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Houston at Cincinnati

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Houston000101002490
Cincinnati «01011020x5121

Reds continue hot streak, finally get to Astros' Oswalt

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CINCINNATI -- On their 20th try, the Cincinnati Reds finally beat Roy Oswalt, led by a newcomer who wasn't fully aware of what was at stake.

Brandon Phillips doubled, singled and scored twice off the pitcher who had the Reds' number until Friday night, then added a bases-loaded single off the bullpen for a 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros.

With their eighth victory in nine games, the Reds moved into first place in the NL Central, a half-game ahead of the Astros. Cincinnati (16-7) also matched its club record for most victories in April, with two chances left to top it.

This one will be remembered for who lost.

Oswalt was the only pitcher in major league history to go 15-0 against a team, an unblemished stretch that included 17 starts and two relief appearances scattered over three ballparks -- two in Cincinnati, one in Houston.

What's more, Oswalt had won his last seven starts against the Reds, who knew they'd need a few breaks to finally beat him.

They got them.

"Eventually, it's going to come to an end, if you play long enough," said Oswalt (4-1), who gave up eight hits and three walks in six innings. "I didn't really have a breaking pitch the whole night. I had to pitch with the fastball, and I didn't really get it where I wanted to, either. So it could have been easily a lot worse."

Oswalt gave up runs on an opposite-field single, an infield single and a sacrifice fly, and got topped by a starter coming off the worst performance of his career. Left-hander Brandon Claussen (2-2) gave up a career-high nine runs -- including four homers in one inning -- in an 11-0 loss in Milwaukee on Saturday.

This time, Claussen gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings, including Preston Wilson's solo homer, giving the Reds a chance to end's Oswalt's run.

"I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't know about it," Claussen said. "It's all everybody talked about. You'd have to be on another world to not know about it. That's something nobody's ever done."

David Weathers gave up a two-run homer in the ninth to Lance Berkman -- a fan reached in front of the foul pole to catch it -- before finishing for his seventh save in eight chances.

Phillips, the NL's most recent Player of the Week, was again the catalyst, going 3-for-4 in the breakthrough win. He scored the first two runs off Oswalt, and his two-run single off Chad Qualls made it 5-2 in the seventh inning.

Phillips, acquired in a trade with Cleveland on April 7, didn't know that Oswalt was 15-0 against the Reds until Ken Griffey Jr. told him about it right before the game.

"We just wanted to try and really get him today -- not that they weren't trying to get him the other times," Phillips said. "I was talking to Griffey about it and we were playing around, and I said, 'Let's go out and break it tonight. Let's just have some fun.'"

Cincinnati pressed on without Griffey, who was eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Friday. Griffey, bothered by an inflamed tendon behind his right knee, hasn't fully recovered from the nagging injury.

Not that he would have been much help against Oswalt -- he's only 4-for-25 in his career without a homer off the right-hander.

Instead, a player who had never faced Oswalt led the Reds to victory over their biggest nemesis. Phillips doubled to left and came around on Jason LaRue's soft, opposite-field single for a 1-0 lead in the second inning -- Claussen's first career lead when facing the Astros. In all of his three previous starts against Houston, the Reds were shut out.

Claussen doubled his good fortune by driving in Phillips with an infield single in the fourth, his first RBI since June 28, 2003. Austin Kearns added a sacrifice fly in the fifth, when the Reds sensed they had the chance to break a streak that still amazed after it ended.

"That's pretty good," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "He can start another five-year run if he wants to. That's pretty incredible. I don't know how to explain that."

Notes

  • Astros SS Adam Everett was out of the lineup for the second straight game with a bruised left hand. Garner expects him back Saturday.
  • Reds RHP Paul Wilson felt fine Friday, a day after his first rehabilitation start. He threw 92 pitches for Class A Dayton on Thursday. Wilson, who had shoulder surgery last June 17, might be ready to rejoin the Reds in May.
  • OF Cody Ross made his first appearance for the Reds as a pinch hitter and struck out swinging at a pitch that hit him on the left hand. X-rays found no fracture.
  • The crowd of 32,089 fans included 9,756 who bought tickets at the gate before the game, a sign of growing interest in the Reds.
 
