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Oswalt dominates Reds again to lift Astros

May 3, 2007 - 5:57 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- The Houston Astros found the perfect solution for their recent slump - sending Roy Oswalt to pitch against the Cincinnati Reds.

Oswalt limited the Reds to four hits over eight dominant innings to lead the Astros to a 3-1 victory over their National League Central Division rival Wednesday.

Houston's ace righthander allowed only a solo home run by Adam Dunn as he continued his remarkable mastery against Cincinnati.

"He's a horse," Astros second baseman Craig Biggio said of Oswalt. "He's your ace, and he stepped up today."

Oswalt said he didn't feel any extra pressure to win despite Houston having lost nine of its last 10 games.

"I feel like I need to win every time I go out," Oswalt said. "If I can set a tone while I'm out there, maybe it will carry on for a few more games and maybe we can build on that."

In breaking a two-game personal losing streak, Oswalt (4-2) improved to a glittering 18-1 in 21 lifetime starts against the Reds. He struck out two and walked one while throwing 95 pitches in eight innings.

"He did a nice job throwing down in the zone, went up when he wanted to and didn't throw the ball over the middle of the plate," Astros manager Phil Garner said.

Dan Wheeler finished up in the ninth for his fourth save in five chances.

Oswalt won his first 15 decisions against Cincinnati, which is the most all-time for any player against one team without a loss.

The Reds finally broke through the streak on April 28, 2006, but Oswalt rebounded to beat them twice more last year and owns a 2.54 lifetime ERA vs. Cincinnati.

"He's got velocity, commands both sides of the plate, he's got a pretty good curveball and he seemed to use his slider a lot tonight," Cincinnati manager Jerry Narron said. "He's got an assortment of pitches."

Given the recent history, the Reds' odds of reversing the trend were long, especially at Minute Maid Park, where Oswalt improved to 56-19 for his career and 34-11 since 2004.

"He's just amazing," Cincinnati first baseman Scott Hatteberg said. "I really love him as a fan. He throws 92, 93 but it feels harder than that. He comes at you. He just pounds the strike zone. He looked like tonight he could throw a no-hitter. I'm glad they pinch hit for him (in the eighth)."

The Astros, who had score just 21 runs in the recent string of nine losses, finally showed some life at the plate with their first three batters of the game collecting hits.

Leadoff batter Biggio crushed a double to left-center field and rookie Hunter Pence tripled to right to drive him home.

"The good news is we're getting them out there," Garner said. "There were some good things in the game. We looked aggressive on fastballs. We hit some balls pretty good tonight."

Lance Berkman singled home Pence and Mark Loretta drew a walk one out later, but Kyle Lohse (1-2) wriggled out of the jam by retiring Luke Scott and Adam Everett.

Oswalt lost both his no-hitter and shutout when Adam Dunn led off the fifth inning with a home run to left-center, his eighth of the season.

Cincinnati threatened again in the sixth, putting runners at the corners on singles by Brandon Phillips and Alex Gonzalez, but Oswalt got Dunn to ground to first to end the inning.

"I threw a lost of fastballs (tonight)," Oswalt said. "Threw a few changeups, a few splits, a few cureballs, a little bit of everything. The good thing about tonight was I could throw a strike when I wanted to."

The Astros made it 3-1 in the bottom of the frame when Brad Ausmus led off with a single against Lohse, moved to second on Oswalt's bunt and scored on Biggio's single to left-center.

Lohse pitched well after the first inning, allowing three runs and eight hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked three.

"Obviously, their game plan was to attack what I was doing," Lohse said. "It seemed like I was up all over the place with my fastball. I had to battle every inning. It seemed like everytime I turned around somebody was in scoring position."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CINCINNATI 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 4 0
    HOUSTON 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 x 3 10 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CIN - KYLE LOHSE, VICTOR SANTOS (7TH), MIKE STANTON (8TH) AND JAVIER
    VALENTIN
    HOU - ROY OSWALT, DAN WHEELER (9TH) AND BRAD AUSMUS

    HOME RUNS: CIN - ADAM DUNN (8) O

    May 2 10:48 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CRAIG BIGGIO SCORED BRAD AUSMUS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 1
    HOUSTON 3 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: H PENCE (.308, 1-FOR-2, BB, RBI)

    Reds vs. AstrosMay 2 9:54 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ADAM DUNN (8) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF ROY OSWALT.
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 1, HOUSTON 2
    DUE UP FOR CINCINNATI: J HAMILTON (.261, 0-FOR-1)

    Reds vs. AstrosMay 2 9:19 PM
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    RUWTbot Took away 43 roots

    Reds vs. AstrosMay 2 9:19 PM
  • 43
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 43 roots

    Reds vs. AstrosMay 2 9:15 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY LANCE BERKMAN SCORED HUNTER PENCE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, L BERKMAN ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 0
    HOUSTON 2 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C LEE (.242, 5 HR, 22 RBI)

    Reds vs. AstrosMay 2 8:14 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY HUNTER PENCE SCORED CRAIG BIGGIO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, H PENCE ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 0
    HOUSTON 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: L BERKMAN (.256, 2 HR, 12 RBI)

    Reds vs. AstrosMay 2 8:14 PM