Houston at Cincinnati

W: E. Volquez (1-0) L: N. Figueroa (0-1)
HR: HOU - None   CIN - None

Reds rally to improve to 5-0, keep Astros winless

CBSSports.com wire reports

CINCINNATI -- The Big Red Machine sure would be proud.

Brandon Phillips and Paul Janish had three hits apiece Wednesday night, and the Cincinnati Reds overcame a four-run deficit and remained the NL's only unbeaten team with a 12-4 victory against the winless Houston Astros.

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The Reds are 5-0 for the first time since 1990, when they won their last World Series championship. They're brushing away every challenge by scoring at a pace unmatched since the days of Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench and Tony Perez.

The Reds have scored 43 runs through five games, their second-highest total in modern history. The Big Red Machine scored 44 runs in the first five games of its 1976 World Series title season, sweeping Houston 11-5, 13-7 and 9-3 in its opening series.

"Everybody knows what our ballclub can do," said Edinson Volquez (1-0), who got bailed out by another double-digit scoring game. "We scored a lot of runs in the first four games, and we did it again tonight."

Thirty-five years later, Houston is taking another early beating in Cincinnati.

"They seem to take advantage of every little thing, every little mistake the pitcher makes, every ball that falls in," said Nelson Figueroa (0-1), who couldn't hold a four-run lead. "They're very aggressive. It's a testament to the way they played all last year, and they continue to this year.

"You've got to raise the level of your game to compete with that."

Instead, the Astros imploded, committing a season-high five errors while falling to 0-5. They're the only winless team in the NL, three losses away from matching their 0-8 start of last season.

Figueroa had one of the five errors that undercut the fast start. The Reds scored five runs in the third, aided by back-to-back errors, and four more in the sixth.

Volquez had a rough time on opening day, throwing 30 pitches and giving up three runs in the first inning against the Brewers. The Reds rallied for a 7-6 victory on Ramon Hernandez's two-out, three-run homer in the ninth.

The first inning again was a big problem for Volquez, who was on the mound for 23 minutes and 44 pitches this time. The Astros came in batting only .215 with five walks and one stolen base in their first four games.

Houston sent 10 batters to the plate for four runs -- the most it has scored in any of its first five games. Volquez walked three and gave up four singles, including Chris Johnson's two-run hit. The Astros even pulled off a double steal.

"They didn't really get to him," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He was sort of getting to himself. He was more dependent on strikeouts than his defense. He was showing every pitch he had to every batter in the first inning. He trusts his stuff. It's just that he trusts all of it at the same time. He's over-pitching."

Just like opening day, Volquez settled down and the Reds pulled off a big comeback. This one came with one bizarre twist or two.

The Reds sent nine batters to the plate in the third for five runs and a 6-4 lead. Scott Rolen doubled home a pair of runs to get it going.

Then, things got wacky. Figueroa fumbled a comeback grounder for an error that let a run score. Then, the Reds pulled off a double steal and catcher J.R. Towles hit Hernandez's bat as he tried to throw to third to get the runner. The ball skipped out of his hand and bounced into the stands for another run-producing error.

That's how the season has gone for the young Astros.

The Reds batted around again in the sixth for four more runs, aided by another error -- this one by Johnson at third base. Joey Votto had an RBI double, and Phillips bowled over Towles to score from third on a ground ball.


  • Astros manager Brad Mills said reliever Alberto Arias felt fine a day after he threw 60 pitches in a bullpen session. Arias missed last season after shoulder surgery and had tendinitis during spring training. There's no timetable for his return.
  • Houston 2B Bill Hall struck out three times. He's 2 for 19 with nine strikeouts this season.
  • Reds LH Aroldis Chapman threw 23 pitches in the seventh, topping out at 104 mph -- one mph shy of his best from last year.
  • The teams failed to hit a home run for the second successive game. It's only the second time that has happened in Great American Ball Park's nine-year history.
  • Astros CF Michael Bourn left the game in the seventh after his groin tightened as a precaution.
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.
Brandon Phillips follows through on his single in the eighth inning, which gives him the 58th three-hit game of his career. (AP)
Brandon Phillips follows through on his single in the eighth inning, which gives him the 58th three-hit game of his career. (AP)

