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Cincinnati at Houston

W: E. Ramirez (4-6) L: T. Buchholz (6-9)
HR: CIN - K. Griffey (20), A. Dunn (31)   HOU - None

Dunn's four RBI back up Ramirez as Reds double up Astros

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

HOUSTON -- Elizardo Ramirez lost count of the consecutive strikeouts he had between the third and fifth innings of the Cincinnati Reds' 8-4 victory over the Houston Astros on Thursday night.

He smiled when someone told him after the game he fanned seven in a row, the most by a Red since John Smiley had seven straight against Colorado in 1996.

"I knew I threw a lot of strikeouts," Ramirez said. "I didn't know how many I had. That's nice."

It was the most consecutive strikeouts since Kerry Wood of the Chicago Cubs fanned seven straight against Atlanta in April 2004.

"I felt very good, my concentration was very good," Ramirez said.

Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. homered and Ramirez also had an RBI double. Dunn went 3-for-3 with four RBI and Ramirez (4-6) went 6 2/3 innings to win for the first time since June 25, allowing six hits and striking out eight.

"Those seven strikeouts, against major league players, that's a pretty awesome feat," Cincinnati manager Jerry Narron. "He had real good velocity on his fastball and his curveball was outstanding."

Lance Berkman, Luke Scott and Eric Munson had RBI singles in the eighth off Reds reliever Billy Bray to make it 6-4, but Todd Coffey came on and struck out Adam Everett to end the inning.

The Astros dropped six games under .500 (48-54) and six games behind the Reds in the crowded NL wild card race.

"We're just not getting on a roll," Houston manager Phil Garner said. "We're not putting anything together."

Dunn and Rich Aurilia added RBI singles in the ninth off Brad Lidge, ending the Houston bullpen's scoreless streak at 27 innings, the longest in the majors this season.

Astros starter Taylor Buchholz (6-9) lasted only two innings as the Reds hammered him from their first at-bat.

Ryan Freel ripped Buchholz's third pitch into the right-field corner for a double and Dunn followed with a liner to left-center for his eighth RBI since the All-Star break.

Griffey then hit his 20th homer of the season and the 556th of his career, a towering two-run drive over the Astros' bullpen in right-center.

That was all the run support Ramirez needed.

"Any time you do that for a pitcher, then you let him go out and make his pitches," Griffey said. "It makes it a lot easier for anybody."

The Reds didn't let up in the second.

Royce Clayton led off with a hard single to left and stole second. Ramirez, a career .100 hitter (3-for-30), then hammered a double -- his first -- to the wall in right. Clayton scored, giving Ramirez his second career RBI.

Dunn, hitting .340 since June 25, then crushed a 3-2 pitch over the fence in center, his 31st. It was Dunn's sixth straight hit in the series after he tied a career high with four hits on Wednesday.

"I just didn't really have a clue where the ball was going," said Buchholz, who threw only 39 pitches. "I was just missing right down the middle, up belt-high. And they were hitting it every time."

Willy Taveras pinch hit for Buchholz in the second, ending the rookie right-hander's shortest outing in 18 career starts. Taveras blooped an RBI single to center to cut Cincinnati's lead to 6-1.

Matt Albers, called up on July 20, relieved Buchholz and retired the Reds in order in the third and fourth. He pitched five scoreless innings, retiring 15 of the 20 batters he faced.

"The first pitch I threw got hit pretty hard, but it went right at a guy," Albers said. "I was like, 'OK, just keep it up and get outs quick."'

The Astros never mustered much against Ramirez, who retired 13 straight after Taveras' hit, striking out the side in the fourth and fifth. Craig Biggio battled Ramirez for 16 pitches, fouling off 11, before striking out on a belt-high fastball to end the fifth.

"That at-bat against Biggio was an outstanding duel," Narron said. "To come away with that one was excellent."

Chris Burke popped out to Clayton leading off the sixth, snapping Ramirez's strikeout string. Berkman grounded out and Aubrey Huff flew out to end the inning after just five pitches from Ramirez.

"He mixed up his pitches well," Reds catcher Javier Valentin said.

Biggio doubled off Reds reliever Gary Majewski to start the Astros' late rally. Burke was hit by a pitch, Bray relieved Majewski and Berkman hit an RBI single off shortstop Clayton's glove. Berkman then left the game, aggravating a left groin injury he suffered on Sunday.

After an out, Scott and Munson had consecutive RBI singles, chasing Bray after two-thirds of an inning. But the comeback stopped there.

"It's always a letdown when you don't win a game," Munson said. "When you get close like that, is it more of a letdown? I mean, I don't know. We have to try to forget about it and come back tomorrow."


