Astros 7, Reds 5

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HOUSTON (AP)—In desperate need of a boost, the Houston Astros found it Thursday night in an emotional come-from-behind win over the Cincinnati Reds.

Luke Scott hit a go-ahead, two-run double in a three-run eighth inning to give Houston the 7-5 victory. The Astros, losers of nine of their previous 12, took two of three for their first series win since sweeping two games at Cincinnati on April 18-19.

“There are wins that can be a little bit more motivational than others,” Houston’s Mark Loretta said. “Tonight when they took the lead there was a little bit of a deflation for a while. To come back and snatch that game back is good. It counts for one win just like the others, but emotionally I think it’s a little bit bigger.”

With the Reds ahead 5-4, pinch-hitters Mike Lamb and Loretta hit back-to-back singles off Mike Stanton (1-1) with one out in the eighth, and Scott doubled to left-center for a 6-5 lead. Craig Biggio followed with an RBI double, his 2,957th hit.

“It was good for confidence,” Biggio said. “The way we have not been scoring a lot of runs lately, to lose a lead and then to be able to come back again was a good confidence boost for us.”

The Astros overcame Ken Griffey’s 566th homer for the win. Dan Wheeler got three outs for his fifth save in six chances, inducing Griffey to ground into a game-ending double play with two on.

Stanton, who gave up three runs for the second time in four appearances, said his performance was “completely disgusting.”

“We battled back and there’s no excuses,” he said. “A major league pitcher is supposed to go out and get the job done, and I just simply didn’t do it.”

Chad Qualls (3-1) inherited a 4-2 lead in the eighth from Wandy Rodriguez but walked Ryan Freel, then allowed Brandon Phillips’ triple and Griffey tying single. With Jeff Conine batting, Griffey stole second and advanced to third on an error by catcher Brad Ausmus, who overthrew second base. Conine followed with a sacrifice fly.

The stolen base was Griffey’s first since April 18, 2004. Griffey said he almost couldn’t believe it when first base coach Billy Hatcher sent him to second.

“He said go. I did a double take,” Griffey said.

Rodriguez, 0-3 in five starts, struck out a career-high eight and allowed two runs, six hits and no walks in seven innings.

“Wandy was outstanding,” Astros manager Phil Garner said. “I’m so pleased with what he’s doing.”

Rodriguez said he thought this was the best outing of his career.

“I threw the pitches I needed to throw where I wanted to throw them,” he said in Spanish through an interpreter.

Reds starter Eric Milton gave up four runs—three earned—and seven hits in five innings. Milton, who has a 4.85 ERA, avoided becoming the first Reds pitcher to lose his first five starts since Joey Jay in 1963.

Griffey hit his second homer in three days in the first inning. Rodriguez retired the next seven batters and 15 of the next 17. At one point, the 28-year-old struck out five in a row. Griffey singled in the sixth before Rodriguez struck out Conine to end the inning.

Houston took a 3-1 lead in the first when Carlos Lee hit a two-run double and rookie Hunter Pence had an RBI single. Morgan Ensberg added an RBI double in the fourth.

David Ross cut Cincinnati’s deficit to 4-2 with an RBI double in the seventh.

Notes

Houston reliever Rick White, who strained a muscle in his left side while warming up to pitch last week, will make rehab appearances on Saturday and Monday at Double-A Corpus Christi. … Houston’s Adam Everett is 0-for-11 in the last three games. … Phillips extended his hitting streak to a season-high seven games.

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