Houston at Cincinnati

Houston (75-83) «100000100280
Cincinnati (88-70)000000000071

Astros 2, Reds 0

CBSSports.com wire reports

CINCINNATI -- Clinching a division championship caught up with the Cincinnati Reds a day later.

Carlos Lee had three hits and Nelson Figueroa took advantage of a Cincinnati lineup missing all of its regulars as the Houston Astros beat the newly crowned NL Central champions 2-0 Wednesday.

Postseason Chase

Manager Dusty Baker rested every one of his starting position players on the day after the Reds clinched their first division championship and postseason berth since 1995.

"I haven't seen too many teams win the day after they clinched," Baker said. "[Thursday], most of the team will be out there. We were so high [Tuesday]. You've got to pick yourself back up he next day."

Figueroa (6-4), who had been 0-2 in his previous three starts, capitalized with 6 2/3 shutout innings. He allowed six hits and three walks.

"It was one of those things where I knew a few of those hitters from playing against them," Figueroa said. "There were a bunch of guys I have never gotten a chance to face. As the pitcher, you have the advantage. My biggest thing was to get ahead of them and put them away early."

Wilton Lopez relieved with a runner on base and struck out pinch-hitter Jay Bruce, whose game-ending home run Tuesday night clinched Cincinnati's division title.

Fernando Abad pitched a perfect eighth and Brandon Lyon allowed a single in the ninth for his 20th save in 22 chances. Matt Lindstrom has 23 saves, making Houston the fifth team in major league history with two pitchers recording at least 20 saves in the same season. The last was the 1992 Reds, who had Norm Charlton with 26 and Rob Dibble with 25.

Houston manager Brad Mills appreciated the versatility.

"Anytime you can get a guy at the back end of the game that you have confidence in, it's pretty special," Mills said. "We have two guys with 20 saves. That just doesn't happen. I think we're the fifth team in baseball to have it happen. It goes to show how special it really is."

Johnny Cueto (12-7), who allowed a season-high eight runs in 1 1/3 innings of his previous start at Milwaukee, bounced back to give up one earned run in seven innings.

"Today, I was more calm," Cueto said. "My level of concentration was better."

Cueto finished with exactly 100 pitches, 64 of them for strikes, in his postseason tuneup. He allowed eight hits, walked none and struck out four. He also was called for a balk while slipping to 0-3 in his last six starts since beating the Cubs on Aug. 27.

"It doesn't bother me," he said. "I just do my job. The other parts of the team have to do their jobs. I feel good because I've done my job."

Baker hopes Cueto's winless stretch ends at what would be the perfect time for the Reds.

"What's it been, a month?" he wondered. "We've been trying to get him off those 12 wins. He's due for a real long streak."

The Reds went into the game with the fourth-best record among the five teams that either had clinched playoff berths or were still in contention. They were a game behind San Francisco in the race for the second-best record.

Cincinnati, the league leader in most of the key hitting categories, was shut out for the 13th time this season. The shutout win was Houston's 10th.

The Astros took a 1-0 lead in the first on doubles by former Red Jeff Keppinger and Lee. They widened their lead to 2-0 in the seventh when Lee led off with a single and moved to second on Chris Johnson's sharp one-hopper off Cueto's left ankle. Lee continued to third when rookie first baseman Yonder Alonso fielded the carom and threw the ball away trying to toss the ball behind his back to Cueto. Lee scored on Brett Wallace's grounder.


Reds RHP Mike Leake is done for the season, Baker said. Cincinnati's top 2009 draft pick hasn't pitched since Aug. 24 because of fatigue in his right shoulder. "There's not enough time for him to get ready," said Baker, adding that Leake will travel with the team. ... Bruce on Tuesday joined Bobby Thomson (Giants, 1951), Hank Aaron (Braves, 1957), Alfonso Soriano (Yankees, 1999) and Steve Finley (Dodgers, 2004) as the only players in major league history to hit a home run that clinched their team's postseason berth, according to Elias Sports Bureau. ... Cincinnati's Laynce Nix, plagued by a sprained left ankle, had two hits in his first start since Aug. 23 in left field.