Copyright 2014 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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It takes 20 tries, but Cincinnati gets the better of Roy Oswalt, who allows three runs in six innings.  (AP)
It takes 20 tries, but Cincinnati gets the better of Roy Oswalt, who allows three runs in six innings. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cincinnati

B. Phillips
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
Houston

L. Berkman
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Houston Astros
Craig Biggio, 2B4000012 .307
Willy Taveras, CF5120001 .301
Lance Berkman, 1B4112101 .353
Morgan Ensberg, 3B4110101 .333
Preston Wilson, LF4121111 .226
Jason Lane, RF2000202 .227
Chris Burke, SS4021011 .448
Brad Ausmus, C3010100 .352
Roy Oswalt, P1000003 .125
    Mike Gallo, P0000000 .000
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
   a- Orlando Palmeiro, PH1000000 .067
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
Totals324946312 
a-grounded out for Qualls in the 8th
Batting
2B - Willy Taveras (3, Weathers), Morgan Ensberg (6, Coffey)
HR - Lance Berkman (9, Weathers), Preston Wilson (5, Claussen)
SH - Roy Oswalt 2 (4)
RBI - Lance Berkman 2 (26), Preston Wilson (11), Chris Burke (7)
2-OUT RBI - Chris Burke (3)
Team LOB - 10
Houston Astros
Roy Oswalt (L,4-1) 6833340 2.76
Mike Gallo 0.1111010 10.50
Chad Qualls 0.2311010 7.11
Russ Springer 1000210 4.05
WP - Roy Oswalt (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Oswalt 111-71, Mike Gallo 10-8, Chad Qualls 18-13, Russ Springer 26-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Oswalt 7-6, Russ Springer 1-1
Batters Faced - Roy Oswalt 28, Mike Gallo 2, Chad Qualls 5, Russ Springer 5
Cincinnati Reds
Ryan Freel, CF4010111 .261
Felipe Lopez, SS3000222 .280
Adam Dunn, LF3110210 .263
    David Weathers, P0000000 .000
Rich Aurilia, 3B5230004 .303
Scott Hatteberg, 1B4030002 .327
Austin Kearns, RF3001025 .264
Brandon Phillips, 2B4232001 .356
Jason LaRue, C4011003 .167
Brandon Claussen, P1001000 .000
    Rick White, P0000000 .000
   a- Cody Ross, PH1000010 .467
    Todd Coffey, P0000000 .000
   b- Quinton McCracken, PH-LF1000000 .143
Totals3351255718 
a-struck out for White in the 6th
b-grounded out for Coffey in the 8th
Batting
2B - Brandon Phillips (6, Oswalt)
SF - Austin Kearns (1)
SH - Brandon Claussen (2)
RBI - Austin Kearns (18), Brandon Phillips 2 (20), Jason LaRue (1), Brandon Claussen (1)
2-OUT RBI - Brandon Phillips 2 (11)
SB - Felipe Lopez 2 (9, 2nd base off Oswalt/Ausmus, 2nd base off Springer/Ausmus), Brandon Phillips (2, 2nd base off Oswalt/Ausmus)
CS - Ryan Freel (4, 2nd base by Oswalt/Ausmus)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Ryan Freel 1
DP - F. Lopez-B. Phillips-Hatteberg, F. Lopez-B. Phillips-Hatteberg
E - Brandon Phillips (2, missed catch)
Cincinnati Reds
Brandon Claussen (W,2-2) 5.1622521 6.04
Rick White (H,1) 0.2000000 4.76
Todd Coffey (H,7) 2100110 0.64
David Weathers (S,7) 1222001 4.09
HBP - Biggio (by Brandon Claussen)
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Claussen 97-55, Rick White 6-4, Todd Coffey 34-20, David Weathers 15-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Claussen 10-2, Rick White 2-0, Todd Coffey 3-2
Batters Faced - Brandon Claussen 26, Rick White 2, Todd Coffey 8, David Weathers 5
Game Information
Attendance - 32089
Game Time - 2:58
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Brian Gorman, First Base - Eric Cooper, Second Base - Bill Miller, Third Base - Gerry Davis