Reds
Astros
4 - 5 Final
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Oswalt gets the best of the Reds once again

Jul 29, 2008 - 5:08 AM By Gene Duffey PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- It wasn't vintage Roy Oswalt, but it was good enough to beat the Cincinnati Reds again.

Oswalt pitched just well enough and just long enough to beat the Reds, 5-4, on Monday night at Minute Maid Park.

Oswalt (8-8), who came off the disabled list earlier Monday, improved to 20-1 lifetime against Cincinnati. He suffered his only loss to the Reds in 2006 when he gave up eight hits and three runs in six innings.

He had been sidelined with a strained left hip abductor that he aggravated in a July 11 start at Washington. He pitched five innings Monday, allowing four runs and seven hits while throwing

only 74 pitches.

"He's back," a smiling Cecil Cooper said of Oswalt. "We thought five innings was good enough. He was a little winded in the fifth."

Oswalt left after one inning of that July 11 start. He hadn't pitched a regular start since June 30 when he went six innings to beat the Dodgers.

"I was kind of surprised, I had good command of the curveball and fastball," Oswalt said. "I thought I'd be all over the strike zone. I wasn't physically tired. My legs give out on me more than anything."



The Astros struck for three runs in the first off Cincinnati righthander Johnny Cueto (7-10).

Kazuo Matsui led off with a double to right and Miguel Tejada singled him home. After Lance Berkman walked, Carlos Lee singled in the second run and Geoff Blum drove in the third with a sacrifice fly.

Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips opened the second with a double and Adam Dunn moved him to third with a bloop single with no outs. Oswalt pitched his way out of the inning by striking out Edwin Encarnacion, Joey Votto and Paul Bako in succession.

"We knew with Oswalt coming off the disabled list he would be on a limited pitch count," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "We got two runners on in the second inning with no outs, then he struck out the side and I got a headache."

The Reds took the lead in the third on Dunn's grand slam, his second of the season. It was Dunn's second grand slam in six days, and the ninth of his career.

Singles by Jay Bruce and Ken Griffey Jr. and a walk to Brandon Phillips preceded Dunn's homer.

"I made one bad pitch to Dunn," Oswalt said. "I started the ball where I wanted to. It just didn't run off the plate. After the home run I got angry at myself and started throwing better in the fourth and fifth innings."

The Astros regained the lead in the bottom of the third on Berkman's double to left and Blum's ninth homer of the season to make it 5-4.

"It was big, take the momentum away and put the pressure back on them," Oswalt said of Blum's homer.

Blum hit two homers Sunday in an 11-6 win at Milwaukee and now has driven in seven runs in the last two games. He said he looked at videotape last week of when he played for the Astros in 2002-03 and made some adjustments.

"I saw some things with my hands I'm not doing now," Blum said. "Obviously it's working out. My head's not moving as much as it was earlier in the year. That allows me to see the ball for a little bit longer.



"It's huge for the team and huge for the psyche of Roy Oswalt, getting him back and having him pitch well and leave the game healthy. I'm sure he's not having the season he wants."

Blum has been a utility player this season, most often filling in for Ty Wigginton at third base. Monday was his third straight start.

"He's swung the bat well the last three days," Cooper said. "I knew it was a good matchup for him (tonight). You've got to ride the hot hand."

Houston relievers Tim Byrdak, Geoff Geary, Wesley Wright and Jose Valverde combined to shut down the Reds on one hit over the last four innings. Valverde pitched the ninth to earn his 27th save.

"It's been a long time since I saw a pitcher leave after the fifth inning with a one-run lead and still win the game," Baker said.

"The bullpen did a great job coming in, picking up four innings and keeping it exactly where it was," Oswalt said. "They've been doing a great job lately."

Wright, a left-hander, pitched to only one batter, but recorded the biggest out, retiring the left-handed hitting Dunn on a fly ball to deep center with on one and two outs in the eighth.

"Wesley has done a good job for us," Cooper said. "We've used him more in situations (recently) than pitching him one or two innings."



Berkman's walk in the first inning gave him 848 for his career to move into third place on the all-time franchise list ahead of Jimmy Wynn.








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

    BATTERIES: CIN - JOHNNY CUETO, MIKE LINCOLN (7TH) AND PAUL BAKO
    HOU - ROY OSWALT, TIM BYRDAK (6TH), GEOFF GEARY (7TH),
    WESLEY WRIGHT (8TH), JOSE VALVERDE (9TH) AND BRAD AUSMUS

    Jul 28 10:34 PM
  • 45
    roots
    alamowx Added 5 roots

    Reds 4, Astros 5  Top 9, 0 OutsJul 28 10:27 PM
  • 40
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Reds 4, Astros 5  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 28 10:03 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY GEOFF BLUM (9) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 3RD OFF JOHNNY CUETO SCORED LANCE BERKMAN.
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 4, HOUSTON 5
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: H PENCE (.268, 0-FOR-1)

    Reds 4, Astros 5  Bot 3, 0 OutsJul 28 9:04 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    GRAND SLAM BY ADAM DUNN (30) TO CENTER WITH 2 OUT IN THE
    3RD OFF ROY OSWALT SCORED JAY BRUCE, KEN GRIFFEY JR AND BRANDON
    PHILLIPS.
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 4, HOUSTON 3
    DUE UP FOR CINCINNATI: E ENCARNACION (.259, 0-FOR-1)

    Reds 4, Astros 3  Top 3, 0 OutsJul 28 8:57 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY GEOFF BLUM SCORED LANCE BERKMAN.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, C LEE ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 0
    HOUSTON 3 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: H PENCE (.269, 13 HR, 51 RBI)

    Reds 0, Astros 3  Bot 1, 0 OutsJul 28 8:24 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARLOS LEE SCORED MIGUEL TEJADA.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C LEE ON FIRST, L BERKMAN ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 0
    HOUSTON 2 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: G BLUM (.224, 8 HR, 25 RBI)

    Reds 0, Astros 2  Bot 1, 0 OutsJul 28 8:22 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MIGUEL TEJADA SCORED KAZ MATSUI.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M TEJADA ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 0
    HOUSTON 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: L BERKMAN (.344, 22 HR, 76 RBI)

    Reds 0, Astros 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsJul 28 8:14 PM
  • 5
    roots
    rmcc4444 Added 5 roots

    Reds vs. AstrosJul 28 7:35 PM