Astros rally past Reds

Published 1:25 am Thursday, August 4, 2011

HOUSTON (AP) — Cincinnati reliever Nick Masset couldn’t help Dontrelle Willis get his first win in more than a year.

Masset, who hadn’t given up a run in his past four appearances, didn’t record an out and was chased after five batters and allowing two runs and three hits and two walks to give the Houston Astros a 5-4 win over the Reds on Wednesday night.

Rookie J.D. Martinez homered and hit a go-ahead two-run double in the seventh inning to help rookie starter Jordan Lyles pick up his first career win.

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Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first inning and drove in two more with a bases-loaded double off Masset (1-5) to put Houston ahead 4-3.

“I didn’t have my command,” Masset said. “I wasn’t executing my pitches. It kind of snowballed real quick on me. I have to make that play on the bunt play and make that out. I didn’t have my good stuff today.”

Masset walked Brian Bogusevic to start the seventh inning, before consecutive singles by Jason Bourgeois and Jose Altuve loaded the bases. Martinez followed with his two-RBI double down the left field line to put Houston on top.

Masset didn’t think the pitch to Martinez was a bad one.

“That’s what I wanted to do with him, but he put good wood on it and found a hole past our third baseman,” he said. “That ball was hit pretty hard, and those two runs sort of killed us.”

Masset’s tough outing ruined a good night by Willis, who yielded eight hits and two runs and put Cincinnati ahead in the top of the seventh with a solo home run. The shot, which landed several rows up in the stands in right field, was his first home run since Aug. 29, 2007.

“We decided to let Dontrelle hit, which ended up being a good decision, but we wanted to get that first win for him,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

The former Marlins standout, who began the season with Triple-A Louisville, is winless in five starts for the Reds after being the victim of three blown saves. He hasn’t won since June 5, 2010, with the Diamondbacks.

Willis didn’t feel like he had good command, but said his defense helped the Reds keep it close.

“It was a team effort to get me out of the jams and keep us in the ball game,” he said. “That’s what they have been doing the whole time since I’ve been up. It was just getting us out of jams, calming me down and keeping us in the ball game. I have to do a better job for them of shutting the opposition down.”

Baker didn’t think Willis had his best stuff on Wednesday.

“They were hitting some balls hard off of him,” Baker said. “We were fortunate that he was able to go as deep in the game as he did.

“Those leadoff walks, and we missed that bunt play without getting an out. You just can’t give away those outs. We need to take those outs when we get them. Martinez got a couple hits off us tonight early. We scored enough to win even though they out-hit us.”

Humberto Quintero added an insurance run with a solo homer in the eighth inning to give the Astros a series win over the Reds, who were coming off a sweep of San Francisco.

Lyles (1-6) allowed six hits and three runs in seven innings to pick up his first win in his 12th start. Fernando Rodriguez pitched a perfect eighth before Mark Melancon allowed one run in the ninth for his 11th save.

Todd Frazier homered and Joey Votto had three hits for the Reds, who are 7-5 against Houston this season.

Brandon Phillips tied it 2-all with a run-scoring single to center field with one out in the sixth inning. A double by Votto — his third hit of the night — set up the score.

Martinez’s first career homer in his fifth game since being called up from Double-A came on a two-run shot to left center field to give Houston a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Bourgeois singled to start the inning and set up the home run.

Willis said he has to do a better job of getting outs early.

“I seem to have pitched myself back against the wall,” Willis said. “I need to do a better job of that because I didn’t go out with enough focus. They came out of the gate ready to play. I like the resilience that we showed getting back in the game. It’s just another tough loss. We want to continue to work hard and battle, but this one hurt tonight.”

NOTES: Reds 3B Scott Rolen had surgery on his left shoulder on Wednesday and is expected to miss four to six weeks. Rolen, who has been on the disabled list since July 22, had arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs and fragments from a joint in his shoulder on Wednesday by Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek. … Both teams have the day off on Thursday before the Astros open a series with the Brewers in Houston and the Reds face the Cubs in Chicago on Friday. … Cincinnati’s Mike Leake will face Chicago’s Ryan Dempster and Houston lefty J.A. Happ will take on Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo on Friday.