Aneury Rodriguez Hopes For Similar Results Against Reds

(Sports Network) - Astros manager Brad Mills came away very pleased with Aneury Rodriguez's first major league start last week. The 23-year-old gets another chance to impress his coach this evening against the club he baffled five days ago as Houston kicks off a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds at Minute Maid Park.

The decision to shift Rodriguez into the rotation last Wednesday in place of Nelson Figueroa looked like a genius move after the right-hander held the Reds to just a single hit -- a one-out triple by Chris Valaika in the third inning -- and one walk in five innings of a no-decision.

Rodriguez, a 2010 Rule 5 selection from the Rays, had made just nine relief appearances before the start and the rookie sports a 4.15 earned run average this year without a decision.

"You couldn't ask for any more the way he threw the ball," Mills said about Rodriguez. "I know he was pumped and he was excited about getting out there and getting his first major league start, and he took it and ran with it. He did a great job."

Reds starter Travis Wood got a first-hand look at Rodriguez as he started opposite the Dominican hurler in Cincinnati's 3-2 win. Wood also got a no- decision after his club rallied late as he allowed two runs on five hits and four walks over six innings while matching a season high with seven strikeouts.

The 24-year-old southpaw hasn't won since his season debut on April 2, going 0-3 in six starts since. He has allowed 19 runs in just 11 2/3 innings of the three setbacks while being charged only with six runs over 19 innings in the three no-decisions.

Wood, 1-3 with a 6.21 ERA on the season, is 0-1 with a 4.00 ERA in three career starts versus the Astros.

Wood toes the rubber one day after Johnny Cueto made a solid 2011 debut, tossing six-plus scoreless innings in a 2-0 victory after starting the season on the disabled list due to irritation in his right biceps/triceps.

"It might have been one of the best I've ever seen him throw, to be honest with you," the Reds' Joey Votto said of Cueto, who won a career-best 12 games last year.

"He looked fantastic. He threw his breaking ball really well. It seemed like they were off balance the entire game. I'm really glad he came back after missing some time and threw so well today."

Drew Stubbs hit a solo homer and Ramon Hernandez knocked in the other run for the Reds, who have won four of five, a span that began with consecutive wins over the Astros on May 4-5. Votto, though, went 0-for-4 to see his streak of reaching base safely in all 33 games this season come to an end. He fell one game shy of Dave Collins' club record to start the 1981 season.

Votto will try to bounce back against an Astros club that has lost four of its last five. Houston rallied past Pittsburgh on Sunday, erasing a two-run deficit with a three-run seventh inning that was sparked by Chris Johnson's solo homer before adding another run in the top of the eighth inning when Brett Wallace's sacrifice fly brought home Carlos Lee.

However, Fernando Abad served up a go-ahead, three-run homer to Pittsburgh's Ryan Doumit in the bottom of the eighth inning on the way to a 5-4 setback.

"We're playing well right now. We just got to figure out a way to make sure that we get these wins in these close ball games. We're playing a lot of close ball games," Johnson said of their recent struggles.

Houston's Hunter Pence did extend his hitting streak to 12 straight games in the loss, batting .340 (17-for-50) over the run with a homer and 10 RBI. He is 4-for-9 versus Wood lifetime with a home run and four RBI.

The Reds have already taken four of six from the Astros so far this season, but the clubs are meeting for the first time in Houston this week. Cincinnati has won 11 of the past 16 played at Minute Maid Park.

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