Posted September 01, 2012 on AP on Fox
Cincinnati second baseman Wilson Valdez's error on a routine grounder by Jose Altuve with two outs in the ninth inning lifted the Houston Astros to a 2-1 win over the Reds on Saturday night. Pinch-hitter Matt Downs doubled off the left field wall with two outs in the ninth. Sean Marshall (4-5) intentionally walked Matt Dominguez before hitting pinch-hitter Brandon Barnes to load the bases. Altuve hit the ball directly at Valdez, who was playing second after Brandon Phillips was ejected in the previous inning, and it rolled between his legs - allowing Downs to trot home and Houston to break a six-game skid. Wilton Lopez (6-3) got the last two outs in the ninth inning for the win. Phillips was ejected in the eighth inning after arguing a call. He was tossed after jawing with plate umpire Andy Fletcher on a called third strike on what Phillips thought should have been a check swing. Phillips protested somewhat calmly for a minute before getting more heated and having to be pulled away by manager Dusty Baker. Zack Cozart and Drew Stubbs hit consecutive singles to get things going for the Reds in the first inning. Phillips grounded into a forceout that left Stubbs out at second and the Reds went up 1-0 on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Ludwick. The Astros mustered only three hits against Reds starter Homer Bailey, who entered the game 2-0 in three starts against Houston. Unfortunately for Bailey and the Reds, one of those knocks was a solo homer by Justin Maxwell which tied it in the fourth inning. The homer continued a streak of hot hitting for Maxwell in games where rookie Lucas Harrell is the starter. Maxwell has 13 homers this season and seven have come when Harrell is on the mound. Bailey was one strikeout shy of his career high by fanning nine Astros with one walk in eight innings. Fernando Martinez singled with one out in the second inning. Bailey retired seven straight after that before Maxwell's shot to right field tied it at 1-1 in the fourth inning. He hit Martinez after Maxwell's homer before getting back on track and sitting down the next 10 straight, including striking out the side in the seventh. Harrell pitched seven solid innings, yielding seven hits and one run with three strikeouts. He was lifted for Hector Ambriz in the eighth inning and retired the side. NOTES: Injured Reds 1B Joey Votto made three rehabilitation appearances for Class A Dayton and was scheduled to play for Triple-A Louisville on Saturday night. ... Houston claimed INF Brandon Laird off waivers from the Yankees before Saturday's game. ... The Reds recalled RHP Logan Ondrusek, INFS Didi Gregorius and Henry Rodriguez and OF Denis Phipps from Louisville on Saturday. ... The Astros activated CF Jordan Schafer from the disabled list and recalled utility player Matt Downs and RHP Jose Valdez from Triple-A Oklahoma City.
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