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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Players of the Game

J. Cueto
IP 7.0
H 8
ER 1
BB 0
K 4

C. Lee
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0

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Houston Astros
Jason Bourgeois, CF4010000 .226
Jeff Keppinger, 2B4110001 .291
Hunter Pence, RF4000022 .284
Carlos Lee, LF4131000 .248
    Brian Bogusevic, LF0000000 .278
Chris Johnson, 3B4010002 .315
Brett Wallace, 1B3001010 .221
Angel Sanchez, SS3020011 .280
Jason Castro, C3000003 .204
Nelson Figueroa, P2000010 .188
    Wilton Lopez, P0000000 .000
   a- Anderson Hernandez, PH1000000 .221
    Fernando Abad, P0000000 .000
    Brandon Lyon, P0000000 .000
a-flied out for Lopez in the 8th
2B - Jeff Keppinger (34, Cueto), Carlos Lee (29, Cueto)
RBI - Carlos Lee (88), Brett Wallace (11)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Lee (39)
Team LOB - 3
Houston Astros
Nelson Figueroa (W,6-4) 6.2600350 3.52
Wilton Lopez (H,14) 0.1000010 3.06
Fernando Abad (H,6) 1000000 3.06
Brandon Lyon (S,20) 1100000 3.20
WP - Nelson Figueroa 2 (6)
Pitches-Strikes - Nelson Figueroa 104-69, Wilton Lopez 4-3, Fernando Abad 13-9, Brandon Lyon 19-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Nelson Figueroa 5-9, Fernando Abad 2-1, Brandon Lyon 3-0
Batters Faced - Nelson Figueroa 28, Wilton Lopez 1, Fernando Abad 3, Brandon Lyon 4
Cincinnati Reds
Willie Bloomquist, RF-2B3020100 .269
    Sam LeCure, P0000000 .091
Chris Valaika, 2B3000012 .265
   a- Jay Bruce, PH-RF1000011 .274
Yonder Alonso, 1B3000012 .174
   b- Brandon Phillips, PH-2B1000000 .271
Juan Francisco, 3B3010000 .260
   c- Scott Rolen, PH-3B1000000 .290
Chris Heisey, CF4020011 .256
Laynce Nix, LF3020111 .296
    Drew Stubbs, PR0000000 .251
Paul Janish, SS2000103 .265
   d- Orlando Cabrera, PH1000001 .262
Corky Miller, C3000004 .239
   e- Ramon Hernandez, PH1000001 .296
Johnny Cueto, P2000010 .111
   f- Miguel Cairo, PH1000000 .288
    Jordan Smith, P0000000 .000
    Joey Votto, 1B1000001 .325
a-struck out for Valaika in the 7th
b-grounded out for Alonso in the 8th
c-flied out for Francisco in the 8th
d-grounded out for Janish in the 9th
e-grounded out for Miller in the 9th
f-popped out for Cueto in the 7th
SB - Chris Heisey (1, 2nd base off Figueroa/Castro), Drew Stubbs (28, 2nd base off Lyon/Castro)
CS - Juan Francisco (1, 2nd base by Figueroa/Castro)
Team LOB - 9
DP - Alonso-Janish, Valaika-Janish-Alonso
E - Yonder Alonso (2, Throwing)
Cincinnati Reds
Johnny Cueto (L,12-7) 7821040 3.64
Jordan Smith 1000000 3.38
Sam LeCure 1000010 4.31
Pitches-Strikes - Johnny Cueto 100-64, Jordan Smith 11-7, Sam LeCure 13-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johnny Cueto 9-5, Jordan Smith 1-2, Sam LeCure 2-0
Batters Faced - Johnny Cueto 26, Jordan Smith 3, Sam LeCure 3
Game Information
Attendance - 14760
Game Time - 2:32
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Scott Barry, First Base - Jerry Meals, Second Base - Tim McClelland, Third Base - Dan Iassogna