Houston Looks To Win First Series With Reds This Season

Houston looks to get a bitter sweep by Milwaukee in its past against the Reds at Minute Maid Park this week.

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Houston Looks To Win First Series With Reds This Season

(Sports Network) – The Reds refuse to count themselves out in the National League Central race. More games like the one they had on Tuesday and neither will the rest of the division.

Cincinnati goes for a series victory over Houston tonight at Minute Maid Park looking for its eighth victory in 12 meetings with the Astros this season.

Coming off a three-game sweep of the defending World Series champion Giants, the Reds dropped an extra-inning game to the last-place Astros to begin this set, but rebounded with a convincing 5-1 victory last night.

Fresh off one of the worst starts of his career, Homer Bailey limited Houston to a run and five hits over eight innings and Edgar Renteria supplied the big blow in a five-run fifth with a grand slam.

The Reds, who were swept in four games at home by the Mets prior to their series with the Giants, remained 6 1/2 games behind first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central despite currently being two games under .500.

“I think everybody in this room still believes we have a chance to make the playoffs,” Bailey said. “That’s the ultimate goal.”

Wandy Rodriguez lasted five innings for the Astros and gave up all five runs. He did become the franchise’s all-time strikeouts leader by a lefty with 947, but it was a pitch to Renteria that spoiled the milestone.

“Renteria put a good swing on a fastball inside, that’s basically what happened,” Houston catcher Carlos Corporan said.

Luis Durango went 1-for-4 with an RBI for the Astros, who have dropped four of their last five.

Tonight’s finale could feature a long-awaited first victory for either the Reds’ Dontrelle Willis or Astros rookie Jordan Lyles.

Willis will make his fifth start since joining the rotation on July 10. He hasn’t factored into the decision of his last two starts and faced the Giants on Friday. The 29-year-old southpaw gave up two runs on six hits and a pair of walks over six innings, giving him an 0-1 mark and 3.52 earned run average this season.

Willis, who is still looking for his first victory since June 5 of last year, is 3-2 with a 2.61 ERA in seven career starts against the Astros.

Lyles, meanwhile, takes a 12th shot at winning his first game in the majors. The Astros right-hander has gone 0-6 with a 4.41 ERA on the season, but did pitch well enough to win last time out.

Lyles held the Brewers to two runs on six hits over six innings, but the gloom was already in the air as Hunter Pence was traded during the game. Both the runs Lyles allowed came right after Pence was pulled from the game in the fifth inning and Houston ended up getting shut out, 4-0.

“I still had to pitch. The game wasn’t going to stop just because he got traded,” Lyles said on Houston’s website.

The 20-year-old faces the Reds for the first time and is 0-3 with a 4.02 ERA in five games at home this season.

Should Houston fall behind early, it may have a tough time rallying given Aroldis Chapman’s current run out of the bullpen for Cincinnati. The hard- throwing lefty tossed a perfect ninth inning last night and has thrown 9 2/3 consecutive hitless frames. He has walked just one during that stretch, which dates back to July 18.

The Reds are 29-13 in this series since the start of the 2009 season.

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Wandy Tries To Show Astros Why They Should Hold Onto Him

(Sports Network) – Though his name was mentioned in numerous trade rumors, Wandy Rodriguez is still an Astro. He draws the start tonight and will try to guide Houston to another victory over the Cincinnati Reds this evening in the second contest of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park.

While outfielders Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn found new homes prior to Sunday’s deadline, the Astros elected not to move Rodriguez, with reports saying that the three-year, $34 million contract he signed before this season made it difficult to deal the lefty. So, Houston held on to its starter, who is 7-7 with a 3.47 earned run average in 19 games this season.

Rodriguez, who could still be traded if he clears waivers, snapped a three- decision losing streak on Thursday by beating the Cardinals, 5-3. The 32-year- old allowed three runs over seven innings, but only one was earned. He also struck out six and retired the final 13 batters faced.

“Wandy was super. He didn’t let the unearned runs bother him,” Astros manager Brad Mills said.

Rodriguez brings a career 7-7 record and 4.06 ERA against the Reds into this matchup and that includes a no-decision on May 11. He was charged with three runs over seven innings, giving up solo homers to Chris Heisey and Drew Stubbs.

Houston drew first blood in this series last night with a 4-3 victory in extra innings, just the club’s third win in its last 11 games. Jose Altuve knocked in the winning run, grounding a ball to second with the bases loaded. The Reds’ Brandon Phillips fired home, but catcher Ryan Hanigan dropped the throw.

Humberto Quintero scored the winning run to cap a two-hit game and Jimmy Paredes hit a two-run triple in his first major league plate appearance.

Joey Votto smacked an RBI double and Stubbs added two hits for the Reds, who were coming off a three-game sweep of the Giants and now turn to a starter in Homer Bailey who is coming off one of the worst starts of his career.

Bailey failed to secure a third straight victory on Thursday, when he was hammered for a career-high nine runs along with 12 hits over four-plus innings versus the Mets. The right-hander had allowed just three runs over his previous two outings, but passed that total by the fourth inning.

“It was a matter of not making pitches,” said Bailey after the 10-9 loss. “Bottom line is I didn’t get the job done today. Our offense scored enough runs.”

Bailey fell to 5-5 in 11 starts this season while watching his ERA jump from 3.67 to 4.68. His 2011 season does include a victory over the Astros on May 10, when he logged seven scoreless frames and struck out five to move to 2-0 lifetime versus Houston with a 1.45 ERA.

Votto’s hot hitting could help Bailey tonight. The reigning NL MVP has hit in seven straight, including five two-hit games, and has driven in 10 runs in that span. He is hitting .353 (12-for-34) in his career versus Rodriguez, but has never homered off him.

The Reds have taken six of 10 from the Astros this year and are 28-13 in this series since the start of the 2009 season.

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