Sanchez leads Astros past Reds

Posted Sept. 17, 2010, at 11:59 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 18, 2010, at 12:57 a.m.

HOUSTON (AP) — It was hard to identify the first-place team at Minute Maid Park on Friday night.

Angel Sanchez hit a tiebreaking, two-run single off Aroldis Chapman in the seventh inning and the third-place Houston Astros beat the NL Central-leading Cincinnati Reds 5-3.

Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before giving up a leadoff double to Joey Votto and a three-run homer by Jonny Gomes that gave the Reds a 3-2 lead.

“I like the way they battled all the way through it,” Astros manager Brad Mills said. “Wandy didn’t have the best command tonight but he was able to work around those five walks and give us a quality start still through the six innings. These guys are putting things together.”

Carlos Lee tied it for the Reds with a solo homer in the bottom of the inning.

Pinch hitters Jeff Keppinger and Anderson Hernandez both singled in the seventh and Michael Bourn reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases before Sanchez’s tiebreaker off Chapman (1-1).

Jeff Fulchino (2-0) pitched one-third of an inning for the victory. Brandon Lyon pitched a perfect ninth for his 16th save in 17 opportunities.

“We’ve been playing good over a month, solid baseball every day,” Lyon said. “It seems like we’re in every game. It’s good when you’re not playing for the playoff push but you’re playing for jobs next year and making the team. Everyone is playing hard.”

After Votto’s single in the sixth, Scott Rolen walked and Gomes homered far into the Crawford Boxes in left field. It was Gomes’ 17th homer of the season and gave him 83 RBIs.

Rodriguez pitched six innings, allowed three hits and three runs with 10 strikeouts and six walks.

“I tried to throw the ball on the corner and didn’t get the strike,” Rodriguez said. “Today I didn’t feel I had my best command and I competed. When I saw the sixth inning I had no hits and I tried to make a good pitch for the hitter but I didn’t.”

Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto pitched six innings, allowed five hits and three runs with six strikeouts. Cueto gave up two early runs but settled in and didn’t allow a hit after an RBI single by Bourn in the second inning until Lee’s homer tied it. Cueto had retired 11 straight before Lee’s 22nd homer.

The Astros played sharp defense that included diving catches by outfielders Jason Bourgeois and Hunter Pence.

“They made a couple of really outstanding plays in the outfield tonight, including that one by Pence in the seventh,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “That was a potential RBI double. That would have given us the lead, and then there was that great one in left field by Bourgeois.”

Baker still likes the hitting.

“We just know that if we keep hitting the ball like that, we’ll be OK,” Baker said. “We just did get the big hits when we needed them tonight, and they did get the big hits when they needed them. We just have to keep swinging, and soon I just feel that we are going to break out.”

The Astros took a 2-0 lead on Chris Johnson’s sacrifice fly in the first inning and Bourn’s RBI single in the second.

The Reds were positioned to take the lead with two outs in the seventh after Votto singled, stole second and went to third on a passed ball. Rolen then hit a fly to right field that appeared sure to be a hit until Hunter Pence made a stretched-out diving catch to preserve the tie.

Rodriguez walked five batters in the second and third innings but didn’t allow a hit or run during the wild spree.

He walked two with two outs in the second and struck out Willie Bloomquist to end the inning. Rodriguez walked the bases loaded with one out in the third and struck out Rolen and got Gomes on a popup to keep the Reds scoreless.

Chapman wasn’t pleased with his performance.

“I didn’t have my best game, but they scored some big runs, they made good contact,” Chapman said. “There is nothing I can do, that is just part of the game. My location was OK. I think the Astros just had good at-bats tonight, and things went their way. Things were good for them tonight.

NOTES: The Reds, who lost their sixth straight on the road, started a nine-game trip. They were 1-6 their last time on the road. … The Reds and Braves are second in the major leagues in comeback victories (42). The Yankees have 45. … Cincinnati is 7-3 against Houston this season. … Rodriguez struck out 10 batters for the second straight game.

HOUSTON (AP) — Angel Sanchez hit a tiebreaking two-run single off Aroldis Chapman in the seventh inning and the Houston Astros beat the sputtering Cincinnati Reds 5-3 on Friday night.

Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before giving up a leadoff double to Joey Votto and a three-run homer that gave the Reds a 3-2 lead.

Carlos Lee tied it with a solo homer in the bottom of the inning.

Pinch hitters Jeff Keppinger and Anderson Hernandez each singled in the seventh and Michael Bourn reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases before Sanchez’s tiebreaker off Chapman (1-1).

Jeff Fulchino (2-0) pitched 1-3 inning for the victory. Brandon Lyon pitched a perfect ninth for his 16th save in 17 opportunities.

After Votto’s single in the sixth, Scott Rolen walked and Jonny Gomes homered far into the Crawford Boxes in left field. It was Gomes’ 17th homer of the season and gave gun 83 RBIs.

Rodriguez pitched six innings, allowed three hits, three runs with 10 strikeouts and six walks.

Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto pitched six innings, allowed five hits and three runs with six strikeouts.

Cueto gave up two early runs but settled in and didn’t allow a hit after an RBI single by Bourn in the second inning until Lee’s homer tied it. Cueto had retired 11 in a row before Lee’s 22nd homer.

The Astros took a 2-0 lead on Chris Johnson’s sacrifice fly in the first inning and Bourn’s RBI single in the second.

The Reds were positioned to take the lead with two outs in the seventh after Votto singled, stole second and went to third on a passed ball. Rolen then hit a fly to right field that appeared sure to be a hit until Hunter Pence made a stretched-out diving catch to preserve the tie.

Rodriguez walked five batters in the second and third innings but didn’t allow a hit or run during the wild spree.

He walked two with two outs in the second and struck out Willie Bloomquist to end the inning. Rodriguez walked the bases loaded with one out in the third and struck out Rolen and got Gomes on a popup to keep the Reds scoreless.

NOTES: The Reds, who lost their sixth straight on the road, started a nine-game trip. They were 1-6 their last time on the road. … The Reds and Braves are second in the major leagues in comeback victories (42). The Yankees have 45. … Cincinnati is 7-3 against Houston this season. … Rodriguez struck out 10 batters for the second straight game.

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