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Houston at Cincinnati

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Milton impressive as Reds finally overcome Astros

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

CINCINNATI -- The last time Eric Milton pitched against the Astros he was still fighting off the flu. It showed. He lost.

Six days later, the left-hander showed 'em something else.

Milton finally pitched like a pricey and prized acquisition on Saturday, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-2 victory that ended their 12-game losing streak against Houston.

Milton (2-1) gave up three hits in seven innings, his first impressive showing in three starts for the team that made him the centerpiece of its offseason overhaul. Milton got a $4 million bonus as part of a three-year, $25.5 million deal last December.

"I felt strong until the end, and that's a positive," Milton said. "I felt a hundred times better today than I did last week. I was glad to be out there. I wasn't at the top of my game, but I felt pretty good."

The Reds had to beat left-hander Andy Pettitte (0-1) to break one of the longest head-to-head losing streaks in franchise history. They'd dropped 12 straight to Houston since July 31, the sixth-longest streak in club history.

Wily Mo Pena had an RBI single, and Rich Aurilia singled home two more during a three-run fourth off Pettitte.

"I know that dating to last year, we hadn't won against these guys, so it's nice," Aurilia said. "I didn't hit it hard, but I hit it in the right spot."

Pettitte was part of the Astros' pitching overhaul for 2004, but was on the disabled list three times last season and had elbow surgery on Aug. 24. The left-hander threw 104 pitches in his last outing and 100 again on Saturday, looking close to normal as he got deep into the game.

"I think he's there," manager Phil Garner said. "I think he got over a major hurdle in his last start. I don't even think about that."

Danny Graves gave up a pinch-hit RBI single to Mike Lamb in the ninth, but finished the combined five-hitter for his third save.

During the Astros' 12-game winning streak, the matchups were often one-sided -- Houston outscored Cincinnati 91-34. The streak-buster was tight and, often, just plain weird.

The ballpark's fire alarms sounded and flashed a few minutes before the first pitch. The annoying whine was still sounding when Adam Everett flied out to start the game.

All was quiet when Jeff Bagwell came to bat with two outs, until a female voice came on the public address system saying, "May I have your attention. This is a false alarm." Bagwell backed out of the batter's box during the announcement, then dug in and finished off a four-pitch walk from Milton.

In the bottom of the inning, Ken Griffey Jr. hit a soft grounder down the first baseline, took a few steps, then stopped and watched, evidently thinking the ball was going foul. It stayed fair, Bagwell made the easy play, and Griffey was booed loudly as he turned and headed for the dugout.

More zaniness set up the Reds' three-run rally in the fourth, which opened with Griffey drawing a walk and moving to second on Sean Casey's single. Casey, one of the Reds' slowest runners, inexplicably rounded second base on Joe Randa's fly out to the warning track, leaving him easy prey for a double play. Casey smacked both hands on his helmet after he was doubled up at first.

Casey was pacing angrily in the dugout, muttering to himself, while the Reds turned his gaffe into a rallying point. Austin Kearns walked, Pena singled home a run and Aurilia finished the rally with a two-run single that dropped just beyond the reach of second baseman Craig Biggio.

It was the only bad moment for Pettitte, who gave up eight hits and three walks in seven innings, his longest outing of the season.

"I feel like I'm coming along," Pettitte said. "There are still some things that I'd like to be better at, and it's coming, no doubt. I don't have any pain. I'm feeling great and it's encouraging."

Brad Ausmus snapped an 0-for-19 slump with a run-scoring double in the fifth, cutting it to 3-1.


  • Biggio was 0-for-4, ending his nine-game hitting streak.
  • Houston RHP Brandon Duckworth will make his first start of the season Sunday. Duckworth is 16-20 career as a starter with a 5.06 ERA.
  • Slumping Reds OF Adam Dunn was out of the lineup against a pitcher who handles him easily. Dunn is 0-for-5 in his career against Pettitte y, Dunn has gone 4-for-28.
  • The Reds' record for consecutive losses to an opponent is 20, against the 1937-38 Pirates.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Danny Graves and Ken Griffey Jr. enjoy a 3-2 win over the Astros. (AP)
Danny Graves and Ken Griffey Jr. enjoy a 3-2 win over the Astros. (AP)

Players of the Game

E. Milton
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 1
BB 2
K 7

W. Pena
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0

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Houston Astros
Adam Everett, SS4000021 .150
Craig Biggio, 2B4000010 .350
    Chad Harville, P0000000 .000
Jeff Bagwell, 1B3110110 .270
Morgan Ensberg, 3B3010102 .364
Jason Lane, RF4000023 .310
Chris Burke, LF-2B3110000 .235
   a- Mike Lamb, PH1011000 .250
    Eric Bruntlett, PR0000000 .000
Brad Ausmus, C3011000 .111
   b- Jose Vizcaino, PH1000001 .500
Willy Taveras, CF3000011 .314
Andy Pettitte, P2000011 .000
   c- Orlando Palmeiro, PH-LF1000010 .333
a-singled for Burke in the 9th
b-grounded out for Ausmus in the 9th
c-struck out for Pettitte in the 8th
2B - Jeff Bagwell (2, Graves), Brad Ausmus (1, Milton)
RBI - Mike Lamb (3), Brad Ausmus (1)
2-OUT RBI - Mike Lamb (1)
Team LOB - 5
Outfield Assists - Chris Burke 1
DP - Burke-Everett-Bagwell, Ensberg-Biggio-Bagwell
Houston Astros
Andy Pettitte (L,0-1) 7833330 3.44
Chad Harville 1000020 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Andy Pettitte 100-64, Chad Harville 15-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Andy Pettitte 9-7
Batters Faced - Andy Pettitte 30, Chad Harville 3
Cincinnati Reds
D'Angelo Jimenez, 2B4000001 .242
Ken Griffey Jr., CF3120100 .281
Sean Casey, 1B4020001 .268
Joe Randa, 3B4000002 .361
Austin Kearns, RF3100120 .212
Wily Mo Pena, LF4121020 .316
Rich Aurilia, SS2012100 .185
Jason LaRue, C3010002 .308
Eric Milton, P2000001 .000
   a- Ryan Freel, PH1000010 .333
    Ryan Wagner, P0000000 .000
    Danny Graves, P0000000 .000
a-struck out for Milton in the 7th
2B - Ken Griffey Jr. 2 (4, Pettitte, Pettitte), Wily Mo Pena (2, Pettitte)
RBI - Wily Mo Pena (3), Rich Aurilia 2 (3)
2-OUT RBI - Wily Mo Pena (2), Rich Aurilia 2 (2)
Team LOB - 6
Cincinnati Reds
Eric Milton (W,2-1) 7311270 4.86
Ryan Wagner (H,4) 1000020 1.50
Danny Graves (S,3) 1211000 4.15
Pitches-Strikes - Eric Milton 96-65, Ryan Wagner 11-9, Danny Graves 15-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Eric Milton 6-8, Ryan Wagner 1-0, Danny Graves 3-0
Batters Faced - Eric Milton 26, Ryan Wagner 3, Danny Graves 5
Game Information
Attendance - 26926
Game Time - 2:28
Temperature - 66
Umpires - Home - Sam Holbrook, First Base - Jim Wolf, Second Base - Randy Marsh, Third Base - Larry Vanover