HOUSTON (AP) – The Astros struck out more times than any other team in major league history in a third straight miserable year.
Now they’ll head toward 2014 with the longest season-ending losing streak in more than a century.
Mark Reynolds hit a tiebreaking homer in a four-run 14th inning, and the New York Yankees sent the Astros to their 15th straight loss with a 5-1 victory Sunday.
“For these guys, it’s just been a long year,” Houston manager Bo Porter said. “We have a lot to talk about. We have a lot of things that we have to do as an organization.”
Houston (51-111) set a team record for defeats and had the most in the majors since Arizona lost the same amount in 2004. The Astros finished with the lengthiest season-ending losing streak since the 1899 Cleveland Spiders dropped their last 16, according to STATS.
And the problem wasn’t just limited to this season. The Astros’ 324 losses over three years matched the 1917 Philadelphia Athletics for third most in major league history behind the 1962-64 New York Mets (340) and the 1963-65 Mets (332), according to STATS.
Houston had two hits after the first inning and struck out 19 times. The Astros’ season total of 1,535 set a major league record, six more than the previous mark by Arizona in 2010, and Chris Carter finished with 212 after whiffing three times; only Reynolds (223 in 2009) and Adam Dunn (222 last year) have struck out more.
“It’s just a big learning experience for everybody,” Carter said. “It’s tough and tough for everybody around and it’s frustrating, but whatever it takes for us to get better and be competitive in the future, whatever it takes.”
The Yankees are headed to an offseason of uncertainly, as well.
“There a lot of ifs and questions and who’s coming back and who’s not coming back,” captain Derek Jeter said. “I have no idea. It would be unfair for me to even speculate.”
Mariano Rivera didn’t pitch in the final game of a career that started in 1995, and Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson were among the players unsure whether they had played their final games for the Yankees, who finished tied for third in the AL East at 85-77, 12 games behind division-winning Boston.
Bothered by sore legs, Alex Rodriguez didn’t get into the finale. The appeal of his 211-game drug suspension starts Monday.
New York finished with its fewest wins in a non-strike season since 1992 and failed to make the playoffs for only the second time in 19 years. Manager Joe Girardi’s contract is expiring, and he hasn’t said whether he wants to come back for a seventh season.
“I see it as a year where there are probably more areas to address than there have been in a long time,” Girardi said. “So there’s a lot to be done in the offseason.”
Matt Daley (1-0) got the win. David Robertson, one of the possible replacements at closer for Rivera, pitched a perfect 14th.
Reynolds led off the 14th with a homer off Lucas Harrell (6-17), Eduardo Nunez added a two-run double and J.R. Murphy a run-scoring single, giving New York a final three-game sweep in a season notable for failure and farewells.
“There were memorable festivities, you know what I’m saying?” Jeter said. “Andy and Mo, goes without saying how special that was. But on the field, it wasn’t memorable.”
NOTES: Rivera’s final game drew a crowd of 40,542 at Minute Maid Park, putting the Astros’ final attendance at 1,656,443. That’s up slightly from last year’s total of 1,607,773, the lowest since Houston moved downtown in 2000. It was the second-biggest crowd of the season for Houston after opening day. … Erik Bedard allowed three hits in seven shutout innings for Houston and struck out nine. Matt Dominguez had an RBI single in the first.
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