Cincinnati (30-24) at Houston (27-28)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 71° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Sat Jun 3, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Cincinnati Reds may have finally learned how to play well in Minute Maid Park.

They’ll try for consecutive victories at the home of the Houston Astros for the first time since 2003 when the teams continue their three-game series on Saturday.

The Reds beat Houston 14-3 on Friday in the series opener, their first win on the road against the Astros since last May 30.

The Reds (30-24) won consecutive road games in Houston on Aug. 22-23, 2003. Following that, the Astros (27-28) had won 15 of 17 meetings between the teams at Minute Maid Park before Cincinnati broke through with Friday’s victory.

The Reds have not won three straight in Houston since the 2001 season.

Edwin Encarnacion and Austin Kearns each had four RBIs as Cincinnati scored nine runs in the first three innings Friday.

“Our pitchers have been consistent all year, but our hitting hasn’t been,” Kearns said. “It was definitely nice to get a little cushion.”

Brandon Phillips and Ken Griffey Jr. each had two hits and two runs for the Reds, who had a double-digit run total for only the second time in the last 35 games.

Bronson Arroyo (6-2, 2.58 ERA) looks for his team-leading seventh win when he takes the mound on Saturday. Arroyo didn’t earn a decision in his last start on Sunday against Arizona. The right-hander gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings as the Reds won 5-4 over the Diamondbacks.

Cincinnati is 8-3 when Arroyo starts this season.

Arroyo is 2-0 with a 5.06 ERA in nine career appearances—three starts— against Houston, but hasn’t faced the Astros since July 7, 2002, when he was coming out of the bullpen for Pittsburgh.

Houston didn’t begin its 10-game homestand the way it would have liked. The Astros have lost five of their last seven games at Minute Maid Park and eight of their past 10 overall, including both contests since Roger Clemens agreed to rejoin the team.

“These kind of games, you just kind of chalk ‘em up to an anomaly,” said Lance Berkman, who hit his 15th home run. “There’s really nothing you can do, you get down that big that early, it’s tough to come back.”

The Astros play 15 of their next 18 games at home, where they are 18-10. Houston is just 9-18 on the road.

“Let’s reserve a poor start (to the homestand) for a couple games,” Houston manager Phil Garner said. “But this was not a very good game, obviously. We didn’t play very well.”

Fernando Nieve (1-3, 5.36) starts for the Astros on Saturday in search of his first victory since May 2. The rookie right-hander is 0-2 in four starts since then, and gave up six hits and four runs in 6 2-3 innings against Pittsburgh on Sunday, not earning a decision in a 5-4, 10-inning win.

This is his first time facing the Reds.

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B. Arroyo Ari vs. A. Pettitte NYY
14-11 Record 14-13
3.29 ERA 4.20
184 K 178
64 BB 70
1.19 WHIP 1.44