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Reds pound on Oswalt, Astros, 7-0

HOUSTON — Johnny Cueto allowed four hits in eight scoreless innings and Joey Votto and Ramon Hernandez each homered to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-0 win over the Houston Astros on Saturday night.

Jordan Smith pitched a perfect ninth to complete the shutout.

Votto hit a two-run home run in the first inning and Hernandez, who also drove in a run in the third, added a solo shot in the second.

Chris Heisey added a run with his pinch-hit home run off Chris Sampson that made it 7-0 in the ninth inning. He leads the major leagues with four pinch-hit homers this season.

Houston starter Roy Oswalt (6-12), who has requested a trade, had one of his worst outings of the season. He allowed nine hits and six runs in five innings. Oswalt was looking for his 144th career victory, which would have tied him with Joe Niekro for first place on the team’s all-time win list. Instead he took another loss, which could be his last as an Astro with the July 31st trade deadline approaching.

Cueto (10-2), who struck out six, didn’t allow a hit until a double by Angel Sanchez with no outs in the fourth inning. But he retired the next three batters to end the inning. He allowed a single in the fifth before pitching a perfect sixth inning.

Hunter Pence singled with no outs in the seventh inning, but Cueto retired Carlos Lee before Jeff Keppinger grounded into a double play.

Chris Johnson singled in the eighth inning before reaching second on an error when Orlando Cabrera missed the catch which allowed Jason Castro to reach first. He pitched out of that jam by retiring the next three Astros, striking out one.

Votto’s two-run shot to the Crawford Boxes in left field put Cincinnati up 2-0 in the first inning. It was his second straight game with a homer and his 25th this season.

The Reds pushed their lead to 3-0 when Hernandez led off the second inning with his homer.

Cabrera and Votto hit consecutive doubles in the third inning before they both scored on a double by Laynce Nix. Hernandez drove in Nix with a single to right field that made it 6-0, but Hernandez was tagged out at second for the third out.

NOTES: The Astros wore the rainbow-sleeved, button up white uniforms that were worn by the team from 1989-93 on Saturday night. … Houston RHP Jeff Fulchino (right elbow tendinitis) will begin a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Round Rock on Monday. If that goes well he’ll pitch again on Wednesday and possible on both Friday and Saturday. … Houston RHP Brian Moehler, who has a strained right groin, isn’t ready to come off the disabled list. The Astros aren’t sure when he’ll be healthy enough to pitch again. “He’s still feeling a little tightness,” manager Brad Mills said. “There’s not a lot of pain there but when he tries to extend and finish his pitches then there’s a grab and there’s a pull. We want him to be 100 percent before he gets back out there.” … Gary Matthews Jr., who was playing for Triple-A Louisville, opted out of his deal after the Reds didn’t bring him up to the majors on Saturday. Reds manager Dusty Baker said he spoke to Matthews on Saturday morning and tried to persuade him to stay with the team for a while, but Matthews said he simply didn’t want to be in Triple-A any longer. … RHP Homer Bailey (inflamed right shoulder) is scheduled to make a rehabilitation start on Monday for Single-A Dayton.