Roy Oswalt was pleased with how he worked through early trouble in his last start.
The 26-year-old right-hander allowed five runs—four earned—and 10 hits over seven innings Sunday in a 7-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. He allowed all five runs in the third and fourth innings before easily working though his final three innings.
“We had a meeting, and the coaches pointed out that we haven’t come from behind late in the game for a while,” said Oswalt, who struck out eight. “I knew that if I could change the pace and get some quick strikeouts to get them off the field, they would be energized.”
The Astros won three straight before losing their last two against the Atlanta Braves. Houston jumped out to a 5-1 lead Thursday before Atlanta came back for a 6-5 victory. Astros center fielder Carlos Beltran opened the scoring with a solo homer in the first. It was his 27th of the season, and his 12th since being acquired by Houston on June 24 from Kansas City.
The Expos, who have the second-worst record in the NL, had won nine of 11 before dropping two straight to the St. Louis Cardinals. Montreal took a 1-0 lead the sixth inning Thursday on a two-out double by Jose Vidro before falling to the Cardinals 2-1.
Reliever Luis Ayala allowed the eventual game-winning run on a solo homer by Scott Rolen in the eighth. Before that, Ayala had not allowed a run in 26 2-3 innings—the longest streak among relief pitchers in baseball since the New York Yankees’ Mariano Rivera capped the 1999 season with a streak of 30 1-3 innings.