  • Griffey recorded his 1,591st RBI, tying Andre Dawson for 24th all-time.
  • Narron earned his 100th win as Reds manager.
  • The Reds improved to 36-10 when they score first, the best percentage in the NL.
  • The Astros have lost seven of nine to the Reds this season.
  • The bullpen's scoreless streak was the Astros' longest since 1989, when they went 29 1/3 innings.
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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Aubrey Huff doesn't seem too impressed as Ken Griffey Jr. trots by after hitting his 20th homer.  (AP)
Aubrey Huff doesn't seem too impressed as Ken Griffey Jr. trots by after hitting his 20th homer. (AP)

Players of the Game

A. Dunn
AB 3
R 3
H 3
HR 1

E. Ramirez
IP 6.2
H 6
ER 1
BB 1
K 8

Related Video

Cincinnati Reds
Ryan Freel, RF5230011 .307
Adam Dunn, LF3334200 .261
Ken Griffey Jr., CF3112202 .237
Rich Aurilia, 3B-1B5011011 .284
Scott Hatteberg, 1B4010010 .325
    Bill Bray, P0000000 .000
    Todd Coffey, P0000000 .000
   a- Dewayne Wise, PH1000002 .143
    Eddie Guardado, P0000000 .000
Javier Valentin, C4010011 .222
Brandon Phillips, 2B4000012 .287
Royce Clayton, SS4110010 .271
Elizardo Ramirez, P3111020 .160
    Brian Shackelford, P0000000 .000
    Gary Majewski, P0000000 .000
    Juan Castro, 3B1000000 .249
a-grounded out for Coffey in the 9th
2B - Ryan Freel (21, Buchholz), Elizardo Ramirez (1, Buchholz)
3B - Ryan Freel (2, Lidge)
HR - Adam Dunn (31, Buchholz), Ken Griffey Jr. (20, Buchholz)
RBI - Adam Dunn 4 (71), Ken Griffey Jr. 2 (55), Rich Aurilia (39), Elizardo Ramirez (2)
2-OUT RBI - Adam Dunn 3 (26), Rich Aurilia (13)
SB - Ryan Freel (23, 2nd base off Albers/Munson), Royce Clayton (11, 2nd base off Buchholz/Munson)
Team LOB - 6
DP - B. Phillips-Clayton-Hatteberg
Cincinnati Reds
Elizardo Ramirez (W,4-6) 6.2611180 4.22
Brian Shackelford 0.1000010 7.30
Gary Majewski0122000 4.37
Bill Bray 0.2311000 3.72
Todd Coffey (H,11) 0.1000010 3.18
Eddie Guardado 1100030 4.40
HBP - Burke (by Gary Majewski)
Pitches-Strikes - Elizardo Ramirez 101-71, Brian Shackelford 7-5, Gary Majewski 5-3, Bill Bray 19-11, Todd Coffey 5-3, Eddie Guardado 17-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Elizardo Ramirez 4-7, Bill Bray 1-1
Batters Faced - Elizardo Ramirez 26, Brian Shackelford 1, Gary Majewski 2, Bill Bray 5, Todd Coffey 1, Eddie Guardado 4
Houston Astros
Craig Biggio, 2B5130012 .272
Chris Burke, CF4100022 .281
Lance Berkman, 1B3011100 .319
    Brandon Backe, PR0000000 .000
    Jason Lane, 1B1000011 .204
Aubrey Huff, 3B4000013 .270
Preston Wilson, LF4110011 .273
Luke Scott, RF4021011 .346
Eric Munson, C4121011 .225
Adam Everett, SS4010024 .241
Taylor Buchholz, P0000000 .034
   a- Willy Taveras, PH1011000 .260
    Matt Albers, P1000010 .000
   b- Mike Lamb, PH1000012 .318
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
   c- Eric Bruntlett, PH1000010 .250
a-singled for Buchholz in the 4th
b-struck out for Albers in the 7th
c-struck out for Wheeler in the 9th
2B - Craig Biggio (27, Majewski), Eric Munson (6, Ramirez)
RBI - Lance Berkman (93), Luke Scott (2), Eric Munson (18), Willy Taveras (23)
2-OUT RBI - Luke Scott (1), Eric Munson (12), Willy Taveras (10)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Huff-Biggio-Berkman, Everett-Berkman
Houston Astros
Taylor Buchholz (L,6-9) 2666012 5.96
Matt Albers 5200340 0.00
Russ Springer 1100030 3.58
Brad Lidge 0.2322100 5.74
Dan Wheeler 0.1000000 3.38
Pitches-Strikes - Taylor Buchholz 39-23, Matt Albers 64-36, Russ Springer 18-13, Brad Lidge 22-11, Dan Wheeler 1-1
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Taylor Buchholz 2-3, Matt Albers 6-3, Brad Lidge 2-0, Dan Wheeler 1-0
Batters Faced - Taylor Buchholz 12, Matt Albers 18, Russ Springer 4, Brad Lidge 6, Dan Wheeler 1
Game Information
Attendance - 38254
Game Time - 3:09
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - C.B. Bucknor, First Base - John Hirschbeck, Second Base - Wally Bell, Third Base - Mark Carlson