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Reds Capitalize On Hot Start, Take Down 'Stros 7-0

Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Johnny Cueto dealt eight scoreless innings, and Joey Votto slugged his league-leading 25th home run in Cincinnati's 7-0 win over Houston in the middle installment of a three-game set.

Cueto (10-2) allowed four hits while walking one and striking out six for Cincinnati, which has won all five of its games this season in Houston. Jordan Smith finished the shutout by retiring the Astros in turn in the ninth.

Votto slugged a two-run home run in the first inning and finished 2-for-4, while Orlando Cabrera had three hits and scored twice and Laynce Nix added three hits and a pair of runs driven in.

Roy Oswalt (6-12) suffered a rare defeat to the Reds after yielding six runs on nine hits over five frames during which he walked one and struck out three for the Astros, who have dropped three of their last four.

Oswalt, the subject of trade speculation as the deadline looms seven days away, was denied for a second straight start a win that would have tied him with Joe Niekro for the franchise's all-time lead with 144.

Votto's opposite field blast into the Crawford Boxes in left field put the Reds ahead three batters into the game.

Ramon Hernandez led off the second with a long home run to left, his first since June 21, to make it 3-0 in favor of the visitors.

Cabrera and Votto opened the third with singles and scored when Nix lashed a double into right-center. Nix advanced to third on a deep fly out and scored on a two-out single by Hernandez, who was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.

The Astros had only one runner advance to second base through seven innings before putting together a mild threat in the eighth.

Chris Johnson singled and reached second base on a fielding error by Cabrera on a throw from Brandon Phillips, who fielded a Jason Castro grounder and tried to start a double play. However, Cueto got pinch-hitter Jason Bourgeois to pop up, froze Michael Bourn on a called third strike and induced Sanchez to ground out to end the inning and his performance.

Chris Heisey hit his fourth pinch-hit home run of the season off Chris Sampson in the ninth to account for the final margin.

Oswalt had never allowed more than four earned runs in 31 career starts against Cincinnati before Saturday night...He is 23-3 in his career against the Reds but has lost his two starts to them this season and has not beaten them since September 25, 2008...Oswalt made his 303rd career appearance to move past Octavio Dotel into eighth place on the Astros all-time list. Houston has scored 10 runs in 69 innings while Oswalt has been on the mound in his 12 defeats...Cueto beat the Astros for the first time in his career...He had lost his first four decisions to them, including three in Houston...The Reds lead the season series, 7-1...Hernandez has hit three home runs this season against Houston, the other two coming on May 29...Cincinnati improved to 32-11 when scoring first.

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