Arroyo struggles, Reds help Astros end skid

HOUSTON (AP) — Cincinnati Reds starter Bronson

Arroyo entered Sunday’s game looking to get his first win in nearly a


Instead, the last pitch he threw was hit by

Houston pinch-hitter Justin Maxwell for a two-run home run that helped

the Astros to a 5-3 win.

“Those are the chess-match

battles that go wrong sometimes,” Arroyo said. “It was a battle, but we

just got beat.”

The first six innings looked a lot

like many of Arroyo’s starts this season. He held the opponent close but

didn’t get much run support. Despite entering the game with a 3.59 ERA,

Arroyo (2-4) gave up a season-high five earned runs to remain winless

since May 7.

It was Arroyo’s fourth consecutive start

where the Reds failed to score four runs.

“I’ll take

15 next time out,” Arroyo joked. “Right now, it’s been tough to score

two or three when I’ve been in the ballgame. It’s not like you can’t win

with that run support, but it’s definitely a little


After Maxwell’s home run pushed Houston’s

lead to 5-2, Reds manager Dusty Baker pulled Arroyo. He allowed five

runs and eight hits, while walking one and striking out four in 6 1-3


“Bronson hung a curveball, and boy, that

hurt big time because it gave them a bigger lead,” Baker said of

Maxwell’s homer.

Houston’s win snapped a season-worst

eight-game skid.

Cincinnati’s hitters didn’t seem to

have many answers for Astros starter Jordan Lyles, who was recalled

from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday night. In seven innings, Lyles

(1-1) allowed two runs and five hits, while striking out three and

walking two.

One of Lyles’ few mistakes came with two

outs in the third inning when Cincinnati leadoff hitter Zack Cozart

homered to left field, driving in Arroyo, who had the Reds’ first hit of

the game.

Phillips put on a defensive show in the

fourth inning with two nifty plays. The first came when he snagged a

grounder by J.D. Martinez and twirled around to make the throw to first

base. He then robbed Johnson of a hit when he stretched out for a diving

catch to end the inning.

Cozart’s home run gave the

Reds a 2-1 lead that lasted until the fifth inning when the Astros

rallied. Houston led off the fifth with three straight singles from

Brett Wallace, Jason Castro and Marwin Gonzalez, who picked up an RBI

when Wallace scored. Two batters later, Jordan Schafer’s sacrifice fly

gave the Astros a 3-2 lead.

Lyles got back on track

after allowing the Cozart homer, and the Reds didn’t threaten again

until the sixth inning. Drew Stubbs singled with one out before Phillips

drew a two out walk. But Lyles retired Jay Bruce to end the


After Maxwell’s home run, the Reds scored one

more run, but wouldn’t get any closer. Todd Frazier led off that inning

with a double to left, and Cozart followed with an infield single.

After a strikeout by Stubbs, Joey Votto hit a flyball to deep center

field. But Schafer sprinted to make the catch and limit the damage to a

sacrifice fly.

Baker pointed to that play as a key to

the game.

“I didn’t think it was out of the

ballpark, but I thought it had a chance in the gap,” Baker said.

“Schafer just ran the ball down and made another one of those


An error on that play allowed Cozart to

advance to third, but Brandon Phillips grounded out to end the threat.

Cozart went 2 for 4 with two RBIs.

Astros closer

Brett Myers retired the Reds in order in the ninth inning for his 13th


The loss prevented the Reds from sweeping

Houston at home, and they finish their road trip 3-3. It was just their

fifth loss in the last 15


NOTES: Votto extended his

hit streak to 10 games, going 1 for 2 with a walk and one RBI. He is 19

for 33 (.576) during that stretch. . Houston placed 1B Carlos Lee on the

15-day disabled list because of a left hamstring strain and recalled

Wallace from Triple-A before Sunday’s game. It’s just the second time in

his career that the 35-year-old Lee has been on the disabled list. He

was injured running to first base on Friday night. . Both teams are off

on Monday before Houston opens a series against St. Louis and Cincinnati

hosts Pittsburgh on Tuesday.