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Cincinnati at Houston

W: A. Harang (6-4) L: W. Rodriguez (6-3)
HR: CIN - B. Phillips (5), D. Ross (5)   HOU - L. Berkman (15), P. Wilson (6)

Encarnacion, Kearns each drive in four as Reds crush Astros

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

HOUSTON -- The Cincinnati Reds came to Houston having scored only nine runs in their previous three games, losing two. They scored that many runs in three innings against the Astros on Friday night on their way to a lopsided victory.

Edwin Encarnacion and Austin Kearns each had four RBI as the Reds pounced on Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez and rolled to a 14-3 win.

"Our pitchers have been consistent all year, but our hitting hasn't been," Kearns said. "It was definitely nice to get a little cushion."

Brandon Phillips homered and Ken Griffey Jr. had two hits and scored two runs as the Reds beat the Astros in Houston for just the third time in the last 17 meetings.

Lance Berkman and Preston Wilson homered for the Astros, who have lost eight of their last 10 and two straight since Roger Clemens rejoined them on Wednesday.

"These kind of games, you just kind of chalk 'em up to an anomaly," said Berkman, who has 15 homers this season. "There's really nothing you can do. You get down that big that early, it's tough to come back."

Clemens, the seven-time Cy Young Award winner, is working out with the Astros' Class-A affiliate in Lexington, Ky., but dozens of fans in Houston wore Clemens jerseys, wishing he was already here.

Once the game started, they missed him even more.

The first seven Reds reached base against Rodriguez (6-3), who was yanked by manager Phil Garner after just 1 1/3 innings.

The Reds realized quickly that Rodriguez, who started the season 4-0, wasn't throwing his best.

"We were just trying to play ball and look for something to hit," Phillips said. "He was just leaving it out over the plate. He's still a good pitcher."

The Astros trailed 7-0 when the left-handed Rodriguez gave way to right-hander Chris Sampson, who was called up from Triple-A Round Rock earlier Friday.

Sampson gave up a sacrifice fly to Encarnacion in the second and a solo homer to Phillips to open the third.

Sampson, 7-1 with a 2.64 ERA in 10 starts in the minors this season, pitched 5 1/3 innings in his major league debut. He got a standing ovation when he left in the seventh.

"It was indescribable," Sampson said. "It happened so fast, I really didn't have time to think."

Reds starter Aaron Harang (6-4) came in with an NL-best 1.23 ERA on the road. He allowed two runs and five hits with five strikeouts in six innings, beating Houston for the second time this season.

The Reds had been shut out in his previous two starts, but this time they gave him all the runs he needed.

"We were able to get on their starter early," Harang said. "That's nice, because that meant I could settle down and throw my game. And even if I make a mistake, I know it's not going to hurt me."

Phillips led off the game with a single to right, the first of seven hits off Rodriguez. Phillips stole second and went to third when catcher Eric Munson's throw sailed into center field -- the first of three errors for the Astros in the first two innings.

Felipe Lopez walked before Griffey blooped a single to score Phillips, Griffey's 15th RBI in his last 12 games.

Rich Aurilia doubled and Adam Dunn walked to load the bases. Rodriguez got a full count on Kearns, then walked him to make it 3-0. Encarnacion then ripped a double to the gap in right center, scoring two more.

Reds manager Jerry Narron credited Kearns' walk for keeping the big inning alive.

"That was an outstanding at-bat," Narron said. "He laid off some pitches that were very tough."

Lopez and Griffey started the second inning with singles. Lopez was thrown out stealing, but Rodriguez walked Aurilia and Dunn before Kearns had a two-run single to center.

Garner had finally seen enough, pulling Rodriguez for Sampson.

Sampson got the call from the Astros late Thursday night and immediately called his parents.

"I think they called and woke up all of Houston," Sampson said. "It was great. They were very ecstatic."

Harang, meanwhile, retired the first six Astros before walking Jason Lane to open the third. Lane eventually scored on Willy Taveras' single to center, Houston's first hit. Berkman homered in the fourth, his 12th of the season from the left side.

Wilson added a solo shot in the eighth, a towering blast over the railroad tracks in left field.

Pinch-hitter David Ross hit a three-run homer in the ninth for the Reds.

The Astros, opening a 10-game homestand, have lost five of their last seven at Minute Maid Park. Garner is confident the Astros will reverse their skid in the next week.

"Let's reserve a poor start (to the homestand) for a couple games," he said. "But this was not a very good game, obviously. We didn't play very well."


