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Oswalt may be invincible, but Valverde was quite vincible

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Ramon Hernandez - 1 for 3, HR, BB, 2 RBI.  His home run in the ninth inning gave the Reds their only runs on the night.  He also gunned down Michael Bourn, who was attempting to steal 2nd base in the 7th inning.

Key Plays

  • A Jay Bruce single, Edwin Encarnacion double, and Hernandez walk loaded up the bases with one out in the 2nd inning, but Oswalt struck out Alex Gonzalez and Johnny Cueto to get out of the jam without surrendering a run.
  • The Reds put up another threat in the third.  Willy Taveras walked to lead off the inning, but he was thrown out at third base trying to advance on a single by Joey Votto.  A walk to Brandon Phillips put runners at 1st and 2nd, but Bruce flew out to end the inning.
  • The Astros didn't have their first hit until the 4th inning when Miguel Tejada singled.  Lance Berkman followed with a walk to give the Astros a threat with no outs, but Carlos Lee lined into a double play where Berkman fell asleep on the bases and Geoff Blum popped out to end any threat.
  • After quickly getting the first two outs in the 5th, Cueto walked Oswalt and Michael Bourn and then allowed a single to Tejada to load the bases.  He walked Berkman for the 3rd time on the day to plate the only run of the game for the Astros and was removed by manager Dusty Baker.  Mike Lincoln managed to get out of inning without any more damage being done.
  • Jose Valverde walked Encarnacion with one out in the ninth and then surrendered a home run to Ramon Hernandez.
  • The Astros put two runners on base in the 9th inning on back-to-back one out singles, but Francisco Cordero induced a game inning double play.

Final - 4.17.2009 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R
Cincinnati Reds 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2
Houston Astros 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1

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Other Notes

  • Johnny Cueto was effectively wild for most of his start until the 5th inning, when he was simply wild.  There was a point in the 5th inning where he was unable to find the strike zone with his pitches.  I won't criticize him for all of the walks because I'm fairly certain that the first two walks to Berkman were more or less strategic.  However, walking Berkman with the bases loaded was not in the playbook, though each of the balls in that at bat were borderline pitches.  Even still, it's hard to look at a 4.2 IP outing with 6 BB and find a lot of positives.
  • The bullpen had another solid night, going 4.1 innings and allowing only three base runners - a walk by Daniel Ray Herrera and a couple of singles off of Francisco Cordero.  In a tight game like this, you really depend on your bullpen and they came through tonight.
  • Francisco Cordero was really showcasing some gas tonight.  The FSN gun had him hitting 97 a couple of times on the night.  I don't remember him throwing that hard last year, but there's a lot that I'm trying to block out from last season.
  • The Reds hurt themselves with HAVOC tonight as Chris Dickerson was caught stealing in the first inning and Taveras was thrown out third base in the third inning.  And once again their runs were generated with walks and home runs.
  • It feels great to start another series off with a win.  Seems like the Reds started so many series last year by losing the opener and then struggling just to get one win.  If your goal is to just keep winning series, it sure helps to win the opener.