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LaRue belts game-winning HR in top of 10th

4/9/2003

HOUSTON (AP) -- Cincinnati manager Bob Boone expects to see more game-winning home runs from Jason LaRue this season.

LaRue hit his first home run of the year in the 10th inning Tuesday night, leading the Cincinnati Reds over the Houston Astros 2-1.

"He did an excellent job with that at-bat,'' Boone said. "I think we will see a lot more of that this season, but time will tell.''

Ryan Dempster (1-0) allowed seven hits in nine innings for the Reds, and Scott Williamson pitched a perfect 10th for his second save.

"I think Dempster battled us very well,'' Lance Berkman said. "Obviously he's got good stuff, and it seems like he got double plays when ever he needed them.''

Octavio Dotel (0-1) relieved to start the ninth and gave up the
homer to LaRue, who went 3-for-4 and also drove in Cincinnati's
first run.

"He's improved his approach, both hitting and catching,'' Boone
said.

LaRue hit 12 home runs in each of his two full major league
seasons.

"The last two years I've learned a lot and gotten better,''
LaRue said. "I've learned what guys are trying to do to get me
out. Tonight, I got a mistake out over the plate and I hit it
well.''

Houston manager Jimy Williams still has confidence in Dotel.

"That's the life of a reliever. That's the way it goes. I'd
still put him right back out there tomorrow if the situation
arises,'' Williams said.

Astros starter Roy Oswalt, 6-0 against Cincinnati, allowed four
hits in eight innings and struck out six.

"My curveball is coming around,'' he said. "I'm finally
getting the feel of it. I felt stronger as the game went on, but I
knew I was probably finished after the eighth because I had 119
pitches.''

Houston, which outhit the Reds 7-5, had runners in every inning
except the seventh and 10th, but hit into five double plays.

"Action at the end of a pitch gives you chances for double
plays and ground balls, and Dempster has that,'' Boone said.

Cincinnati put runners at first and second in the ninth before pinch-hitter Jose Guillen bounced into an inning-ending double play.

Houston took a 1-0 lead in the first when Craig Biggio walked and scored as Lance Berkman hit into a double play.

Cincinnati tied the score in the second on Reggie Taylor's
triple and LaRue's infield single.

Game notes
Houston C Brad Ausmus has thrown out five of seven runners
attempting to steal. ... Cincinnati relievers have allowed one of
14 inherited runners to score in seven games. ... Reds starters
have walked 20 while striking out 14 in 40 innings.