Bo Porter after Astros' final game of 2013
The Astros have lost just about every way imaginable. In a season that numbered 111 losses, against only 51 wins, that would more than likely be the case.
On Sunday, the Astros got outstanding pitching from starter Erik Bedard and from the relievers. But the hitters failed to deliver, inning after inning.
Finally the Yankees broke through with a four-run inning in extra innings to beat the Astros 5-1 in 14 innings, extending the club’s franchise-record losing streak to 15 games in their final game of the season.
“I felt we were actually going to pull it out,” said Astros manager Bo Porter. “Offensively, we just could not muster anything.”
The Astros managed only a first-inning run off New York starter David Huff, when Jonathan Villar, who led off the inning with a double, scored on a Matt Dominguez single. The last of Houston’s four hits came in the seventh inning on a single by J.D. Martinez, which placed runners at first and second and no outs.
Houston batters struck out a season-high 19 times with all but one of New York’s seven pitchers getting a strikeout.
Bedard pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing only three hits and no walks with nine strikeouts.
The way the Astros were pitching, one more Houston run would have been beneficial. Instead it was the Yankees, who broke through with the four-run 14th inning. The Yankees broke the tie with Mark Reynolds’ leadoff home run in the inning off Lucas Harrell (6-17), who until the 14th, had pitched four scoreless innings, including retiring the side in order his first three innings.
New York added three more runs in the 14th on a two-run double by Eduardo Nunez, who had three of New York’s 12 hits, off Harrell and a run-scoring single by J.R. Murphy off Jorge De Leon that scored Nunez.
“It was tough today,” said Dominguez. “We had some chances.”
Chris Carter, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, knew the Astros let a good opportunity to win slip away.
“It’s always tough to lose like that,” said Carter, who led the club with 29 home runs and 82 RBIs. “It’s a big learning experience by everybody.”
Reynolds’ 21st home run of the season was 413 feet to left-center and positioned Matt Daley (1-0) to get the win.
“A guy like Mark Reynolds can change the game with one swing,” said Porter. “He put a good swing on it. I told Lucas that, after I went to the mound to get the ball, ‘do not let this one inning spoil your day because you did an outstanding job. You kept the game right here and gave us an opportunity.’ “
Unfortunately for the Astros, they’ll have the offseason to deal with the lingering effects of a 15-game losing streak to end the season.
The Astros were hopeful of playing the spoiler role in the final two weeks, but they were swept in a three-game series with Cincinnati, a four-game series at Cleveland, and a three-game series at Texas during the 15-game losing streak.
“Obviously, you’d have liked to have played better as far as the record goes,” said Porter. “I give (our) guys credit. Even these last 15 games, they come to the park, they toe it up every day. They didn’t bow down to anyone of these teams.
“We made some mistakes that made it a little harder on ourselves. But the other teams played us pretty well. There’s a reason why those teams are actually in the playoffs or on the brink of making the playoffs. It’s because they’re really good ballclubs.”