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Cincinnati at Houston

Cincinnati (50-57)004000000481
Houston (49-56) «30200000x590

Astros 5, Reds 4 wire reports

HOUSTON -- Healthy again, Roy Oswalt got right back to beating the Cincinnati Reds.

Oswalt came off the disabled list and struck out five in the Houston Astros' 5-4 win over the Reds on Monday night.

Oswalt (8-8) won his fifth straight start against Cincinnati and improved to 20-1 in 25 career outings against them, despite giving up a grand slam to Adam Dunn. The Houston ace threw 74 pitches in his first start since aggravating a left hip injury on July 11. He went on the DL on July 19 and was activated just before Monday's game.

He was hoping to throw 80-85 pitches, but felt fatigued by the end of the fifth.

"There wasn't a whole lot of sense to go out there and maybe face one batter and come out," Oswalt said. "We decided the fifth inning was enough."

Oswalt left the July 11 start in Washington after one inning. He had gone at least six innings in 15 of 18 starts before that, but Houston manager Cecil Cooper isn't worried about Oswalt's conditioning right now.

"He's back. That brings a smile to my face," Cooper said. "He's back, he's feeling good and we just thought five was good enough."

Geoff Blum hit his third homer in two days and Jose Valverde pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 27th save. The Astros' bullpen allowed one hit in four scoreless innings as Houston beat Cincinnati for the seventh straight time.

Johnny Cueto (7-10) gave up five runs and eight hits for the Reds, who've lost four in a row and six of their last eight.

The Astros took a 2-0 lead before Cueto recorded his first out.

Kaz Matsui led off with a double and scored on Miguel Tejada's single up the middle. After Lance Berkman walked, Carlos Lee blooped an RBI single to center.

Blum lined out to center and Berkman tagged up from third to make it 3-0. Cueto threw 33 pitches in the first inning.

The Reds had a scoring chance in the second when Brandon Phillips doubled and Dunn singled to put runners at first and third with no outs. Oswalt struck out the next three batters.

"We knew with Oswalt coming off the disabled list, he would be on a limited pitch count," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "We got two runners on in the second, he struck out the side and I got a headache."

Oswalt was surprised how well he located his pitches after the long layoff. Of his 74 pitches, 54 were strikes.

"I thought I'd be kind of all over the strike zone," he said. "I had good command of the curveball and the fastball."

Jay Bruce beat out an infield single to start the Reds' rally in the third. Ken Griffey Jr. singled and Phillips walked to load the bases for Dunn, who came in hitting .324 since the All-Star break.

Dunn hammered the first pitch off the center-field wall, above the yellow line for a home run. The 426-foot shot was Dunn's ninth career grand slam and his second in less than a week. He also hit one on July 23 against San Diego.

It was the second grand slam allowed by Oswalt in his career and the first since Cliff Floyd hit one for the New York Mets at Minute Maid Park on May 14, 2004.

Berkman doubled in the Houston third before Blum homered to right center, his ninth of the season and third in two games. Blum hit a pair in the Astros' 11-6 win over Milwaukee at Miller Park on Sunday.

Last week, Blum watched film of at-bats from earlier in his career. He made an adjustment, then went 3-for-8 in the Milwaukee series over the weekend before his three-RBI night Monday.

"I saw some things I was doing with my hands that are a little different than I'm doing now," he said. "Kind of went back and tried it a little bit and it's obviously working out."

Tim Byrdak, Geoff Geary and Wesley Wright combined to pitch three innings of one-hit relief, paving the way for Valverde.

Berkman made a diving catch on Javier Valentin's liner for the final out.

"It's been a long time since I saw a pitcher leave after the fifth inning with a one-run lead and still win the game," Baker said.


Griffey has an 11-game hitting streak. ... The Astros have won 12 of the last 15 meetings with the Reds. ... The Astros activated Oswalt from the disabled list before the game and optioned RHP Runelvys Hernandez to Triple-A Round Rock. Hernandez started four games and went 0-3 with an 8.38 ERA in 19 1/3 innings. ... Astros CF Michael Bourn sat out with a sprained right ankle. Cooper said Bourn could return to the lineup on Tuesday, but "that's not a for-sure thing."
Copyright 2016 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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Players of the Game

A. Dunn
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1

G. Blum
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1

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Cincinnati Reds
Jay Bruce, CF4110001 .264
Jeff Keppinger, SS4010001 .274
Ken Griffey Jr., RF4110001 .246
Brandon Phillips, 2B3120110 .277
Adam Dunn, LF4124001 .241
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B4000012 .257
Joey Votto, 1B4000012 .270
Paul Bako, C3010012 .219
   a- Javier Valentin, PH1000000 .259
Johnny Cueto, P1000010 .032
   b- Andy Phillips, PH1000000 .154
    Mike Lincoln, P0000000 .000
a-lined out for Bako in the 9th
b-flied out for Cueto in the 7th
2B - Brandon Phillips (19, Oswalt)
HR - Adam Dunn (30, Oswalt)
SH - Johnny Cueto (7)
RBI - Adam Dunn 4 (72)
2-OUT RBI - Adam Dunn 4 (25)
Team LOB - 4
DP - Votto-Keppinger
E - Jay Bruce (3, Throwing)
Cincinnati Reds
Johnny Cueto (L,7-10) 6855131 5.02
Mike Lincoln 2100100 3.33
Pitches-Strikes - Johnny Cueto 110-71, Mike Lincoln 23-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johnny Cueto 7-8, Mike Lincoln 4-1
Batters Faced - Johnny Cueto 27, Mike Lincoln 7
Houston Astros
Kazuo Matsui, 2B4110000 .277
Miguel Tejada, SS3121100 .284
Lance Berkman, 1B3210112 .344
Carlos Lee, LF4011002 .302
Geoff Blum, 3B3123000 .232
    Jose Valverde, P0000000 .000
Hunter Pence, RF4010012 .269
Darin Erstad, CF4010002 .277
Brad Ausmus, C3000002 .244
Roy Oswalt, P2000000 .211
    Tim Byrdak, P0000000 .200
   a- David Newhan, PH1000012 .233
    Geoff Geary, P0000000 .000
    Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
    Ty Wigginton, 3B0000000 .265
a-struck out for Byrdak in the 6th
2B - Kazuo Matsui (19, Cueto), Lance Berkman (31, Cueto)
HR - Geoff Blum (9, Cueto)
SF - Geoff Blum (2)
RBI - Miguel Tejada (49), Carlos Lee (83), Geoff Blum 3 (28)
2-OUT RBI - Geoff Blum 2 (15)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Berkman-Tejada
Houston Astros
Roy Oswalt (W,8-8) 5744151 4.67
Tim Byrdak (H,5) 1000000 2.80
Geoff Geary (H,7) 1.2100000 2.66
Wesley Wright (H,12) 0.1000000 4.62
Jose Valverde (S,27) 1000000 4.66
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Oswalt 74-54, Tim Byrdak 16-10, Geoff Geary 13-9, Wesley Wright 2-1, Jose Valverde 15-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Oswalt 4-5, Tim Byrdak 2-1, Geoff Geary 3-2
Batters Faced - Roy Oswalt 22, Tim Byrdak 3, Geoff Geary 6, Wesley Wright 1, Jose Valverde 3
Game Information
Attendance - 31783
Game Time - 2:28
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Eric Cooper, First Base - Derryl Cousins, Second Base - Delfin Colon, Third Base - Angel Hernandez