Monday, September 14, 2009

Bruce returns from DL, leads Reds over Astros 3-1

Cincinnati Reds starter Bronson Arroyo pitches against the Houston Astros in the first inning of a baseball game, Monday, Sept. 14, 2009, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

CINCINNATI — Pinch-hitter Jay Bruce hit a go-ahead single in his return from the disabled list and Brandon Phillips homered to help the Cincinnati Reds beat the Houston Astros 3-1 on Monday night.

Making his first appearance in more than two months, Bruce bounced a two-run single through the right side to give Cincinnati a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning. The bases-loaded grounder barely eluded first baseman Lance Berkman and second baseman Kaz Matsui, making a winner of Bronson Arroyo.

Arroyo (13-12) allowed six hits and one run with no walks and six strikeouts in seven innings. He also hit a batter with a pitch. Arroyo is 5-4 with a 2.11 ERA over his last 13 starts.

Arthur Rhodes and Nick Masset teamed up to pitch a scoreless eighth inning. Francisco Cordero worked the ninth for his 35th save, one more than he totaled last season, his first with the Reds.

Bruce, who broke his wrist making a diving catch against the New York Mets on July 11, made a sliding catch of Miguel Tejada's liner leading off the ninth.

Phillips added an insurance run with a one-out solo homer off Jeff Fulchino in the eighth, his 20th of the season and first in 46 at-bats since Sept. 2 against Pittsburgh.

Houston Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez pitches against the Cincinnati Reds in the first inning of a baseball game, Monday, Sept. 14, 2009, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

Houston left-hander Wandy Rodriguez was almost as effective as Arroyo. Rodriguez (13-10) gave up just five hits and two runs with two walks and eight strikeouts while pitching into the seventh inning.

Rodriguez scattered four hits and allowed one runner past second base before the Reds broke through in the seventh. Scott Rolen led off with a walk and Jonny Gomes knocked Rodriguez out of the game with a double into the left-field corner.

Samuel Gervachio was brought in with Gomes on second and Rolen on third. The right-hander struck out pinch-hitter Juan Francisco before intentionally walking pinch-hitter Kevin Barker. Bruce was sent up to pinch-hit for Arroyo. Houston brought in left-hander Wesley Wright, who gave up Bruce's go-ahead hit.

Arroyo had retired seven consecutive batters and 12 of 13 when Berkman grounded a broken-bat single through the hole into left field with two outs in the sixth. Carlos Lee followed by lining a double up the gap to the right-center wall, with Berkman scoring all the way from first base.

Back in the dugout, Astros pitcher Bud Norris fanned Berkman with a towel.

Tejada lined a single to center, too sharply for Lee to score from second, and after Cincinnati pitching coach Dick Pole visited Arroyo on the mound, Hunter Pence flied out to Drew Stubbs one step in front of the center-field fence.

NOTES: The Reds activated Bruce from the 15-day disabled list and recalled Francisco from Triple-A Louisville. Francisco made his major league debut. ... Houston manager Cecil Cooper said rookie RHP Yorman Bazardo will start Wednesday's series finale. The start will be Bazardo's third of the season and first since allowing eight earned runs in two innings in a 14-7 loss at Arizona on Aug. 28. ... Lee needs five RBIs to reach 100 for the fifth consecutive season and sixth time overall.


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