Houston at Cincinnati

W: A. Pettitte (5-7) L: L. Hudson (1-3)
S: D. Wheeler (1)
HR: HOU - M. Ensberg (21), A. Everett (6)   CIN - None

Astros' Enberg extends summertime tear in win over Reds

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

CINCINNATI -- Flattened by a fastball that barely missed his head, Morgan Ensberg got up and collected his scrambled thoughts.

The third baseman knew he was lucky that all he got was dirty. He also knew he couldn't dwell on the moment.

He didn't. Ensberg dug in and hit the next pitch -- another high fastball -- into the upper deck for a three-run homer Friday night, leading the Houston Astros to an emphatic 10-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

"That's the way to answer," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "That's old school. This stuff of charging the mound came in recent memory. That's the way you talked back in the old days."

Ensberg, one of the majors' best hitters in June, also had a pair of doubles, starting a new month on the same tear. The third baseman has 11 homers and 32 RBI since June 1.

Lance Berkman drove in a pair of runs with a double and a single off Luke Hudson (1-3), adding to his legacy of tormenting the Reds. Adam Everett added a two-run homer, his first in more than a month.

The outburst helped Andy Pettitte (5-7) muddle through a tough night. The left-hander gave up 10 hits and four runs in six innings, needing 122 pitches to get that far. He took a comeback grounder off his right forearm in the sixth, but finished the inning.

"It was a miracle I got through six innings," Pettitte said. "They fouled off pitch after pitch. They just about broke my will out there a little bit. It was a battle."

Rich Aurilia's bases-loaded double off John Franco cut it to 10-7 in the eighth. Dan Wheeler, filling in for ailing closer Brad Lidge, got the last three outs for his first save in two chances.

The Astros have won 15 of their last 19 games against the Reds, including seven of 10 at Great American Ball Park. They played the series opener to a 2-all tie Thursday night, when rain ended it after seven innings.

Houston wasted no time taking control of this one.

Berkman and Ensberg had run-scoring doubles in the first off Hudson, who had the NL's highest earned run average in June at 8.35. The right-hander didn't get any better with the turn of the calendar.

Hudson gave up a career-high seven runs in 2 1/3 innings against Cleveland last Saturday, and didn't even reach the third inning this time. Berkman had a run-scoring single in the second inning, part of a three-hit game that raised his career average against Cincinnati to .341.

Next up was Ensberg, who tumbled backward to avoid getting hit in the forehead. Catcher Jason LaRue had to stretch on one leg to catch it.

"The fastball up-and-in was about as close as you can come to getting hit without getting hit," Ensberg said. "It just sailed on him. Certainly he was not trying to hit me there. I wanted to make sure I was not rattled."

Ensberg got off his back, dug in with a determined look and hit the next pitch -- a chest-high fastball -- into the upper deck in left field for his 21st homer, rounding the bases with his head down.

"It's just a situation where he's hot right now," Hudson said. "I thought about throwing a curve, but I decided to come back with a fastball again. I got underneath it again. This time I missed over the plate."

In his last two starts, Hudson has given up 13 runs in 4 1/3 innings, bloating his ERA to 10.18. The Reds' pitching staff is last in the majors with a 6.06 earned run average.

Hudson thinks he's just trying too hard.

"I've been putting so much pressure on myself and I'm being hard on myself," Hudson said. "Nothing felt right, not so much mechanical but mental. I'm just thinking too much."

The Reds also lead the majors in giving up homers. Everett added a two-run shot off Ricky Stone, the 121st off Cincinnati pitchers. His last homer was May 31, also off Stone.


  • The Astros plan to call up RHP Ezequiel Astacio from Triple-A between games of Saturday's doubleheader to start the second game. Astacio went 0-3 with a 10.98 ERA in four starts and two relief appearances before his demotion June 1.
  • The Reds will start Ramon Ortiz on two days of rest.
  • Astros reliever Russ Springer struck out the four batters he faced.
  • Cincinnati fell a season-high 18 games under .500 and a season-high 19½ out of first place.
  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the NL's three worst ERAs in June belonged to the Reds: Hudson (8.35), Ortiz (8.28) and Eric Milton (8.02). They're making a combined $11.9 million this year.
Copyright 2017 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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The Astros bail out a struggling Andy Pettitte, who throws 122 pitches in six innings.  (AP)
The Astros bail out a struggling Andy Pettitte, who throws 122 pitches in six innings. (AP)

