Cincinnati (12-13) at Houston (10-14)

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Temp: 41° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Tue May 1, 2007
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The Cincinnati Reds have had two consecutive strong games at the plate. Another scoring outburst by his teammates Tuesday would be a welcome change for Bronson Arroyo.

With Arroyo still looking for his first win, the Reds (12-13) try to give him some run support this time as they open a three-game series with the struggling Houston Astros (10-14) on Tuesday night.

Cincinnati has scored 17 runs in its last two games after managing two runs or fewer in four of its previous seven contests.

“Everybody is swinging the bat good, we’ve got a lot of discipline at the plate, we’re swinging at pitches in the strike zone and that’s how we can be better with the bat,” Reds third baseman Edwin Encarnacion said after a 9-5 win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, the Pirates’ second straight.

Arroyo (0-2, 2.86 ERA) is hoping the hot hitting carries over to Tuesday. The right-hander has the top ERA among Cincinnati’s starters, but the Reds have scored two runs or less in four of his five starts. Arroyo gave up one run and five hits in seven innings Wednesday night, but Cincinnati lost 5-2 to St. Louis.

In his previous start April 19, Arroyo allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings as the Reds fell 8-6 to the Astros. He’s 3-2 with a 5.15 ERA in eight starts and six relief appearances against Houston.

Reds center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. may return to the lineup Tuesday after missing four straight games with inflammation of his lungs. Griffey, though, is batting .174 (4-for-23) in his last seven games against the Astros.

Encarnacion’s bases-loaded triple keyed Cincinnati’s comeback from an early three-run deficit Sunday. He’s 5-for-8 since stopping an 0-for-11 slide Saturday, raising his average from .174 to .221 in two days.

While Cincinnati has gotten hot with the bats, Houston continues to struggle at the plate.

The Astros stranded 13 runners in the first six innings of a 3-1 loss to Milwaukee on Sunday, as they were unable to build on a 10-1 victory Saturday that snapped a seven-game skid.

Houston loaded the bases in the third, fourth and fifth Sunday and came away with nothing. The Astros have stranded 54 runners in their last five games.

“It’s certainly frustrating,” Houston first baseman Lance Berkman told the team’s Web site. “We’re not driving the ball with runners in scoring position when we get a chance. We’ve done a great job getting guys on base - that hasn’t been a problem.”

Matt Albers (0-0, 3.75 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros on Tuesday. He is coming off his second start of the season Wednesday night, when he allowed three runs and four hits in six innings of Houston’s 4-3 defeat to Pittsburgh.

Three of the rookie right-hander’s six career appearances have been against the Reds. He’s 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in one start and two relief appearances against them.

Houston swept a two-game set with Cincinnati from April 18-19.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Arroyo Ari vs. M. Albers Hou
9-15 Record 4-11
4.23 ERA 5.86
156 K 71
63 BB 50
1.40 WHIP 1.60

Scoreboard

Tuesday, May 1