HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Astros had no idea how to explain their sizzling start.
Richard Hidalgo hit a three-run double and Houston jumped out to the biggest first inning in franchise history, scoring nine runs Thursday night in an 11-2 victory over the slumping Cincinnati Reds."If we knew what we were doing, we would do it every night," Craig Biggio said."To score that many runs in one inning without hitting a home run is hard to do. Tonight was something special."Houston sent the Reds to their eighth straight loss and outscored them 36-8 during a four-game sweep.Biggio hit his 500th career double in the fourth inning, becoming the first Astros player to reach the milestone."When you play 15 years, you are going to have some good things happen," Biggio said. "It was special to have it happen at home in front of the fans of the only organization I have ever played for. I still enjoy the game as much as I did when I started playing."Biggio is the 40th major leaguer to reach the mark."That is quite an achievement for anyone -- especially to do it in one uniform," Houston manager Jimy Williams said. "He's been a special player here and still is."Geoff Blum had two hits in the first inning, including a two-run single. Jeff Bagwell, Brad Ausmus and Adam Everett added RBI singles as the Astros chased Paul Wilson before he got an out."It was a combination of a lot of things for me -- luck, finesse and being in good situations," Blum said.It was the most runs for the Astros in any inning since they scored nine in the sixth at Pittsburgh on Sept. 8, 1999. The most runs Houston has ever scored in an inning is 12 against Philadelphia in the eighth on May 31, 1975."Scoring those nine runs in the first inning got contagious. Everybody was hitting," Williams said.Ron Villone (1-0) got the victory, pitching six innings and giving up two runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out two.Ricky Stone got his first save of the season with three innings of hitless relief.Biggio started Houston's first inning by reaching base on a throwing error by shortstop Ray Olmedo and moving to second on a single by Blum. Bagwell drove in Biggio with a single, and a walk to Lance Berkman loaded the bases for Hidalgo, who hit a three-run double.After a single by Morgan Ensberg, Hidalgo scored on a single by Ausmus and Everett drove in Ensberg with a single to bring on John Riedling in relief of Wilson (5-6).After a single by Biggio, Blum's single scored Ausmus and Everett. A walk to Bagwell loaded the bases and a walk to Berkman scored Biggio."They weren't crushing them, but after the opening error, they were hitting them where they ain't," Cincinnati manager Bob Boone said.Wilson gave up eight runs, seven earned, on six hits, walked one and threw one wild pitch. He is the second Cincinnati starting pitcher this season to fail to retire a hitter. The other was Jeff Austin on May 23 against Florida."It kind of snowballed on me. I was up in the zone, and they hit me hard," Wilson said. "I feel I was aggressive, but their guys put the bat on the ball. This has never happened before, and I hope it never happens again."Ken Griffey Jr. homered for the third straight game against Houston to cut the lead to 9-1 in the second.The Astros added two runs in the third on RBI singles by Bagwell and Berkman.The Reds scored in the sixth on an RBI single by Jose Guillen.
It is Cincinnati's longest losing streak since dropping eight in a row in June 2002. The Reds haven't lost more than eight straight since losing 11 in 1998. ... Blum extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games. ... Cincinnati has committed a major league-worst 86 errors this season. The Reds have made at least one error in 59 of their 90 games. ... Cincinnati starters gave up a total of 14 runs in the first inning of the last two games against Houston. Danny Graves gave up six Wednesday.