HOUSTON - After Orlando Palmeiro got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the 13th inning to tie the game for Houston, Eric Bruntlett made sure his teammate’s pain was worth it.
Bruntlett’s RBI single on a full-count pitch with two outs gave the Astros a 6-5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.
“Those are the kind of moments that make all the 0-for-15s worthwhile,” said Bruntlett, a utility infielder who is hitting just .193 this season. “It’s a big situation, and I got the job done.”
The Astros had already extended the game with homers in the ninth and 10th innings against closer Jason Isringhausen. They won it in the 13th against three pitchers.
With the bases loaded, Palmeiro was the only batter Ray King faced. The Astros outfielder gladly showed the still fire-red spot on his right forearm after the game when he was asked what he thought after getting hit.
“Good question. I don’t remember,” Palmeiro said. “Once I actually did think, I thought, ‘Cool, we tied the game.”’
Brad Ausmus then flied out to short right field against Al Reyes. Bruntlett hit a sinking liner to left that outfielder John Rodriguez couldn’t come up with despite a diving attempt.
St. Louis had taken a 5-4 lead when Jim Edmonds led off the 13th with his second homer of the game. It came off Chad Qualls (4-4), who finished the inning and ended up with a victory.
“This is one of the toughest losses, and one of the best losses I can remember, just because what the club showed,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “It was impressive watching them compete like that. I’m just talking about our team. They did the same thing.”
Jason Lane then singled and Jose Vizcaino was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Mark Mulder retired 20 of the last 21 batters he faced, but was denied his 16th victory after Isringhausen took over to start the ninth. Two pitches later, Ensberg hit a 1-0 pitch for his 35th homer to tie the game at 3-all.
“My biggest thing, he worked his butt off for eight innings, and I go out and give up the lead, not once, but twice,” said Isringhausen, who has four blown saves. “It doesn’t happen often. I’ll turn the page and go out tomorrow. Tonight’s over.”
Taking a look at some of the greatest catchers off all time.