- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 11, 2016

HOUSTON (AP) - As inning after inning went by and Wednesday’s game against the Cleveland Indians stretched into the 16th, Houston manager A.J. Hinch couldn’t stop thinking about how the Astros could have avoided this marathon if they hadn’t squandered early opportunities.

The Astros had left a season-high 17 runners on base before Marwin Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the 16th inning to give them a 5-3 win over the Indians.

“The entire back half of that game I’m thinking back to the first inning, bases loaded, to the second inning, bases loaded. … The first three innings were an incredible amount of baserunners where we didn’t take advantage of it,” Hinch said. “When you’re in this tight of a game it’s impossible not to think about it.”

Carlos Correa reached on an infield single to start the 16th, Houston’s first hit since the seventh inning.

“It was a lucky hit,” Correa said, adding that he didn’t realize it was Houston’s first hit in 8 1/3 innings.

One out later, Gonzalez sent one into the seats in right field off Cody Anderson (0-3) to hand Houston its third victory in five games.

“It feels great to help the team in that situation,” Gonzalez said. “It was obviously a long game, everybody was exhausted. … I just tried to put the ball in play. It was a rough day for everybody at the plate and it was kind of hard to make contact.”

Michael Feliz (1-0) allowed one hit in three scoreless innings for the win.

Anderson yielded two hits, two runs and struck out four over 3 1/3 innings in his first career relief appearance.

“Different situation but still the same thing. Just have to get outs,” he said. “Unfortunately today, they wanted me to win and didn’t come through.”

The game matched Washington’s 6-5 victory over Minnesota in 16 innings on April 24 for the longest in the majors this season.

The teams combined to use 18 pitchers who threw 489 pitches in an endurance test that lasted 5 hours, 9 minutes. Cleveland used nine relievers after starter Danny Salazar was replaced after five innings. Houston sent out seven relievers after Doug Fister was lifted to start the eighth.

The Indians fanned 18 and walked 12, both season highs.

Houston went 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position in the third-longest game in Minute Maid Park history behind a 17-inning game in 2007 and one that lasted 18 innings in 2006.

The Indians got a pair of singles in the 10th and one in the 11th, 13th and 16th but left all those runners stranded.

Cleveland’s Mike Napoli doubled with one out in the ninth and scored on a triple by Carlos Santana that rolled up Tal’s Hill in center field to tie it at 3 and send the game to extra innings.

Jason Kipnis tied a career high with five hits and had an RBI, and Napoli hit a solo home run to put Cleveland up 2-0 in the fourth.

The Astros had plenty of baserunners early but weren’t able to score until George Springer’s solo homer in the fourth inning. They tied it in the sixth on an RBI single by Correa.

Springer walked a career-high four times.

Preston Tucker’s RBI single put Houston up 3-2 in the seventh, but the Astros didn’t get another hit until Correa’s in the 16th.

Springer snapped an 0-for-12 skid when he hit Houston’s 1,500th home run in Minute Maid park off Salazar, a solo shot that cut the lead to 2-1 with two outs in the fourth. Jose Altuve doubled with two outs in the sixth before a walk by Springer. The single by Correa sent Altuve home to tie it at 2.

Fister yielded six hits and two runs in a season-high seven innings. Luke Gregerson allowed the run in the ninth for his first blown save this season.

Salazar gave up four hits and one run while fanning a season-high 10 in five innings.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Indians: Michael Brantley, coming off shoulder surgery in November, was feeling better after getting a day off Tuesday. Brantley was also off Wednesday and manager Terry Francona said the outfielder will be re-evaluated Friday after the team’s day off to see if he’s ready to return to the lineup.

Astros: RHP Lance McCullers (right shoulder soreness) will come off the disabled list to make his season debut Friday at Boston. “He’s done everything he can do to be ready for a major league start,” Hinch said. “It’s time to test him out in the big leagues.” The Astros will go with a six-man rotation for now as they see how McCullers fares in his return.

UP NEXT

Indians: Josh Tomlin (5-0, 3.72 ERA) starts the opener of a series against Minnesota on Friday. Tomlin has won each of his last six starts dating to last season, and 12 of 14 decisions.

Astros: Last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner, Dallas Keuchel (2-4, 4.70), tries to get back on track Thursday night in Boston after four tough starts. Keuchel hasn’t won since April 15, going 0-3 with a 6.94 ERA since then. He’ll face another struggling ace in Red Sox lefty David Price (4-1, 6.75), the 2012 AL Cy Young winner.

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