HOUSTON (AP) - Not much has gone right for the Houston Astros during their current losing streak.
But after overcoming an early six-run deficit to take the lead Saturday night, it looked as though they were finally headed to a win.
Instead, the Cincinnati Reds answered with four more runs to hand the Astros their eighth straight loss, 12-9.
For the third time in four games, Houston allowed more than 10 runs.
Cincinnati set a season high for runs thanks in part to a rare bad start from Wandy Rodriguez, who entered with a 2.49 ERA.
Rodriguez had his worst start in nearly three years, allowing nine runs - seven earned - and nine hits, including four homers, in five innings. It was the most runs he had allowed since Aug. 14, 2009, when he gave up 10 in a loss to Milwaukee.
The nine runs were also the most he had ever given up in 24 starts against the Reds.
``I missed a lot of my locations,' Rodriguez said. ``It's hard to pitch when you feel like I felt today.'
His struggles were a continuation of his previous start in Colorado, when he allowed 10 hits and seven runs in a five-inning no-decision.
But despite two rough innings in which Rodriguez allowed eight runs, the offense had him in line for a win after the fourth. The Astros trailed 8-2 at the start of the third inning but mounted a comeback with a three-run third and four-run fourth.
``These guys have done such a great job of battling back,' Astros manager Brad Mills said. ``They put themselves in a position to win a game. When you come back from a deficit like that, that shows a lot of heart.'
Drew Stubbs homered and drove in four runs for Cincinnati, and Joey Votto went 4 for 4 with a home run and a walk. Todd Frazier and Ryan Ludwick also went deep for the Reds.
Brandon Phillips doubled in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning and added two RBIs in the eighth.
The Astros scored their first runs when Jose Altuve hit a one-out single before Jed Lowrie's ninth home run got Houston within 3-2 in the bottom of the first.
Altuve reached on an error with one out in the third before a double by Lowrie. Altuve scored on a groundout by J.D. Martinez before Chris Johnson drew a two-out walk. A double by Fernando Martinez drove in two to cut Cincinnati's lead to 8-5. The hit bounced off the wall in left field near the yellow line and was reviewed, but the original call was upheld.
Reds starter Mat Latos finally got out of the inning when Matt Downs grounded out.
Latos allowed seven hits and seven runs - four earned - in a season-low 3 1-3 innings.
Jason Castro doubled in the fourth and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Rodriguez. Jordan Schafer's RBI single chased Latos and got Houston within 8-6. He was replaced by J.J. Hoover, who allowed a single by Altuve and walked Lowrie to load the bases.
J.D. Martinez's single sent Schafer and Altuve home and tied it 8-all. Drew Stubbs' throw to third was offline and Lowrie tried to score, but was thrown out by Todd Frazier.
Johnson's single, which fell just in front of Chris Heisey, scored J.D. Martinez and gave Houston its first lead. But the Astros didn't stay on top for long - Ludwick's shot to start the fifth tied it at 9.
Astros reliever Fernando Rodriguez (1-6) allowed two hits and a run in the sixth. Sam LeCure (1-1) worked two scoreless innings for the win and Aroldis Chapman got his fifth save.
Mills was optimistic about the Astros debut of outfielder Fernando Martinez, who was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City before the game. He went 1 for 5 with a two-run double.
``When he makes contact, there's some giddy-up off the bat, and that's an exciting thing,' Mills said.
NOTES: The Astros placed OF Travis Buck on the 15-day disabled list with right Achilles tendinitis. Buck's time on the DL is backdated to Friday. ... After the game, the Astros optioned Downs to Oklahoma City and recalled starting pitcher Jordan Lyles, who will start Sunday against Bronson Arroyo. . Mills said 1B Carlos Lee is day to day after straining his left hamstring Friday night. Mills said he was concerned about the injury, but the team would wait to see if Lee is better in a couple of days.
The Associated Press News Service
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