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Updated: Sunday, August 17, 2003 5:32 PM EDT
MLB RECAP
Houston Astros
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
3 6 1
Cincinnati Reds
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R H E
4 6 0
W Wilson (7-10)
L Redding (8-11)
S Reitsma (2)
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CINCINNATI 4, HOUSTON 3
 

CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- Juan Castro continues to be a surprising source of offense for the Cincinnati Reds .

Castro belted a three-run homer off Tim Redding in the fourth inning and the Reds held on for a 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros .

After spending eight seasons as a part-time player with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Reds, Castro is on pace for a career high in at-bats. He is making the most of the increased opportunity, already setting career highs with nine homers and 26 RBI.

"I'm getting a chance to play more," he said. "I don't try to hit home runs, but when you have more chances you will hit more."

Castro had just two homers in 2002 but has hit four in his last 15 games. Houston had a 2-1 lead when he drove a 1-0 pitch from Redding (8-11) over the center field wall to give Cincinnati the lead.

"I knew I hit the ball good but I didn't know if it was going out," Castro said. "It kept carrying and carrying and I was running hard to first base. It looked like (center fielder Colin Porter ) might catch it."

"I just threw a bad pitch," Redding said. "It was supposed to be low and away. He hit it to the deepest part of the ballpark. I thought Colin would catch it a couple feet from the wall."

Cincinnati's Paul Wilson (7-10) notched the win, allowing three runs and five hits in in six innings. Ryan Wagner and Felix Heredia each pitched a scoreless inning before Chris Reitsma worked the ninth for his second save.

Rookie Dernell Stenson tied it with his first career home run for the Reds. He was robbed of a homer on Saturday when umpires incorrectly ruled that a fan interfered with the ball.

"I was able to get this one out. I was lucky," he said. "I did see the one yesterday. When I saw it on the replay from another angle you could tell (it was a home run). It happens. I am trying to make the most of the opportunity to play."

Jeff Bagwell hit his 28th homer for the Astros, which lost for just the second time in its last 13 meetings with the Reds. He has 25 career homers in Cincinnati - his most in any city.

Redding allowed four runs, but only one earned, and matched a career high with eight strikeouts in six innings.

Bagwell opened the scoring early, belting a solo shot off Wilson with two outs in the first inning.

Redding worked around a pair of runners in the bottom half, but Stenson homered with one out in the second to forge a 1-1 tie.

Houston took a 2-1 lead on Jeff Kent 's RBI single in the fourth but did not have the lead for long.

D'Angelo Jimenez led off the bottom half and reached base when Bagwell booted his grounder at first base. Stenson singled three batters later before Castro dealt the decisive blow.

Morgan Ensberg and Bagwell hit consecutive singles to start the sixth and Kent's grounder made it 4-3 before Wilson escaped the jam.

Wagner worked around a pair of runners in the seventh and Heredia faced the minimum in the eighth. Reitsma cruised in the ninth, striking out pinch hitters Gregg Zaun and Geoff Blum to end the game.

"I'm having fun," Reitsma said of his new role as closer. "It's such an adrenaline rush. When the phone rings in the bullpen you know if you don't do it, you're the goat. If you do it, you're out there and get the pat on the back. It's a special feeling."


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