HOUSTON -- Wandy Rodriguez pumped his fist after finishing off a sterling performance with a strikeout, getting out of the only jam he faced in seven innings.
Rodriguez allowed two hits and tied his career best with 10 strikeouts to lead the Houston Astros to a 7-0 victory against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night.
• Wandy Rodriguez threw seven shutout innings, striking out 10 (tied career-high) and allowing just two hits to lead Houston to its second home win of the year.
• The Astros pounded a season-high 13 hits in the win -- Geoff Blum and Carlos Lee had three each.
• This was Houston's first shutout of 2009 -- they had 13 last season.
• Aaron Harang gave up five earned runs in six innings, dropping to 0-2.
• The Reds' two hits are a season-low.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
"I've never seen him do that before," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said of Rodriguez's rare display of emotion. "It's good, good for him"Wandy has been as good as any pitcher in the game right now. He is really throwing the ball well."Ivan Rodriguez came out of an extended slump with only his second multi-hit game. His two doubles gave him three for the year and his two RBIs doubled his total for the season.But the catcher wanted to talk about his pitcher."He did a great job," Pudge said. "He threw a lot of strike ones. He used his fastball a lot and his breaking ball was good. It was a 12-to-6 breaking ball. He threw a great game."In the seventh, Wandy Rodriguez (1-1) gave up his first two walks, but struck out Laynce Nix, filling in for the injured Jay Bruce, to end the threat."Tonight, my breaking ball was very nice, so I used it a lot," Rodriguez said.And about the first pump?"I felt happy because in that situation, I wanted to get that guy out and I did."The Reds were impressed, too."That was as good a curve ball as I've seen Wandy throw," manager Dusty Baker said. "He threw it on any count and at any time. The velocity difference on it was 15 to 20 miles per hour and this early in the season, our hitters weren't able to adjust to it."But I'm not making any excuses. He threw a great game tonight."Reds starter Aaron Harang (1-2) went six innings and allowed five runs on 10 hits. He struck out six and walked one and didn't think he threw too badly."I got six ground balls and they went right where everybody was not," Harang said. "It was frustrating. When you make good pitches and don't get outs, it's that way. It was just one of those nights. You can't do anything about it."Chris Sampson and Jeff Fulchino each pitched a hitless inning to complete the combined two-hitter and Houston's first shutout of the season.Back-to-back RBI singles by Hunter Pence and Geoff Blum gave the Astros a 2-0 lead in the first.Carlos Lee doubled into the left corner to drive in Michael Bourn from second for a 3-0 lead in the fifth.With the bases loaded in the seventh, Blum doubled to right field to score two runs. Ivan Rodriguez then doubled in two more runs for a 7-0 lead.
2B Kaz Matsui sat out his fourth straight game with a sore back. IF Jeff Keppinger missed his second straight game with a lower back strain. RHP Brandon Backe threw a two-inning simulated game before the game Saturday and pronounced himself fit. It was Backe's first live pitching outing since straining his left intercostal in early March. Astros say he could throw another simulated gamed on Monday and then possibly go on a rehab assignment. Nix was a late replacement for Jay Bruce, who sat out with a sore right hand. Bruce, who hurt the hand Monday at Milwaukee when he was hit by a pitch, is day-to-day. X rays and MRIs on Bruce's hands were negative. ... The Astros sent RHP Alberto Arias back to Triple-A Round Rock after the game.