Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Reds 7, Astros 5

Reliever Hudson stops Astros' rally in majors debut

By John Fay, jfay@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo] Reds shortstop Barry Larkin jumps high after forcing Astros' Lance Berkman at second in the first inning Monday.
(AP Photo/Al Behrman)
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        It looked like it was going to be a nice and easy win for the Reds Monday night. It wasn't, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The Reds did, after all, hang on to beat the Houston Astros 7-5 before a crowd of 32,233 at Cinergy Field.

        And they might have discovered a key to the future in so doing.

        Luke Hudson, making his major-league debut, shut down Houston's comeback with a perfect inning of relief.

        “That was nice to see,” Reds manager Bob Boone said. “We needed it. A great job, a great way to start a career. Our bullpen is pretty beat up. He better be ready to go again (tonight).”

        Hudson pitched the eighth after the Astros had scored three in the seventh to close it to a two-run game.

        “That's not what I expected,” said Hudson, who was called up from Louisville on Friday. “A close game. We're tied for first place.”

        Hudson, a 25-year-old right-hander obtained from Colorado in the Pokey Reese trade, has great stuff, but it can be hard to tame. Hudson's first pitch crossed the plate about 7 feet above the ground and went to the backstop.

        “That first pitch was awesome,” said Reds closer Danny Graves, who pitched the ninth for his 25th save. “He settled down and showed some nasty stuff. My knees buckled on his first curveball.”

        The victory kept the Reds in a tie with the St. Louis Cardinals atop the National League Central. It was the Reds' third straight win and their sixth in seven games.

        The fans have taken notice. The Reds sold 13,000 tickets after 9 a.m., including 8,600 walk-ups after 5:40 p.m. The fact that it was turn-back-the-clock-to-1970 night, which meant red reserved seats were $3 and hot dogs $1, had something to do with it. But maybe the fact it is July, the season is exactly half over and the Reds are in first had something to do with it, too.

        It looked like this would be a Jimmy Haynes story until Hudson stole the show. Haynes went six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, to push his record to 9-6. Haynes also had a career-high three hits, thus becoming the first Reds pitcher to have a three-hit game since Ron Villone did it on Sept. 29, 2000.

        Haynes, who went 8-17 a year ago with the Milwaukee Brewers, is 6-1 with a 3.46 ERA in his last eight starts.

        “I'm just trying to keep it going,” Haynes said.

        Haynes knew that would be tough against Houston. He entered Monday 0-5 with a 10.13 ERA in his career against the Astros.

        “After I gave up a run in the first, I thought, "Here we go,' ” Haynes said. “But we scored some runs and that relaxed me.”

        The Reds didn't stay in that 1-0 hole long.

        Barry Larkin led off the Reds' first with a double down the left-field line, breaking an 0-for-20 skid. Aaron Boone followed with a double down the right-field line to score Larkin. Adam Dunn made it 2-0 with a third straight double.

        The Reds broke it open in the second with four runs on two hits. The key blows: Haynes' suicide-squeeze bunt for a base hit and Juan Encarnacion's two-run single.

        Haynes made it 7-1 by doubling home Castro in the third. That was it for the Reds' offense.

        “We kind of shut it down,” Bob Boone said.

        That allowed the Astros to make a game out of it. Berkman and Jeff Bagwell hit back-to-back doubles off the big black wall in center field to produce a run in the sixth.

        Alan Zinter made it 7-4 with a two-run homer off Scott Williamson in the seventh. It was Zinter's first major-league hit. Zinter, 34, had 5,000 minor league at-bats before getting called up this year.

        Williamson proceeded to give up a walk, a hit and a walk to load the bases. That ended his night. Left-hander Bruce Chen replaced Williamson and walked the only man he faced, Brian Hunter, to force in a run and make it 7-5.

        Scott Sullivan came on and struck out Richard Hidalgo to leave the bases loaded.

        “I was trying to keep Sully out of it,” Boone said. “But we really needed him.”

        Hudson followed Sullivan. Hudson's stuff was as advertised, hitting 96 mph on the scoreboard meter.

        “That's adrenaline,” Hudson said.


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Larkin defers to hotter players
Walker, Ordonez deserve selection
Pedro declines All-Star invitation to rest arm
Wild Thing replaces Helms as manager in minors
Yankees pick up Mondesi from Toronto
NL roundup
AL roundup
Notes from Monday's games

Dorsch, dad team up vs. Bengals
Dickey memorial service changed to Saturday
Shoemaker Center to host NCAA women's first round
After a month of surprises, Brazil is back on top
German keeper Kahn wins Golden Ball
Henman makes it look difficult at Wimbledon
Serena creates a racket at Wimbledon
Churchill Downs changes post time for Friday
Rare white colt attracts unusual attention
$200,000 on the line when Shootout resumes Tuesday
Bird: I'd come to Charlotte to build a winner
Rangers sign Holik
Coming up this week

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