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Cincinnati at Houston

Scoreboard
Cincinnati (55-45)000000000030
Houston (40-58) «01000030x490

Rodriguez's strong pitching helps Astros shut out Reds

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros were concerned when Wandy Rodriguez lost six of seven starts earlier this season.

After Sunday's performance, in which he allowed one hit over seven innings for his fifth win in six outings, the team isn't worried about the left-hander anymore.

Hunter Pence and Chris Johnson homered to back Rodriguez, and the Astros beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-0.

"The whole thing when he was struggling was getting him back to how he can really throw," Houston manager Brad Mills said. "It sure looks like he's turning the corner and we've said that his last few starts. Today he kind of showed he's not at that corner now and he's moving on."

Michael Bourn drove in two runs with a double in Houston's three-run seventh to help the Astros avoid a three-game sweep against Cincinnati, which began the day with a half-game lead in the NL Central over St. Louis.

Rodriguez (8-11) struck out seven, Brandon Lyon gave up one hit in the eighth and Matt Lindstrom did the same in the ninth to complete the shutout.

Reds rookie starter Mike Leake (7-2) was perfect in the fifth and sixth innings before Johnson's homer to left field with one out in the seventh made it 2-0. The home run extended his career-best hitting streak to nine games. Jason Castro followed with a single before a pinch-hit double by Jason Michaels chased Leake.

He was replaced by Arthur Rhodes, who gave up the two-run double to Bourn.

"The whole game was, I don't know ... those zeros up there on the scoreboard don't exactly tell the whole story," Leake said. "I wasn't locating very well today, and it just feels like I wasn't able to throw the ball where I wanted to."

The Reds tied a season low with three hits and were shut out for the major league-high 12th time this season. It also was the third consecutive Sunday in which they haven't scored.

"That is strange," manager Dusty Baker said. "When we hit, we are very good. But when we don't score, we don't score at all. Wandy has been really throwing the ball well. ... He was throwing his fastball up and out of the zone, away a lot. He bounces his breaking ball, and that is what he was doing today."

Rodriguez allowed a single to Joey Votto with two outs in the first inning before retiring the next nine batters. He walked Jonny Gomes with two outs in the fourth, but struck out Chris Heisey to end the inning.

"He had command of his fastball and he was able to keep them off his fastball by changing his breaking stuff," Mills said. "It really kept them off balance. When a guy is throwing strikes like that with everything, he's pretty special."

The left-hander walked Miguel Cairo to start the fifth, then reeled off nine straight outs again before being replaced by Lyon for the eighth inning.

"Cincinnati right now is hot hitting, so I tried to make good pitches today and that was the game," Rodriguez said.

The Astros had a chance to extend their lead in the fourth when Castro hit a ball to left field with Jeff Keppinger on second base, but Gomes made a diving catch to end the inning. Gomes barely snagged the ball before it hit the ground and quickly held it up to show he'd caught it before jogging off the field smiling broadly.

Pence's solo homer to the Crawford Boxes in left field in the second inning put Houston up 1-0.

Leake yielded seven hits and four runs while walking three in 6 1/3 innings.

Notes

  • Cincinnati 3B Scott Rolen, who has missed the last eight games with a strained right hamstring, thinks he could be ready to return Monday. Baker isn't so sure. "I've just learned over the years that if a guy tells me tomorrow, I think the day after tomorrow," Baker said. "If he's not 100 percent then
  • I don't want to force it. When I get him back I want him back and not in and out, hopefully."
  • The Astros got RHP Roy Oswalt a replacement of the trophy he won as MVP of the 2005 NLCS after the original award was destroyed when a tornado hit his parents' house in Mississippi in April. The award sat in a large box near his locker Sunday and he said he plans to send it to his parents. In what has become a daily occurrence, Oswalt talked about the possibility of being traded. When asked if he'd be disappointed if he isn't dealt by Saturday's non-waiver deadline, he responded: "I don't know what I'd feel. I've been pretty numb pretty much the last two weeks."
 
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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The Astros' Wandy Rodriguez dominates the Reds by allowing only one hit in seven innings. (Getty Images)
The Astros' Wandy Rodriguez dominates the Reds by allowing only one hit in seven innings. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Houston

M. Bourn
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
Houston

W. Rodriguez
IP 7.0
H 1
ER 0
BB 2
K 7
 

Related Video

Cincinnati Reds
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Brandon Phillips, 2B4000011 .284
Orlando Cabrera, SS4000020 .258
Joey Votto, 1B4020000 .315
Jonny Gomes, LF3000102 .272
Chris Heisey, RF3000011 .286
    Arthur Rhodes, P0000000 .000
    Nick Masset, P0000000 .000
   a- Laynce Nix, PH1000011 .261
Miguel Cairo, 3B2000120 .300
Drew Stubbs, CF3000021 .237
Ryan Hanigan, C3010001 .314
Mike Leake, P2000011 .366
    Jay Bruce, RF1000001 .261
Totals30030210  
a-struck out for Masset in the 9th
Batting
2B - Joey Votto (17, Lindstrom)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Cabrera-Votto, Cairo-Votto
Cincinnati Reds
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Mike Leake (L,7-2) 6.1744332 3.57
Arthur Rhodes 0.2100000 1.59
Nick Masset 1100030 4.57
WP - Nick Masset (6)
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Leake 94-53, Arthur Rhodes 11-6, Nick Masset 15-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Leake 8-6, Arthur Rhodes 1-1, Nick Masset 1-0
Batters Faced - Mike Leake 27, Arthur Rhodes 3, Nick Masset 5
Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Michael Bourn, CF4032010 .254
Anderson Hernandez, SS4000003 .227
Lance Berkman, 1B4000002 .236
Hunter Pence, RF4111021 .268
Carlos Lee, LF4010000 .234
    Matt Lindstrom, P0000000 .000
Jeff Keppinger, 2B2010200 .285
Chris Johnson, 3B4111012 .315
Jason Castro, C3110113 .174
Wandy Rodriguez, P2000012 .270
   a- Jason Michaels, PH1110000 .248
    Brandon Lyon, P0000000 .000
    Jason Bourgeois, LF0000000 .216
Totals3249436  
a-doubled for Rodriguez in the 7th
Batting
2B - Michael Bourn (19, Rhodes), Carlos Lee (16, Leake), Jason Michaels (6, Leake)
HR - Hunter Pence (15, Leake), Chris Johnson (3, Leake)
RBI - Michael Bourn 2 (24), Hunter Pence (48), Chris Johnson (17)
SB - Michael Bourn (30, 2nd base off Leake/Hanigan), Jeff Keppinger (3, 2nd base off Masset/Hanigan)
Team LOB - 7
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Wandy Rodriguez (W,8-11) 7100270 4.80
Brandon Lyon 1100010 3.71
Matt Lindstrom 1100020 2.54
Pitches-Strikes - Wandy Rodriguez 109-74, Brandon Lyon 11-9, Matt Lindstrom 12-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wandy Rodriguez 8-6, Brandon Lyon 2-0
Batters Faced - Wandy Rodriguez 24, Brandon Lyon 4, Matt Lindstrom 4
Game Information
Attendance - 25705
Game Time - 2:25
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Jerry Layne, First Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Second Base - Mike Winters, Third Base - Brian Runge