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Oswalt dominates Reds

The Associated Press

HOUSTON – Roy Oswalt isn’t impressed by his accomplishments.

Friday, August 31, 2001

HOUSTON – Roy Oswalt isn’t impressed by his accomplishments. ”I’m just going out and having fun,” he said after his three-hitter led the Houston Astros over the Cincinnati Reds 6-1 Thursday. ”With the offense and defense we have, we can score 10 runs in one inning. I’m trying not to change anything and just be aggressive.”

He matched the team record for rookie wins, set by Jim Deshaies, who went 12-5 in 1986. It was his second complete game – and three-hitter – in 24 major league starts.

”I’m not looking into it too much,” Oswalt said of his record.

Houston has won four straight and 11 of 13, maintaining a four-game lead over second-place Chicago in the NL Central. The Astros have won seven straight home games for the first time since a nine-game streak from Aug. 28-Sept. 12, 1998.

Oswalt (12-2) allowed a solo home run by Adam Dunn in the second, a single by Dunn in the eighth and a single by Dmitri Young in the ninth. He struck out nine, one short of his career high, and walked none. He also pitched a three-hitter against Montreal on Aug. 4.

”He has a real quick arm,” Reds manager Bob Boone said. ”We weren’t picking up the rotation on his breaking ball and it was dropping in for strikes. He has good command of everything. For a young kid, that is special. He is a special find.”

Astros manager Larry Dierker liked Oswalt’s progress.

”He was the Texas League pitcher of the year last year, and if he’d started in our rotation from the start of the season, he might be the National League pitcher of the year,” Dierker said.

”He throws fastballs in the low to mid-90s and he has a good curve and change,” Young said. ”The thing about him is you can’t tell the difference. That’s what it takes to win.”

Jose Rijo threw a run-scoring wild pitch in the eighth. Rijo, who appeared in the fourth major league game of his comeback, pitched for the Reds on Aug. 17 after six years on the sidelines and five elbow operations. Before this year, he had not pitched in the major leagues since July 18, 1995.

Dunn’s homer was his 13th of the season and 12th of August, an NL rookie record for homers in any month. Frank Robinson hit 11 homers for the Reds in August 1966.

After Dunn’s home run, Oswalt retired his next five batters, hit Young with a pitch, then retired 12 in a row before Dunn’s single.

Dennys Reyes (1-5) allowed four runs – two earned – three hits and four walks in 5 1-3 innings.

”I was really pleased the way Reyes threw,” Boone said. ”He battled. After giving up that run he came back and shut them down. He was really competitive.”

Jeff Bagwell put Houston ahead in the first with an RBI grounder following Julio Lugo’s double. Houston made it 3-1 in the fourth on a run-scoring error by Young at third – the first of two he made in the game – and Brad Ausmus’ sacrifice fly.

Richard Hidalgo had an RBI triple in the sixth, and Bagwell hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Notes: Chris Reitsma, scheduled to start for the Reds on Friday, leads NL rookies with 160 innings pitched. … Reds starters lead the NL with fewest innings pitched, 732 2-3. … The only rookies with more homers in a month were Detroit’s Rudy York (18 in August 1937), Oakland’s Mark McGwire (May 1987) and Minnesota’s Jimmie Hall (13 in August 1963).