Reds
Astros
2 - 1 Final
  for this game

Reds all but end playoff hopes of Astros

Sep 24, 2008 - 5:31 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- The Houston Astros' return to Minute Maid Park ended in disappointment.

Joey Votto and Jolbert Cabrera plated first-inning runs and Edinson Volquez tossed 7 1/3 solid frames as the Cincinnati Reds dealt a devastating blow to the Astros' slim playoff hopes Tuesday with a 2-1 victory.

Playing at home for the first time since Hurricane Ike struck the area on September 12, Houston (82-74) fell 4 1/2 games behind New York (87-70) in the NL wild card race with five contests remaining. The Mets posted a 6-2 triumph over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.

"After giving up just two runs, we figured we would have a chance," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "We have been getting ourselves behind the eight ball in the first inning a lot lately. We have to come out and put zeros on the board. We still had plenty of chances to score, but we didn't. We're going to show up and play tomorrow. We are disappointed that we let a golden opportunity slide tonight."

"This was tough because we can't afford losses right now," Houston's Michael Bourn added. "We will try to do whatever we can. We have to win from now on and hope everyone else loses."

Votto opened the scoring with a one-out RBI triple in the first and scored three batters later on Cabrera's single, giving Cincinnati a 2-0 lead.

Kaz Matsui halved the deficit with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the inning, but that was all the Astros were able to muster against Volquez (17-6), who allowed six hits and a walk with nine strikeouts. The righthander, who is second in the National League behind San Francisco's Tim Lincecum with 206 strikeouts, also hit a batter.

"I didn't throw a bullpen (session between starts)," Volquez said. "I just threw on flat ground once. I felt good. My slider worked good tonight and my changeup was good. ... The ball was coming out of my fingers easy and hitting 96 and 97 (miles per hour)."

"He pitched lights out," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He focused big time and had his rhythm going. He didn't throw it out of the zone like he had been doing lately."

Bill Bray and David Weathers bridged the gap to Francisco Cordero, who worked around a leadoff single by Geoff Blum to notch his 34th save.

Wandy Rodriguez (8-7) lasted five innings, surrendering two unearned runs and six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.

"I didn't feel too bad," Rodriguez said. "I thought I had good location and I didn't throw too bad. After the fourth, I told Coop that I wanted to go out there for one more inning. I felt strong."

Matsui and Miguel Tejada each had two hits for the Astros, who have lost seven of nine.

Houston had numerous chances to pull even, putting the tying run in scoring position in four of the final eight innings. In the second, Ty Wigginton hit a one-out double but was stranded after Brad Ausmus struck out and Rodriguez grounded out.

Matsui opened the sixth with a single but was thrown out at second on a sacrifice attempt by Bourn, who stole second. Tejada followed with a single and Bourn was waved home by third base coach Ed Romero but stopped after rounding the base.

Tejada was caught in a rundown between first and second while Bourn remained at third. After an intentional walk to Lance Berkman, Blum lined out to first base, ending the threat.

"It was stop and go. It kind of confused me," Bourn said of the baserunning blunder. "I didn't know what to do. I know I should have scored on that play. I take the blame. I saw two hands go up and thought I should stop.

"I shouldn't have even used the third base coach in that situation. With Miguel being in the rundown, I should have been off the bag, but I knew Lance and Geoff were up next, and I wanted to give them a chance. I take the blame."

Two frames later, David Newhan led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice by Matsui. Bray relieved Volquez and induced a flyout by Bourn, and Weathers came on and walked Tejada but retired Berkman on a groundout to escape unscathed.

In the ninth, Blum ripped a single to left-center field off Cordero, and pinch runner Reggie Abercrombie stole second two pitches later. Cordero maintained his composure by striking out Hunter Pence, then got Wigginton to line out to shortstop Paul Janish.

With Abercrombie far off second base, Janish tossed to Jeff Keppinger for a potential game-ending double play. Despite the fact he was ducking to avoid the ball in the event the throw was wild, second base umpire Jerry Meals initially called Abercrombie safe, motioning that the toss pulled Keppinger off the bag.

However, first base umpire Bill Miller reversed the decision, ending the game.

"(Abercrombie) was out," Cooper admitted. "(Meals) said he couldn't tell, so he asked for help. I asked my coaches, and they said he was out."

The Reds believed they extended their lead in the seventh, when Votto hit a towering fly ball off the top of the wall in left field. Votto, first base coach Billy Hatcher and Baker thought the ball went over the wall for a two-run homer, but crew chief Gary Darling used video replay to review the play and ruled it a single.

"There were two looks we had," Darling said. "Neither one gave us clear or convincing evidence of other than what we had on the field."

Edwin Encarnacion flied out to center to end the inning.








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

    BATTERIES: CIN - EDINSON VOLQUEZ, BILL BRAY (8TH), DAVID WEATHERS (8TH),
    FRANCISCO CORDERO (9TH) AND RYAN HANIGAN
    HOU - WANDY RODRIGUEZ, CHRIS SAMPSON (6TH), FERNANDO
    NIEVE (

    Sep 23 11:09 PM
  • 55
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Reds 2, Astros 1  Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 23 10:19 PM
  • 20
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 20 roots

    Reds 2, Astros 1  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 23 9:32 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY KAZ MATSUI (6) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    1ST OFF EDINSON VOLQUEZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 2, HOUSTON 1
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M BOURN (.226, 5 HR, 25 RBI)

    Reds 2, Astros 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsSep 23 8:22 PM


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

    CURRENT PITCHERS: CIN - EDINSON VOLQUEZ
    HOU - WANDY RODRIGUEZ

    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: K MATSUI (.288, 5 HR, 29 RBI)
    M BOURN (.226, 5 HR, 25 RBI)
    M TEJADA (.284, 13 HR, 65 RBI)

    Reds 2, Astros 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsSep 23 8:19 PM