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Cincinnati at Houston

Scoreboard
Cincinnati «00110100012680
Houston01001001010481

Freel's second homer lifts Reds past Astros for sweep

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

HOUSTON -- Ryan Freel was relieved to learn that Houston ace Roy Oswalt was out with back spasms, and he took advantage of his absence.

Freel hit his second homer of the game in the 11th inning to lift the Cincinnati Reds over the Astros 6-4 Sunday, completing a three-game sweep.

Freel's two-out, two-run homer off Russ Springer completed the first multihomer game of his career. David Ross, who drew a pinch-hit walk, scored on Freel's drive to left.

"The key situation in this game was that Roy Oswalt didn't pitch," said Freel, who had just two home runs this season entering Sunday's game. "He's 15-1 against us. He's on a pretty good run when he just has been lights out against us.

"I was happy to see he wasn't pitching. That was a plus for us, that's for sure."

Todd Coffey (3-0) allowed two hits and one run in the 10th inning for Cincinnati, which swept a series in Houston for the first time since June 1999. It also breaks a streak of seven straight series losses in Houston for the Reds.

"They've got a lot of heart," Reds manager Jerry Narron said of the Astros. "I'm just pleased to get these three wins. We've had trouble getting one in here sometimes."

Felipe Lopez hit an RBI double in the 10th inning to put Cincinnati ahead 4-3 before Chris Burke's run-scoring double in the bottom half tied it. Burke also singled in a run in the eighth to tie the game at 3.

Burke's double in the 10th off Coffey scored Craig Biggio, who reached by hitting his 625th career double to pass Hank Aaron for ninth on the career list.

Esteban Yan, acquired from the Angels on Tuesday, got his first save after allowing one hit in the 11th. Eric Munson grounded into double play to end the game.

Dan Wheeler (0-4) gave up one hit and two runs in 1 1/3 innings for the loss.

With one out in the ninth, Scott Hatteberg reached first on an error by shortstop Eric Bruntlett before a single by Javier Valentin. Houston closer Brad Lidge struck out Edwin Encarnacion and Rich Aurilia to end the inning.

Austin Kearns hit his second home run off Trever Miller in the sixth give the Reds a 3-2 lead. It was the third career multihomer game for Kearns and his first this season.

Biggio's bases-loaded sacrifice fly scored Brad Ausmus in the fifth and tied it at 2. Ken Griffey Jr. stretched to make an impressive diving catch just in front of the wall in left-center to retire Biggio.

Freel also homered in the third and Kearns hit his first drive in the fourth as Cincinnati led 2-1 after four.

Burke said the team has to find a way to turn things around after losing nine of the last 11 games.

"It's frustrating after a road trip to come home and get swept," he said. "We need to start playing better ball all the way around."

Fernando Nieve started after Oswalt was scratched from the lineup just two minutes before the scheduled start of the game. The game was pushed back 10 minutes because of the change.

Nieve allowed four hits and two runs in five innings while striking out two.

Reds starter Elizardo Ramirez rebounded from his last outing, where he gave up a career-high nine hits in a 7-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs. He allowed three hits and two runs in six innings.

"I'm really pleased with how Ramirez threw," Narron said. "The way he pitched early saved the game for us."

Houston took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Morgan Ensberg hit his 18th home run.

The Astros have lost four in a row to drop to three games under .500 (27-30) for the first time this season. Sunday's game was their fourth extra-inning game in the last eight and the sixth of the season.

"We've had a couple of those heartbreakers lately," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "If we're tough we'll come through it. If we're not we won't. But I have a feeling we will."

Notes

  • Griffey and Freel have six-game hitting streaks.
  • The Reds have won four straight.
  • The Astros have lost three straight at home, matching their longest home losing skid of the season.
 
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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Ryan Freel's two-run homer in the 11th inning gives the Reds a 6-4 lead.  (AP)
Ryan Freel's two-run homer in the 11th inning gives the Reds a 6-4 lead. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cincinnati

