The Reds already had their three game series with the Astros won with two victories before Wednesday, but the goal was to get out of Houston with a sweep against a ballclub who has 100 losses .
It took an eternity to complete the game in five hours and 18 minutes, several missed chances before the Reds cashed in late. A 6-5 victory over Houston in 13 innings on Jay Bruce‘s third double of the game, a two run variety, while Billy Hamilton reached five times and stole four bases in his first big league start.
The second-place Pirates dropped their third straight game to the Padres while the Cardinals beat the Rockies to keep the Reds 2 1/2 games out of first place and a half-game behind Pittsburgh, the Reds now a season-high 21 games over .500 at 87-66 will open a huge three game series on Friday against the Pirates in Pittsburgh after a day off.
A Washington Nationals loss to the Braves put the Reds magic number to clinch the second NL Wild Card spot at five.
A stretch of 6 2/3 innings of scoreless relief for the bullpen after Manny Parra allowed two runs in the sixth, Reds reliever Alfredo Simon came through for a victory with three innings of outstanding relief work.
Simon, who pitched three innings on Monday, escaped a big threat in the 12th. Chris Carter hit a single to right field, followed by another single. Simon got a strike out and fly out to end the threat.
In the top of the 13th, Hamilton reached for the fifth time by drawing his second walk of the game. Hamilton then got his fourth steal of the night by taking second, despite a pitch out, and became the first player to record four steals in his first start.
Shin-Soo Choo walked before a wild pitch to the bunting Brandon Phillips moved both runners. The infield was in when Phillips grounded out to third and Joey Votto‘s intentional walk loaded the bases.
Bruce came through by driving the ball to deep left center that score Hamilton and Choo to give him three RBIs for the game and the team lead with 104 RBIs.
Aroldis Chapman pitched the bottom of the 13th with some drama as he walked two batters and gave up a hit and a run. But Chapman struck out Carter on a 103 MPH fastball to end the game for his 37th save.
Earlier, Reds jumped in front 3-0 after two innings and 4-2 in the sixth, but couldn’t hold on to them.
A golden chance to take the lead back was blown by the Reds with a 4-4 score in the top of the ninth. A Relievers from the Astros walked his first two batters Hamilton and Choo on eight pitches without throwing a strike.
To avoid a double play, Phillips attempted a sacrifice bunt. The bunt was perfect, but the first baseman Carter’s throw hit Phillips in the helmet as he hustled along the inside of the running lane. Phillips was ruled out on interference and both runners remained at first and second. First-pitch swinging as Hamilton attempted to steal again, Votto flied out to center field. Hamilton was able to tag up and take third base.
Bruce was intentionally walked to load the bases for Ryan Ludwick, who went to 3-0 before being called out on strikes to end the inning.
Reds were 4-for-20 with runners in scoring position and stranded 15 on base.
It was a 4-2 Reds lead when Ondrusek gave up a one-out double to Carter before exiting in the sixth. Then Parra took over and the Astros countered with three consecutive doubles to tie the game. The Reds play the Pirates in start of a huge three game set beginning tomorrow night at Pittsburgh. It will be aces on the mound for both teams Mat Latos and Francisco Liriano. First pitch is at 7:05pm.