Volquez helps Reds end Astros’ road domination
Published 4:58 am Thursday, April 30, 2009
CINCINNATI (AP) — For the first time since 2007, the Astros had nothing to celebrate in Cincinnati.
Edinson Volquez ended the longest current streak of road domination in the majors by allowing only one hit through eight innings Wednesday night, leading the Reds to a 3-0 victory that ended Houston’s streak of 11 straight wins at Great American Ball Park.
The Astros hadn’t lost in Cincinnati since 2007, putting together their longest stretch of wins at a road ballpark in franchise history. They had won 16 of 17 in Cincinnati over the last three years, getting nearly every break and every big hit.
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This time, they got neither.
Volquez (3-2) gave up only Miguel Tejada’s double in the first inning. He retired 17 straight over one stretch, walking one and hitting a batter in the longest appearance of his career.
‘‘I threw all my pitches where I wanted,’’ said Volquez, who walked a career-high seven batters in his last start. ‘‘I wanted to go deep in the game.’’
He threw 106 pitches and Francisco Cordero completed the one-hitter with his seventh save in as many chances.
Laynce Nix tripled, scored a run and drove in another with an infield single off Felipe Paulino (1-3), who had trouble with the bottom of a lineup that’s second-to-last in hitting in the NL. Rookie Adam Rosales had an RBI single and a sacrifice fly.
Several Reds coaches and players, including Rosales, got drenched while helping the grounds crew wrestle the tarp into place during a 15-minute cloudburst before batting practice. Against tall odds, they wanted to keep the field dry so they could play this one.
‘‘I had a full day,’’ said Rosales, who was called up Tuesday night. ‘‘It was nice to beat those guys. I don’t know how many we’d lost in a row at home to them.’’
Houston is 32-16-1 at Great American since it opened for the 2003 season, feeling very cozy in the NL’s most homer-friendly ballpark. It took a dominating performance by Cincinnati’s only 2008 All-Star to end the Astros’ run.
The right-hander got batters to hit balls on the rain-softened ground. He induced 12 groundouts and one popup, and had six strikeouts as 19 batters failed to get the ball out of the infield.
‘‘They didn’t hit many balls hard, but if they did, it was on the ground right at somebody,’’ Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Although the Astros couldn’t hit him, they weren’t overly impressed by him.
‘‘I didn’t think he was all that sharp,’’ Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. ‘‘It looked like he had some life to his fastball. It looked like we had some pitches to hit, but we just didn’t swing it very well. You have to give him some credit, but I didn’t think he was like a one-hit performance tonight.’’
The Astros knew it wouldn’t be their day when center fielder Michael Bourn ran into Carlos Lee as the left fielder prepared to catch Joey Votto’s routine fly in the sixth, letting it drop for a two-base error. Bourn, who had called for the ball, stuffed the top of his jersey into his mouth in frustration after the play. Votto later scored on Nix’s infield single for a 2-0 lead.
‘‘I called for it,’’ Bourn said. ‘‘That’s all I can tell you. If I call it, I want it.’’
Usually, those things don’t happen when the Astros are in town.
‘‘We were a little bit flat,’’ Cooper said. ‘‘We made some mistakes defensively that we normally don’t make.’’
Notes: The Astros left slumping Lance Berkman out of the lineup even though he has 20 homers at Great American, the most by a visiting player. He pinch hit and lined out, leaving him in a 1-for-23 slump. … RHP Brian Moehler made his second rehab appearance at Double-A, giving up 11 hits and eight runs in five innings. Moehler went on the DL April 14 with a sprained right knee. … Slumping Reds 2B Brandon Phillips was out of the lineup for the first time. He pinch hit for Volquez in the eighth and lined out.