ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Craig Biggio’s 2,996th career hit was a tiebreaking RBI double in the 10th inning as the Houston Astros got a wild 12-9 victory against the Texas Rangers to avoid a series sweep.
After the Astros bullpen blew another save — allowing six runs in the eighth and ninth innings — Biggio’s one-out hustling double scored Morgan Ensberg, who led off the 10th with a single off C.J. Wilson (0-1). Biggio scored on a single by Lance Berkman, who had a three-run homer in the first.
Biggio finished 3-for-5 with a walk, getting the 41-year-old second baseman within four hits of becoming only the 27th player with 3,000. The double was the 658th of his career, sixth-most on the career list and the most by a right-handed hitter.
Dan Wheeler (1-4) pitched two innings, allowing three home runs in a span of seven batters. Chad Qualls pitched the 10th for his second save in four chances.
Astros rookie center fielder Hunter Pence finished his first big-league series in his hometown going 4-for-6 with a homer. He scored four runs, including the last one for Houston on a grounder.
Houston relievers have blown 13 of 25 save chances, this time by giving up a four-run eighth inning after rookie starter Chris Sampson scattered five hits and allowed three runs.
Sampson left with a 7-3 lead after the seventh inning, throwing 67 of 96 pitches for strikes.
Rich White allowed singles to the only two batters he faced to start the eighth before Wheeler, the closer again with Brad Lidge on the disabled list, struck out Michael Young. But Sammy Sosa then hit a two-run single and Frank Catalanotto, a .192 hitter, hit a two-run homer to tie the game at 7.
After Loretta’s two-run double in the ninth put Houston up, Wheeler gave up a homer to pinch-hitter Marlon Byrd on the first pitch in the bottom of the frame and Ian Kinsler tied the game with a two-out homer — his 14th of the season.
Pence led off the ninth with a double off Eric Gagne, the Rangers closer who allowed only one run his first 21 appearances. Pence leads all NL rookies with a .353 average (73-for-207) and 35 RBIs in his 50 games since being called up April 27. He has eight homers.