A. Kearns
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 2
Houston

M. Ensberg
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Cincinnati Reds
Ryan Freel, 2B-3B5323110 .265
Felipe Lopez, SS5011110 .276
Ken Griffey Jr., CF4010100 .274
Adam Dunn, LF5000044 .236
Scott Hatteberg, 1B4000000 .275
    Brandon Phillips, PR-2B1000012 .298
Austin Kearns, RF4222003 .291
Javier Valentin, C5010011 .229
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B4010013 .273
    Kent Mercker, P0000000 .000
    Todd Coffey, P0000000 .000
   a- David Ross, PH0100100 .333
    Esteban Yan, P0000000 .000
Elizardo Ramirez, P2000001 .154
   b- Quinton McCracken, PH1000000 .175
    Chris Hammond, P0000000 .000
    David Weathers, P0000000 .000
   c- Rich Aurilia, PH-1B2000013 .254
Totals4268641017 
a-walked for Coffey in the 11th
b-grounded out for Ramirez in the 7th
c-struck out for Weathers in the 9th
Batting
2B - Felipe Lopez (10, Wheeler), Edwin Encarnacion (19, Nieve)
HR - Ryan Freel 2 (3, Nieve, Springer), Austin Kearns 2 (12, Nieve, Miller)
RBI - Ryan Freel 3 (10), Felipe Lopez (20), Austin Kearns 2 (38)
2-OUT RBI - Ryan Freel 2 (5), Austin Kearns (13)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Encarnacion-Freel-Hatteberg, Freel-B. Phillips-Aurilia
Cincinnati Reds
Elizardo Ramirez 6322241 3.95
Chris Hammond (H,3) 1000000 4.66
David Weathers (BS,5) 1211010 3.54
Kent Mercker 1000010 6.94
Todd Coffey (BS,1; W,3-0) 1211100 1.97
Esteban Yan (S,1) 1100010 6.29
IBB - Berkman by Todd Coffey
HBP - Lane (by Elizardo Ramirez)
Pitches-Strikes - Elizardo Ramirez 84-55, Chris Hammond 11-6, David Weathers 11-8, Kent Mercker 9-6, Todd Coffey 19-9, Esteban Yan 7-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Elizardo Ramirez 3-10, Chris Hammond 1-2, David Weathers 2-0, Kent Mercker 1-1, Todd Coffey 2-1, Esteban Yan 1-0
Batters Faced - Elizardo Ramirez 23, Chris Hammond 3, David Weathers 5, Kent Mercker 3, Todd Coffey 6, Esteban Yan 3
Houston Astros
Craig Biggio, 2B3111000 .284
Chris Burke, CF-RF5022012 .288
Lance Berkman, 1B3000221 .294
Morgan Ensberg, 3B4111002 .266
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
    Willy Taveras, CF1000002 .263
Preston Wilson, LF5000021 .262
Brad Ausmus, C5130000 .306
Jason Lane, RF3000011 .194
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
   a- Eric Munson, PH1000001 .269
Eric Bruntlett, SS4000002 .311
Fernando Nieve, P1000010 .167
   b- Orlando Palmeiro, PH0000100 .227
    Trever Miller, P0000000 .000
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
   c- Mike Lamb, PH-3B2110000 .348
Totals374843712 
a-grounded into a double play for Springer in the 11th
b-walked for Nieve in the 5th
c-singled for Qualls in the 8th
Batting
2B - Craig Biggio (21, Coffey), Chris Burke (8, Coffey)
3B - Brad Ausmus (1, Ramirez)
HR - Morgan Ensberg (18, Ramirez)
SF - Craig Biggio (3)
SH - Craig Biggio (1)
RBI - Craig Biggio (21), Chris Burke 2 (11), Morgan Ensberg (38)
2-OUT RBI - Chris Burke (4)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Eric Bruntlett (4, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
Fernando Nieve 5422122 5.19
Trever Miller 1111021 4.86
Chad Qualls 2000020 3.55
Brad Lidge 1100020 5.06
Dan Wheeler (L,0-4) 1.1122320 5.11
Russ Springer 0.2111001 3.43
IBB - Griffey by Dan Wheeler
HBP - Kearns (by Fernando Nieve)
Pitches-Strikes - Fernando Nieve 89-53, Trever Miller 14-11, Chad Qualls 19-12, Brad Lidge 21-13, Dan Wheeler 49-27, Russ Springer 21-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Fernando Nieve 5-8, Chad Qualls 4-0, Brad Lidge 1-1, Dan Wheeler 1-1, Russ Springer 1-1
Batters Faced - Fernando Nieve 21, Trever Miller 4, Chad Qualls 6, Brad Lidge 5, Dan Wheeler 8, Russ Springer 3
Game Information
Attendance - 37532
Game Time - 3:39
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Ted Barrett, First Base - Laz Diaz, Second Base - Rick Reed, Third Base - Tim Tschida