Players of the Game

A. Pettitte
IP 6.0
H 10
ER 1
BB 0
K 4

M. Ensberg
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 1

Related Video

May 23, 2017
MLB Power Rankings (5/23) (1:51)
Houston Astros
Willy Taveras, CF4000001 .280
Craig Biggio, 2B4220100 .284
Lance Berkman, 1B5332001 .283
Morgan Ensberg, 3B5134011 .286
Jason Lane, RF4110121 .233
Adam Everett, SS4112122 .239
Chris Burke, LF4110122 .237
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
Brad Ausmus, C5131011 .226
Andy Pettitte, P2000011 .083
   a- Mike Lamb, PH1000001 .208
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
    John Franco, P0000000 .000
    Eric Bruntlett, LF0000000 .222
a-flied out for Pettitte in the 7th
2B - Lance Berkman (11, Hudson), Morgan Ensberg 2 (14, Hudson, Shackelford), Jason Lane (18, Stone), Brad Ausmus 2 (6, Stone, Coffey)
HR - Morgan Ensberg (21, Hudson), Adam Everett (6, Stone)
SH - Andy Pettitte (9)
RBI - Lance Berkman 2 (28), Morgan Ensberg 4 (58), Adam Everett 2 (32), Brad Ausmus (20)
2-OUT RBI - Lance Berkman (13), Morgan Ensberg 3 (27)
CS - Willy Taveras (5, 2nd base by Hudson/LaRue), Chris Burke (5, 2nd base by Mercker/LaRue)
Team LOB - 7
E - Andy Pettitte (1, Misplayed grounder), Willy Taveras (2, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
Andy Pettitte (W,5-7) 61041040 3.15
Russ Springer 1.1000040 6.41
John Franco 0.2333110 7.20
Dan Wheeler (S,1) 1000010 1.83
Pitches-Strikes - Andy Pettitte 122-82, Russ Springer 19-14, John Franco 25-12, Dan Wheeler 10-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Andy Pettitte 10-5, John Franco 1-0, Dan Wheeler 1-1
Batters Faced - Andy Pettitte 29, Russ Springer 4, John Franco 6, Dan Wheeler 3
Cincinnati Reds
Felipe Lopez, SS5131010 .317
Rich Aurilia, 2B5013013 .253
Sean Casey, 1B5120012 .316
Ken Griffey Jr., CF5110011 .277
Joe Randa, 3B5120012 .299
Wily Mo Pena, RF5011021 .269
Adam Dunn, LF4221002 .246
Jason LaRue, C2101103 .254
Luke Hudson, P0000000 .000
   a- Edwin Encarnacion, PH1010000 .111
    Ricky Stone, P1000010 .000
    Brian Shackelford, P0000000 .000
   b- Jason Romano, PH1000010 .292
    Todd Coffey, P0000000 .000
   c- Ray Olmedo, PH1000012 .500
    Kent Mercker, P0000000 .000
a-doubled for Hudson in the 4th
b-struck out for Shackelford in the 6th
c-struck out for Coffey in the 8th
2B - Rich Aurilia (8, Franco), Joe Randa (19, Pettitte), Adam Dunn (16, Pettitte), Edwin Encarnacion (1, Pettitte)
SF - Jason LaRue (1)
RBI - Felipe Lopez (46), Rich Aurilia 3 (29), Wily Mo Pena (25), Adam Dunn (42), Jason LaRue (26)
2-OUT RBI - Felipe Lopez (19), Rich Aurilia 3 (10), Adam Dunn (12)
Team LOB - 8
PB - Jason LaRue 2 (4)
Cincinnati Reds
Luke Hudson (L,1-3) 2666231 10.18
Ricky Stone 3333121 6.75
Brian Shackelford 1210010 0.00
Todd Coffey 2200030 4.38
Kent Mercker 1100100 2.70
HBP - Taveras (by Luke Hudson)
WP - Kent Mercker (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Luke Hudson 52-27, Ricky Stone 52-32, Brian Shackelford 20-11, Todd Coffey 33-22, Kent Mercker 24-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Luke Hudson 1-1, Ricky Stone 1-6, Brian Shackelford 1-1, Todd Coffey 1-2, Kent Mercker 1-1
Batters Faced - Luke Hudson 14, Ricky Stone 13, Brian Shackelford 5, Todd Coffey 8, Kent Mercker 4
Game Information
Attendance - 24923
Game Time - 3:19
Temperature - 82
Umpires - Home - Marvin Hudson, First Base - Larry Young, Second Base - Eric Cooper, Third Base - Field Culbreth