Houston (37-42) at Cincinnati (31-49)

Fair Currently: Cincinnati, OH
Temp: 66° F
  • Game info: 1:15 pm EDT Sun Jul 3, 2005
  • TV: FSSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Suddenly, run support isn’t a problem for Roger Clemens. But the Houston bullpen is.

Clemens, robbed of a victory by a bullpen meltdown his last time out, hopes to resume his dominating campaign when the Astros close out a four-game series with the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

Clemens, who at 42 is arguably the best pitcher in the game, appeared on the verge of picking up his fourth straight win Tuesday at Colorado. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner allowed one run and four hits over seven innings, striking out seven and walking two, at hitter-friendly Coors Field.

Clemens walked off the mound with a 5-1 lead but watched as Chad Qualls, John Franco and Russ Springer combined to give up five runs in the eighth inning, handing the Rockies a 6-5 victory.

Clemens, who was hampered by poor run support during the first two months of the season, had his third potential win squandered by Houston relievers. The Astros averaged six runs per game during Clemens’ five June starts.

“You can’t let that stuff bother you because I’ve been beat every which way you can think of.” Clemens said.

“They made me look good a number of times when I have only been able to go seven or not get it to the eighth, and I try to make them all aware of the fact that I am going to need help each night. I think my complete games are pretty much over.”

Clemens leads the majors with a 1.50 ERA, and went 3-0 with a 1.97 ERA in June.

His last loss came against Cincinnati on May 30, when he allowed two runs and four hits over eight innings before watching his bullpen give up seven in the ninth in a 9-0 loss.

The Astros and Reds split a doubleheader Saturday as Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer and Felipe Lopez finished a double shy of a cycle as Cincinnati posted an 11-6 win in the nightcap. Houston won the opener 4-3 by rallying from behind three times. Adam Everett’s second homer in as many games clinched the Game 1 win for the Astros.

The Astros had won three in a row and five of six before dropping Saturday’s second game.

Cincinnati ended a six-game skid with the win.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Clemens NYY vs. B. Claussen Was
13-8 Record 10-11
1.87 ERA 4.21
185 K 121
62 BB 57
1.01 WHIP 1.41