  • The Reds improved to 22-6 when scoring first.
  • With lightning in the area, the retractable roof at the ballpark was closed as the Reds batted in the sixth.
  • Astros 3B Mike Lamb started in place of Morgan Ensberg, who hadn't missed a start since May 2. Garner said he was just resting Ensberg, who leads the team with 17 homers.
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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Reds starter Aaron Harang gets plenty of run support as he improves to 6-4.  (AP)
Reds starter Aaron Harang gets plenty of run support as he improves to 6-4. (AP)

Players of the Game

A. Harang
IP 6.0
H 5
ER 2
BB 2
K 5

E. Encarnacion
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0

Related Video

Cincinnati Reds
Brandon Phillips, 2B6221024
Felipe Lopez, SS4210200
Ken Griffey Jr., CF5221011
    Chris Hammond, P0000000
    David Weathers, P0000000
   a- David Ross, PH1113000
    Esteban Yan, P0000000
Rich Aurilia, 1B5321110
Adam Dunn, LF1300300
   b- Quinton McCracken, PH-LF1000000
Austin Kearns, RF4034110
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B4034011
Jason LaRue, C5000006
Aaron Harang, P3000023
   c- Ryan Freel, PH-CF2110010
a-homered for Weathers in the 9th
b-flied out for Dunn in the 8th
c-struck out for Harang in the 7th
2B - Rich Aurilia 2 (, Rodriguez, Sampson), Austin Kearns (, Miller), Edwin Encarnacion 2 (, Rodriguez, Sampson), Ryan Freel (, Borkowski)
HR - Brandon Phillips (, Sampson), David Ross (, Borkowski)
SF - Edwin Encarnacion ()
RBI - Brandon Phillips (), Ken Griffey Jr. (), David Ross 3 (), Rich Aurilia (), Austin Kearns 4 (), Edwin Encarnacion 4 ()
2-OUT RBI - David Ross 3 (), Austin Kearns (), Edwin Encarnacion ()
SB - Brandon Phillips (, 3rd base off Rodriguez/Munson)
CS - Felipe Lopez (, 3rd base by Rodriguez/Munson)
Team LOB - 8
Cincinnati Reds
Aaron Harang (W,-) 6522251
Chris Hammond 1200000
David Weathers 1111001
Esteban Yan 1000100
Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Harang 103-68, Chris Hammond 16-10, David Weathers 11-8, Esteban Yan 12-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Harang 4-9, Chris Hammond 2-1, David Weathers 1-2, Esteban Yan 1-2
Batters Faced - Aaron Harang 25, Chris Hammond 5, David Weathers 4, Esteban Yan 4
Houston Astros
Willy Taveras, CF5011003
Craig Biggio, 2B3010101
    Dave Borkowski, P0000000
   a- Adam Everett, PH1000001
Mike Lamb, 3B4000015
Lance Berkman, 1B4111010
Preston Wilson, LF4121010
Eric Munson, C4000011
Jason Lane, RF2110101
    Trever Miller, P0000000
   b- Orlando Palmeiro, PH-RF1000000
Eric Bruntlett, SS3010102
Wandy Rodriguez, P0000000
    Chris Sampson, P2000010
    Chris Burke, RF-2B2010001
a-grounded out for Borkowski in the 9th
b-grounded out for Miller in the 8th
HR - Lance Berkman (, Harang), Preston Wilson (, Weathers)
RBI - Willy Taveras (), Lance Berkman (), Preston Wilson ()
2-OUT RBI - Willy Taveras ()
SB - Willy Taveras (, 2nd base off Harang/LaRue)
Team LOB - 8
E - Eric Bruntlett (, Dropped line drive), Eric Munson (, Throwing error), Willy Taveras (, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
Wandy Rodriguez (L,-) 1.1687510
Chris Sampson 5.1633141
Trever Miller 1.1100020
Dave Borkowski 1233121
IBB - Dunn by Chris Sampson
WP - Trever Miller ()
Pitches-Strikes - Wandy Rodriguez 64-33, Chris Sampson 81-55, Trever Miller 15-9, Dave Borkowski 26-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wandy Rodriguez 1-2, Chris Sampson 8-4, Dave Borkowski 1-0
Batters Faced - Wandy Rodriguez 15, Chris Sampson 23, Trever Miller 5, Dave Borkowski 6
Game Information
Attendance - 37086
Game Time - 3:01
Temperature - 86
Umpires - Home - Rick Reed, First Base - Tim Tschida, Second Base - Ted Barrett, Third Base - Laz Diaz