No Sweep 'til Houston. Reds lose, 5-3

Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

No one player really distinguished himself above all others today. Zack Cozart had a gameboy and a single, and Sean Marshall pitched a clean inning with a pair of strikeouts. But the honor probably has to go to Justin Maxwell, who hit a pinch-hit two-run juego magnifico in the 7th that proved to be the difference in the game. Jordan Lyles also did a pretty fair impression of a good major league pitcher, throwing seven and giving up only two runs.

Key Plays

The Astros drew first blood in the 2nd inning when Chris Johnson walked, Brett Wallace and his thick lower half singled up the middle, and Jason Castro knocked a sac fly to plate a run.

The Reds came right back in the top of the 3rd when Bronson Arroyo helped himself with some two-out lightnin'. He cracked a long single off the wall in left, and then scored when Zack Cozart funked a wagnall into the Crawford Boxes.

The Astros were signin' a sac song in the 5th. After three straight singles plated the tying run, a sac bunt and a sac fly brought in a second to give the Astros the lead again.

Bronson had a heckuva day. Check his line after 6.1 innings - six hits, three runs, a walk, and four strikeouts. Look, the dude ain't an ace, but that's the kind of solid line that keeps a team in the game. He'd thrown a shade under 100 pitches and looked strong doing it, so there was no good reason to believe he couldn't finish the inning. Unfortunately, he couldn't finish the inning. Marwin Gonzalez hit a long single to right and pinch-hitter Justin Maxwell destroyed a tiny universe living on a hanging slider to give the 'stros a more comfortable three-run lead.

The Reds mounted a good threat in the 8th, but it was ultimately not fulfilling. Todd Frazier, who double-switched in in the previous inning, put together an impressive eight-pitch AB that ended with a double down the line. Cozart followed with an infield single. Then Stubbs struck out swinging. Votto crushed a 400-foot sac fly that brought in Frazier. Then BeeP grounded out weakly to quell the threat. 5-3 Astros.

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

Zack Cozart has 23 extra-base hits so far this season, which is good. He has only reached first base safely 38 times though, which isn't very good (26 singles and 12 walks).

Drew Stubbs swiped his 12th base of the year. That's top 10 in the NL. He also struck out for the 58th time. That's bottom 10 in the NL.

Jordan Lyles made his fifth start of the season today. It was his fourth time being called up from AAA.

Miguel Cairo does not look very good at all. Coming into today, he had slashed .147/.171/.235 in 35 PAs. He went 0-3 today and hit the ball weakly each time. He's been an excellent bench player for the Reds the past two years, but it is possible that the 38-year-old has seen his last days as a productive ballplayer. I hope not, though.

Tomorrow the Reds have the day off, but be sure to stop in here at RR for all-day draft coverage. My sources tell me the Reds are zeroing in on a kid named B.P. Available. Depending on who you ask, he's either a toolsy-but-raw high schooler or a polished college player. Stay tuned to find out!

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