Players of the Game

B. Phillips
AB 4
R 3
H 3
HR 0

E. Volquez
IP 5.0
H 5
ER 4
BB 5
K 8

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Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF3110124 .211
    Jason Bourgeois, CF1000000 .333
Angel Sanchez, SS3110210 .333
Hunter Pence, RF4000124 .300
Carlos Lee, LF3100112 .222
Bill Hall, 2B4010034 .105
Brett Wallace, 1B3101112 .111
Chris Johnson, 3B4012000 .222
J.R. Towles, C4011010 .250
Nelson Figueroa, P3020000 .667
    Fernando Abad, P0000000 .000
    Mark Melancon, P0000000 .000
   a- Matt Downs, PH1000010 .000
    Enerio Del Rosario, P0000000 .000
a-struck out for Melancon in the 8th
2B - Michael Bourn (2, Volquez)
RBI - Brett Wallace (2), Chris Johnson 2 (2), J.R. Towles (1)
2-OUT RBI - Brett Wallace (1), Chris Johnson 2 (2), J.R. Towles (1)
SB - Michael Bourn (1, 3rd base off Volquez/Hernandez), Angel Sanchez (1, 2nd base off Volquez/Hernandez)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Towles-Johnson-Hall, Sanchez-Hall-Wallace
E - Nelson Figueroa (1, Throwing), Chris Johnson (1, Misplayed grounder), Angel Sanchez 2 (3, Misplayed grounder), J.R. Towles (1, Throwing)
Houston Astros
Nelson Figueroa (L,0-1) 5.111106120 10.13
Fernando Abad 0.1100010 0.00
Mark Melancon 1.1000020 0.00
Enerio Del Rosario 1222200 6.75
Pitches-Strikes - Nelson Figueroa 86-54, Fernando Abad 19-11, Mark Melancon 12-11, Enerio Del Rosario 24-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Nelson Figueroa 7-8, Fernando Abad 1-0, Mark Melancon 3-0, Enerio Del Rosario 2-1
Batters Faced - Nelson Figueroa 29, Fernando Abad 3, Mark Melancon 5, Enerio Del Rosario 7
Cincinnati Reds
Drew Stubbs, CF5111021 .381
Brandon Phillips, 2B4331100 .450
    Francisco Cordero, P0000000 .000
Joey Votto, 1B4221101 .389
Scott Rolen, 3B4113001 .200
    Bill Bray, P0000000 .000
   a- Edgar Renteria, PH-2B1011000 .250
Jay Bruce, RF5221012 .278
Chris Heisey, LF4101113 .250
Ramon Hernandez, C5010004 .357
Paul Janish, SS5132001 .444
Edinson Volquez, P2000012 .000
    Logan Ondrusek, P0000000 .000
   b- Miguel Cairo, PH1100000 .250
    Aroldis Chapman, P0000000 .000
   c- Juan Francisco, PH-3B1000001 .250
a-singled for Bray in the 8th
b-grounded out for Ondrusek in the 6th
c-hit into fielder's choice for Chapman in the 7th
2B - Brandon Phillips (1, Figueroa), Joey Votto (2, Abad), Scott Rolen (2, Figueroa)
RBI - Drew Stubbs (4), Brandon Phillips (4), Joey Votto (4), Scott Rolen 3 (7), Edgar Renteria (1), Jay Bruce (1), Chris Heisey (4), Paul Janish 2 (3)
2-OUT RBI - Paul Janish (1)
SB - Jay Bruce (2, off Figueroa/Towles), Chris Heisey (1, 3rd base off Figueroa/Towles), Paul Janish (1, 2nd base off Figueroa/Towles)
Team LOB - 8
DP - B. Phillips-Votto-Janish
Cincinnati Reds
Edinson Volquez (W,1-0) 5544580 7.36
Logan Ondrusek (H,1) 1100020 0.00
Aroldis Chapman 1100100 0.00
Bill Bray 1000010 0.00
Francisco Cordero 1000010 4.50
Pitches-Strikes - Edinson Volquez 99-58, Logan Ondrusek 13-10, Aroldis Chapman 23-14, Bill Bray 13-12, Francisco Cordero 19-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Edinson Volquez 5-1, Aroldis Chapman 1-2, Bill Bray 1-1, Francisco Cordero 1-1
Batters Faced - Edinson Volquez 24, Logan Ondrusek 4, Aroldis Chapman 5, Bill Bray 3, Francisco Cordero 3
Game Information
Attendance - 17719
Game Time - 3:12
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Tim Welke, First Base - Jim Reynolds, Second Base - Mike DiMuro, Third Base - Andy Fletcher