The Reds continued to a four-game winning streak and handed Roy Oswalt a loss for the first time last night with a 5-4 win over the Astros.
Lefty Brandon “The Pickle” Claussen pitched five and a third innings, allowing two runs (earned) on six hits to get the win. He struck out two, walked five, and hit Biggio to prove that lucky is, indeed, better than good.
Rick White, of all people, took over for Claussen in the sixth and didn't allow a hit to the two batters he faced. Todd Coffey sprinted in for the seventh and eighth innings and kept the Astros quiet with just a hit and a walk. David Weathers pitched in the ninth, allowing two runs (earned) on two hits to get the save.
Brandon Phillips, who must be starting to singe from being on fire so long, got the Reds on the board in the second inning when he hit a double and Jason LaRue knocked him in. Score: 0-1.
The Astros tied it up in the top of the fourth when Morgan Ensberg took a walk and Chris Burke knocked him in two batters later. Claussen would yield three walks in the fourth inning, but allow only one run. Score: 1-1.
The Reds came back in the bottom of the fourth, though. Phillips singled to lead off the inning, stole second while LaRue batted, advanced to third on LaRue's groundout, and scored on Claussen's groundout. Ryan Freel would provide one more hit in the inning, but just one was all Phillips needed to take back the lead. Score: 2-1.
By the way, though it didn't affect the score today, Felipe Lopez also successfully stole two bases, to take the lead in stolen bases with nine to Ryan Freel's eight. I might also point out that Lopez hasn't been caught stealing yet, while Freel has been caught four times.
In the bottom of the fifth, Rich Aurilia singled, moved to third on Scott Hatteberg's outfield hit, and scored on Austin Kearns' sacrifice fly. Score: 3-1.
Preston Wilson led off the top of the sixth with a 2-1 home run. It was the only legitimate home run of the game. Score: 3-2.
The Reds tacked on their final two runs of the game in the bottom of the seventh when Adam Dunn, Aurilia, and Hatteberg each singled to load up the bases. Again, Phillips came through with the two-RBI hit up the middle two batters later. Score: 2-5.
The Astros tried to get back into the game in the ninth when Willy Taveras doubled and Lance Berkman hit a ball into the waiting hands of an interfering fan. It was ruled a home run and brought the Astros still one run away from forcing the bottom of the ninth. Final score: 4-5.
The win brings the Reds record to 16-7, the best record in baseball. They continue the series this afternoon at 1:15 at Great American Ball Park. Aaron Harang takes the mound for the Reds against Andy Pettite.