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Cincinnati at Houston

Scoreboard
Cincinnati (74-84)0000000000100
Houston (83-74) «20000003x590

Astros keep slim playoff hopes alive with shutout win over Reds

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- Randy Wolf has made a big impression on the Houston Astros in a short period of time.

Wolf pitched 6 2/3 strong innings, Lance Berkman hit a two-run homer and the Astros beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 on Wednesday to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

Houston pulled within 3½ games of the wild card with four games left on its schedule, trailing New York and Milwaukee for the top spot.

"This one was a good one for us," manager Cecil Cooper said. "We live to dance a few more days. We just have to keep winning and hope for divine intervention."

Wolf (12-12) allowed eight hits, struck out seven and walked two, improving to 6-2 in 12 starts since being acquired from the Padres on July 22.

"He has been unbelievable," Berkman said. "He's a guy I've always had respect for and wanted us to sign. He has really solidified our pitching staff.

"I think he and LaTroy (Hawkins) are probably the two biggest reasons we are where we're at right now."

Cooper agreed.

"He has been a nice, nice addition for us," he said. "I think only two outings has he not been up to par. His command was a little bit off tonight but he made pitches when he had to."

Cincinnati put runners in scoring position in the second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings but Wolf managed to work his way out of trouble every time.

"It was definitely a tough one for me," Wolf said. "It seemed like I got two quick outs several times and then it would be crunch time. I was lucky enough to get out of those jams."

Geoff Geary, Hawkins and Doug Brocail pitched the final 2 1/3 innings and allowed only two hits. Hawkins has not yielded an earned run in 22 games spanning 19 innings since coming to the Astros from the Yankees on July 30.

Cincinnati's Ramon Ramirez (1-1) went five innings and allowed two runs and four hits in his fourth major league start.

"Ramirez got a little changeup happy in the first inning and he got one up high to Berkman," manager Dusty Baker said. "He located his pitches much better after the first inning."

Ramirez said his location improved after the first inning.

"The changeup was a high, hard changeup to Berkman," he said. "I was hoping for a groundball or a weak flyball, but I got it up too high.

"I made that one mistake. After that, I was fine."

Berkman drove in Kazuo Matsui with a two-out drive to left in the first inning. It was his 29th homer of the season.

Notes

  • Houston RHP Chris Sampson said an MRI revealed a slight tear in his lateral tendon in his injured right elbow. Sampson said he will be available for the rest of the season, then decide whether to have surgery or rehab the elbow. He said he has pitched with some pain for some time.
  • Berkman's homer was his 44th against the Reds, surpassing Alex Rodriguez's 43 against the Angels as the most by any player against a single opponent since 2001.
  • Matsui went 2-for-4 and is hitting .417 (10-for-24) since returning from the disabled list Sept. 16. It was the Astros' NL-best 13th shutout.
  • Quintero's hit stopped an 0-for-22 streak.
  • Cincinnati's Joey Votto went 2-for-3 and has two or more hits in six of his last seven games.
 
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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Lance Berkman trots around the bases after his 29th homer, a two-run shot in the first inning. (AP)
Lance Berkman trots around the bases after his 29th homer, a two-run shot in the first inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cincinnati

P. Janish
AB 3
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
Houston

L. Berkman
AB 3
R 2
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Cincinnati Reds
Jay Bruce, RF5020020 .259
Jeff Keppinger, 2B5010002 .266
Joey Votto, 1B3020101 .292
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B4000015 .253
Jolbert Cabrera, LF4000032 .245
Ryan Hanigan, C4010010 .266
Corey Patterson, CF4020000 .206
Paul Janish, SS3020100 .197
Ramon Ramirez, P2000014 .100
   a- Adam Rosales, PH1000001 .208
    Jeremy Affeldt, P0000000 .000
    Mike Lincoln, P0000000 .000
    Danny Herrera, P0000000 .000
    Josh Roenicke, P0000000 .000
    Bill Bray, P0000000 .000
   b- Danny Richar, PH1000000 .222
Totals36010028  
a-flied out for Ramirez in the 6th
b-grounded out for Bray in the 9th
Batting
2B - Jay Bruce (16, Wolf), Joey Votto (31, Wolf), Paul Janish (2, Wolf)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Encarnacion-Keppinger-Votto
Cincinnati Reds
Ramon Ramirez (L,1-1) 5422341 2.67
Jeremy Affeldt 1000010 3.48
Mike Lincoln 0.2200010 4.52
Danny Herrera 0.2233110 9.53
Josh Roenicke 0.1100110 5.40
Bill Bray 0.1000010 2.76
Pitches-Strikes - Ramon Ramirez 88-55, Jeremy Affeldt 12-8, Mike Lincoln 14-10, Danny Herrera 26-16, Josh Roenicke 13-8, Bill Bray 4-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ramon Ramirez 5-4, Jeremy Affeldt 2-0, Danny Herrera 1-0
Batters Faced - Ramon Ramirez 20, Jeremy Affeldt 3, Mike Lincoln 4, Danny Herrera 5, Josh Roenicke 3, Bill Bray 1
Houston Astros
Kazuo Matsui, 2B4120013 .294
Michael Bourn, CF3000110 .223
Miguel Tejada, SS4110001 .286
Lance Berkman, 1B3212100 .314
Geoff Blum, 3B3110120 .236
Hunter Pence, RF2011201 .270
Ty Wigginton, LF4010014 .286
    Doug Brocail, P0000000 .000
Humberto Quintero, C4012023 .211
Randy Wolf, P2000011 .138
    Geoff Geary, P0000000 .000
   a- David Newhan, PH1010000 .257
    LaTroy Hawkins, P0000000 .000
   b- Darin Erstad, PH-LF1000012 .275
Totals3159559  
a-singled for Geary in the 7th
b-struck out for Hawkins in the 8th
Batting
HR - Lance Berkman (29, Ramirez)
RBI - Lance Berkman 2 (104), Hunter Pence (81), Humberto Quintero 2 (12)
2-OUT RBI - Lance Berkman 2 (41), Humberto Quintero 2 (9)
SB - Kazuo Matsui (20, 2nd base off Ramirez/Hanigan), Hunter Pence (11, 2nd base off Ramirez/Hanigan)
CS - Kazuo Matsui (5, 2nd base by Ramirez/Hanigan)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Michael Bourn 1
Houston Astros
Randy Wolf (W,12-12) 6.2800270 4.30
Geoff Geary (H,12) 0.1000000 2.31
LaTroy Hawkins (H,11) 1100010 3.90
Doug Brocail 1100000 3.99
Pitches-Strikes - Randy Wolf 111-72, Geoff Geary 1-1, LaTroy Hawkins 9-6, Doug Brocail 14-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Randy Wolf 7-6, LaTroy Hawkins 1-0, Doug Brocail 1-2
Batters Faced - Randy Wolf 30, Geoff Geary 1, LaTroy Hawkins 3, Doug Brocail 4
Game Information
Attendance - 26103
Game Time - 3:03
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Bill Miller, First Base - Jerry Meals, Second Base - Gary Darling, Third Base - Paul Emmel