Reds
Astros
6 - 8 Final
  for this game

Oswalt dominates Reds again to keep Astros alive

Sep 26, 2008 - 4:36 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Roy Oswalt continues to have his way with the Cincinnati Reds - even on short rest.

With the Astros needing a win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, Oswalt took to the mound on three days' rest and delivered six innings of two-hit ball to lead the Astros to an 8-6 win over the Reds on Thursday.

Oswalt (17-10) gave up one run and two hits while striking out three and walking three as he won for the 11th time in his last 13 decisions. The Astros kept pace with the victorious New York Mets (88-71) and Milwaukee Brewers (88-71) to remain 3 1/2 games back in the National League wild-card race.

"It was never really easy, for sure," Oswalt said. "I had great stuff, but I was missing spots out there. We are just playing. We want to win three more games and see what happens. If we worry about it too much, it will make it worse."

As Oswalt improved to 23-1 all-time against the Reds, he received all the offensive help he needed from the top of his order. Leadoff man Kaz Matsui went 3-for-3 and drove in three runs and Michael Bourn tied a career-high with four RBI.

Bourn gave the Astros a 3-1 lead in the second with a two-out, bases-clearing double down the left field line. With two outs and Brad Ausmus on second, Oswalt helped his own cause with a single to put runners on the corners. Matsui then battled for a walk to load the bases.

Bourn came into the game 2-for-11 (.182) lifetime with the bases loaded, but came through with his first career three-run hit. The speedy, but light-hitting outfielder came into the game with 25 RBI on the year, and the double was his ninth in 454 at-bats this season.

"We always want to get ahead as early as we can when you have a pitcher like Roy," Bourn said. "We are looking at the scoreboard and trying to win games. We hope the other teams lose. It was unfortunate they won tonight, but we still have an outside shot."

But that's the way it went for Houston - offense came from the most unexpected places. Matsui drew a bases-loaded walk in the third to make it a 5-1 game, then added an RBI single two innings later and a run-scoring double in the seventh. Oswalt went 2-for-3 with an RBI single.

"It was a good win for us," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "Roy was really good. He did an outstanding job. ... He didn't feel his normal self, but he battled through it. He didn't feel comfortable. His command was not where he wanted to be. He was not what he feels was his best, but he is still better than most pitchers."

Corey Patterson had put the Reds (74-85) up in the first as a drove a 2-0 Oswalt offering 440 feet to center field for a solo home run, his 10th of the season.

"He was the same Oswalt," Patterson said. "He was aggressive and came right at you. He sticks to his game plan. That's why he is one of the best pitchers in the league and game."

That was all the offense they could muster until the ninth, when the Astros' apparent victory suddenly came into question. Danny Richar and Javier Valentin delivered RBI singles and Jerry Hairston Jr. belted a three-run homer to cut the Reds' deficit to two.

But the Astros brought in closer Jose Valverde, who worked the final two-thirds of the inning and struck out two to preserve the win. It was his NL-leading 43rd save of the season, one shy of the Astros' single-season franchise record of 44 set by Billy Wagner in 2003.

"Oswalt hurt us pitching and hitting," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He got some really big hits. We made a great effort at the end to come back, and we fought to the end. A five-run ninth normally wins it for you."

Cincinnati righthander Johnny Cueto (9-14) lasted 2 2/3 innings, allowing five runs and seven hits as he dropped to 0-3 against the Astros. He struck out a season-low one and walked three.

Having survived elimination for another day, the Astros will host the Atlanta Braves for a three-game set. If they pull off a sweep and the Mets and Brewers both drop their final three games, the Astros would visit the Chicago Cubs for a make-up game at Wrigley Field on Monday to try to pull even in the wild-card race.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CINCINNATI 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 6 8 0
    HOUSTON 0 3 2 0 1 0 2 0 x 8 16 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CIN - JOHNNY CUETO, JON ADKINS (3RD), GARY MAJEWSKI (5TH), JEREMY
    AFFELDT (5TH), JOSH ROENICKE (7TH), DANNY HERRERA (7TH), JARED
    BURTON (8TH) AND PAUL BAKO
    HOU - R

    Sep 25 11:30 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY JERRY HAIRSTON JR (5) TO LEFT WITH 1
    OUT IN THE 9TH OFF FERNANDO NIEVE SCORED PAUL BAKO AND JAVIER
    VALENTIN.
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 6, HOUSTON 8
    DUE UP FOR CINCINNATI: C PATTERSON (.207, 1-FOR-4, HR, RBI)

    Reds 6, Astros 8  Top 9, 0 OutsSep 25 11:20 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JAVIER VALENTIN SCORED DANNY RICHAR.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J VALENTIN ON FIRST, P BAKO ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 3
    HOUSTON 8 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR CINCINNATI: J HAIRSTON JR (.324, 0-FOR-4)

    Reds 3, Astros 8  Top 9, 0 OutsSep 25 11:16 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DANNY RICHAR SCORED JAY BRUCE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D RICHAR ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 2
    HOUSTON 8 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR CINCINNATI: P BAKO (.210, 0-FOR-0, 2 BB, HBP)

    Reds 2, Astros 8  Top 9, 0 OutsSep 25 11:10 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MICHAEL BOURN SCORED KAZ MATSUI.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M BOURN ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 1
    HOUSTON 8 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M TEJADA (.285, 1-FOR-4)

    Reds 1, Astros 8  Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 25 10:39 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY KAZ MATSUI SCORED REGGIE ABERCROMBIE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, K MATSUI ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 1
    HOUSTON 7 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M BOURN (.223, 1-FOR-4, 3 RBI)

    Reds 1, Astros 7  Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 25 10:38 PM
  • 15
    roots
    DDrake Added 10 roots

    Reds 1, Astros 6  Top 6, 0 OutsSep 25 9:58 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY KAZ MATSUI SCORED TY WIGGINTON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, K MATSUI ON FIRST, B AUSMUS ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 1
    HOUSTON 6 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M BOURN (.223, 1-FOR-3, 3 RBI)

    Reds 1, Astros 6  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 25 9:49 PM
  • 5
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Reds 1, Astros 5  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 25 9:48 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO KAZ MATSUI SCORED TY WIGGINTON.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, K MATSUI ON FIRST, R OSWALT ON SECOND, B
    AUSMUS ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 1
    HOUSTON 5 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M BOURN (.224, 1-FOR-2, 3 RBI)

    Reds 1, Astros 5  Bot 3, 0 OutsSep 25 9:15 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ROY OSWALT SCORED GEOFF BLUM.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R OSWALT ON FIRST, B AUSMUS ON SECOND, T
    WIGGINTON ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 1
    HOUSTON 4 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: K MATSUI (.293, 1-FOR-1, BB)

    Reds 1, Astros 4  Bot 3, 0 OutsSep 25 9:12 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY MICHAEL BOURN SCORED BRAD AUSMUS, ROY OSWALT AND
    KAZ MATSUI.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, M BOURN ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 1
    HOUSTON 3 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M TEJADA (.285, 0-FOR-1)

    Reds 1, Astros 3  Bot 2, 0 OutsSep 25 8:51 PM


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

    CURRENT PITCHERS: CIN - JOHNNY CUETO
    HOU - ROY OSWALT

    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: K MATSUI (.291, 6 HR, 30 RBI)
    M BOURN (.223, 5 HR, 25 RBI)
    M TEJADA (.286, 13 HR, 65 RBI)

    Reds 1, Astros 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsSep 25 8:12 PM