Errors doom Reds as Astros rally from 4 down

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Time is running out on Craig Biggio's career, but he's still got some clutch hitting left in him.

The 19-year Houston veteran, who is retiring this season after reaching 3,000 career hits, drove in the go-ahead run in the first game of his last career visit to Cincinnati as the Astros rallied from a four-run deficit to beat the Reds 8-5 on Friday night.

"There's no doubt about it," said the 41-year-old Biggio, who likely made the last road start of his career. "It's pretty special."

"He's a fun guy to be with," interim Houston manager Cecil Cooper said. "Now I can say I was his manager."

Hunter Pence homered and the Astros got help from two Cincinnati errors to send the Reds to their third consecutive loss.

Biggio drove in two runs, including the go-ahead run-scoring single that snapped a tie with Rickey Henderson for 20th place on the career hit list.

"I'm in the top 20," said Biggio, who now has 3,056 hits, 26 shy of No. 19 Cap Anson, who had 3,081. "I know I won't go lower than that. That's pretty good company."

The Astros capitalized on third baseman Edwin Encarnacion's two-out error of J.R. Towles' routine grounder to score two runs and take a 6-5 lead in the sixth.

Left-hander Jon Coutlangus (4-2), brought in to face left-handed hitting Luke Scott, gave up back-to-back singles by Scott and left-hander Josh Anderson that tied the game. Biggio followed with an opposite-field single off right-hander Gary Majewski to drive in Scott and give right-hander Felipe Paulino his first career win in his second start.

Pence added his 16th homer in the seventh and an RBI single in the ninth.

Paulino (1-1) gave up five runs over the first two innings before settling down. He allowed eight hits and five runs with one walk and two strikeouts.

"I was so happy," Paulino said. "Early in the game, my ball would stay up. After that, I made an adjustment."

Dave Borkowski and Chad Qualls combined for three innings of shutout relief, and Brad Lidge struck out Joey Votto with the bases loaded in the ninth for his 17th save in 24 opportunities.

Homer Bailey was the victim of a blown save for the third time in eight major-league starts. The rookie allowed three hits and four runs with two walks and five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

"I'm not super-positive about it, but I'm not going to take a negative out of it," said Bailey, Cincinnati's No. 1 pick and the seventh overall selection in the June 2004 draft.

The Astros took a 1-0 lead in the first without a hit. Bailey opened the game by hitting Anderson, who stole second and went to third on a passed ball before scoring on Biggio's sacrifice fly.

Votto tied the game with a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the first, his third homer since joining the Reds after Triple-A Louisville's season ended earlier this month. The Reds took a 5-1 lead in the second on back-to-back two-run doubles by Bailey and Norris Hopper.

The Astros made it 5-2 in the third on Biggio's one-out walk, Bailey's wild pitch and Lance Berkman's double to left, and took advantage of a Reds error to add two unearned runs in the fourth.

Votto was charged with a two-base error when he and shortstop Jeff Keppinger let Ty Wigginton's fly ball drop between them. One out later, Wigginton scored on Towles' double. Towles beat Keppinger's throw to third on Paulino's grounder, setting up Anderson's sacrifice fly.

"Pitching and defense," Reds manager Pete Mackanin said. "We got good pitching, but our defense let us down. Making plays like that is part of being an outfielder. We wanted to get a look at him, and we're getting a look at him. We have to know if he's capable of playing out there."

Game notes
The start of the game was delayed 12 minutes by rain ... The Reds announced before the game that outfielder Adam Dunn was scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery to clean out his right knee on Wednesday. ... Votto extended his hitting streak to five games, his second streak of four or more games in his first month in the major leagues. Votto batted as high as third for the first time. ... Bailey's RBIs were the first of his career.