Ramon Ortiz didn’t have to wait long to put one of the worst outings of his career behind him.
Ortiz had won two of his previous three starts before getting pounded for six runs and four hits, including two homers, over a season-low tying innings in Wednesday’s 11-3 loss to St. Louis.
The right-hander walked three, struck out one and threw just 56 pitches, 33 for strikes, leaving him plenty of arm strength to take the rubber on short rest.
“I’m happy because the other day, I threw only two innings,” Ortiz said. “But I feel good. … My arm’s good. Everything’s good. I’m not going to think about the short rest 3/8 . Everything’s great.
“I don’t think about my last start 3/8 . What I think about right now is coming to the ballpark and doing what I can to help my team.”
The Reds’ struggles continued Friday as they opened July with their fifth straight loss.
Morgan Ensberg hit a three-run homer and added a pair of doubles as the Astros won for the 10th time in 13 games. Houston has also won 15 of its last 19 against Cincinnati and seven of its last 10 at Great American Ball Park.
Ensberg has been a huge part of the Astros’ resurgence. He has 11 homers and 32 RBIs since June 1.
Saturday’s second game is a makeup after Thursday’s originally scheduled series opener was washed out by rain with the score tied at 2-2 after seven innings. Ensberg was 2-for-3 with a run scored in that game.