit.
AT THE PLATE
The Astros managed only four hits, none after J.D. Martinez’s seventh-inning single. The Astros scored in the first on a Matt Dominguez single that scored Jonathan Villar, who led off the Houston first with a double off Huff. In the seventh inning the Astros had runners at first and second and no outs, before Marshall struck out Brandon Laird, Trevor Crowe and Carlos Corporan to end the inning.
Eduardo Nunez had three of New York’s 12 hits while Curtis Granderson, Brendan Ryan and Zoilo Almonte had two each. The Yankees tied the game 1-1 on a single by Granderson that scored Nunez from second base with two outs in the eighth inning.
IN THE FIELD
Harrell made a great play in the 13th inning, fielding a bunt with runners at first and second and throwing out the lead runner at third base for the first out. Harrell then retired the next two batters getting out of the inning unscathed.
As expected the series with the Yankees drew well, especially the final two days of the three-game series at Minute Maid Park. With New York’s Andy Pettitte pitching his final game in the major leagues, Saturday’s crowd was 37,199. Sunday’s season finale attracted a crowd of 40,542 as the Astros held a pregame ceremony for Rivera.