CHICAGO — Houston had to put in more overtime than it had all year Wednesday, but none of the Astro players seemed to mind.
Houston went to the 18th inning in the completion of a suspended game before Billy Hatcher hit a game-winning solo homer to give the Astros an 8-7 victory and then Mike Scott struck out 12 in seven innings leading Houston to its second victory, 8-2.
"It doesn't matter how long the day is if you win two," said Hatcher, an ex-Cub.
Chicago used 27 players and Houston 26, setting the major league record of 53 in the 18-inning marathon. The 18-inning game was the longest in the majors this season.
The previous record of 51 for the most players used by both teams was held both in the American and National Leagues. The Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals set the NL mark on Sept. 15, 1974 and the AL record was by set the Chicago White Sox and Oakland A's on Sept. 19, 1972.
Houston, which took a 7-4 lead in 17th on run-scoring singles by Dan Driessen and Kevin Bass and an RBI groundout Jose Cruz, gave up a three-run homer to Keith Moreland in the bottom of the inning.
"I know a lot of ballclubs that lose a lead like and it takes the wind out of them," Astros Manager Hal Lanier said.
In the regularly scheduled game, Scott, 15-9, increased his major league-leading strikeout total to 253. He had four strikeouts in the fifth when Chris Speier fanned but reached first on a wild pitch.
"I was throwing 85% fastballs," said Scott. "It makes a difference with a big lead."
A total of 15 Cubs fanned as Aurelio Lopez, who pitched the last two innings for the Astros, struck out three. Chicago managed only three hits off Scott and one off Lopez.
"We may not be as good but we didn't give up," said Chicago Manager Gene Michael. "We came back in that first game."
Houston's Denny Walling hit a two-run homer, his 12th, to highlight a three-run outbreak in the first inning of the second contest. Walling singled and scored as the Astros, who collected a total of 14 hits, added two runs in the third off Scott Sanderson, 7-11.
Jody Davis hit his 17th home run in the fifth when the Cubs scored both runs.
Pinch-hitter Dickie Thon hit his third homer, a three-run blast, in the sixth to put Houston ahead 8-2.
The game was delayed 32 minutes by rain in the bottom of the eighth.