HOUSTON (AP) -Healthy again,
got right back to beating the
Oswalt came off the disabled list and struck out five in the
' 5-4 win over the Reds on Monday night.
Oswalt (8-8) won his fifth straight start against Cincinnati and improved to 20-1 in 25 career outings against them, despite
giving up a grand slam to
. The Houston ace threw 74 pitches in his first start since aggravating a left hip injury on July 11. He went on the DL on
July 19 and was activated just before Monday's game.
He was hoping to throw 80-85 pitches, but felt fatigued by the end of the fifth.
''There wasn't a whole lot of sense to go out there and maybe face one batter and come out,'' Oswalt said. ''We decided the
fifth inning was enough.''
Oswalt left the July 11 start in Washington after one inning. He had gone at least six innings in 15 of 18 starts before that,
but Houston manager
isn't worried about Oswalt's conditioning right now.
''He's back. That brings a smile to my face,'' Cooper said. ''He's back, he's feeling good and we just thought five was good
hit his third homer in two days and
pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 27th save. The Astros' bullpen allowed one hit in four scoreless innings as Houston beat
Cincinnati for the seventh straight time.
(7-10) gave up five runs and eight hits for the Reds, who've lost four in a row and six of their last eight.
The Astros took a 2-0 lead before Cueto recorded his first out.
Kaz Matsui led off with a double and scored on
's single up the middle. After
blooped an RBI single to center.
Blum lined out to center and Berkman tagged up from third to make it 3-0. Cueto threw 33 pitches in the first inning.
The Reds had a scoring chance in the second when
doubled and Dunn singled to put runners at first and third with no outs. Oswalt struck out the next three batters.
''We knew with Oswalt coming off the disabled list, he would be on a limited pitch count,'' Cincinnati manager
said. ''We got two runners on in the second, he struck out the side and I got a headache.''
Oswalt was surprised how well he located his pitches after the long layoff. Of his 74 pitches, 54 were strikes.
''I thought I'd be kind of all over the strike zone,'' he said. ''I had good command of the curveball and the fastball.''
beat out an infield single to start the Reds' rally in the third. Ken Griffey Jr. singled and Phillips walked to load the
bases for Dunn, who came in hitting .324 since the All-Star break.
Dunn hammered the first pitch off the center-field wall, above the yellow line for a home run. The 426-foot shot was Dunn's
ninth career grand slam and his second in less than a week. He also hit one on July 23 against San Diego.
It was the second grand slam allowed by Oswalt in his career and the first since
hit one for the
New York Mets
at Minute Maid Park on May 14, 2004.
Berkman doubled in the Houston third before Blum homered to right center, his ninth of the season and third in two games.
Blum hit a pair in the Astros' 11-6 win over Milwaukee at Miller Park on Sunday.
Last week, Blum watched film of at-bats from earlier in his career. He made an adjustment, then went 3-for-8 in the Milwaukee
series over the weekend before his three-RBI night Monday.
''I saw some things I was doing with my hands that are a little different than I'm doing now,'' he said. ''Kind of went back
and tried it a little bit and it's obviously working out.''
combined to pitch three innings of one-hit relief, paving the way for Valverde.
Berkman made a diving catch on
's liner for the final out.
''It's been a long time since I saw a pitcher leave after the fifth inning with a one-run lead and still win the game,'' Baker
Notes: Griffey has an 11-game hitting streak. ... The Astros have won 12 of the last 15 meetings with the Reds. ... The Astros
activated Oswalt from the disabled list before the game and optioned RHP
to Triple-A Round Rock. Hernandez started four games and went 0-3 with an 8.38 ERA in 19 1-3 innings. ... Astros CF
sat out with a sprained right ankle. Cooper said Bourn could return to the lineup on Tuesday, but ''that's not a for-sure