Houston 6, Cincinnati 3

HOUSTON (AP) -- Jeriome Robertson felt real comfortable Sunday --
he was facing a familiar opponent and throwing to a familiar face.

Robertson stayed unbeaten against Cincinnati and tied the club
record for wins by a rookie left-hander as the Houston Astros
defeated the Reds 6-3.

Robertson (12-6) made his first 24 starts this season with
veteran catcher Gregg Zaun behind the plate. But Zaun was released
last week and the Astros brought up Raul Chavez from Triple-A New

Robertson and Chavez know each other well. They were
batterymates in the minors the last three seasons, including all of
last year when Robertson was the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of
the Year.

"I know him and he knows me," Robertson said. "He's a great
defensive catcher and he calls a good game."

"He didn't know these hitters as much, but we talked about them
before the game. Zaunie was a good catcher and helped me a lot. But
when he left, I thought it was a plus when I heard we were bringing
up Chavez. I feel good with him out there."

Chavez, who went 2-for-4, enjoyed catching Robertson.

"I feel comfortable with him since I've caught him the last
three years in the minors," Chavez said. "I know what he can do
and I know the pitches he likes to throw. When you know a pitcher
like that, everything is good. He and I talked a lot the last three
days about the Reds hitters, so I felt good."

The Astros remained tied with St. Louis for the NL Central lead.

Richard Hidalgo homered, tripled and hit a go-ahead single for
Houston. He drove in three runs and picked up his 20th assist, most
among major league outfielders.

Robertson has won all four of his starts against the Reds this
season with a 2.42 ERA in those games. He went seven innings and
allowed two runs on four hits and five walks. He struck out five.

He tied the club mark of 12 victories by a lefty rookie set by
Jim Deshaies in 1986. Roy Oswalt set the overall club mark for
rookies with 14 in 2001.

"Robertson set the tone of the game by the way he pitched,"
manager Jimy Williams said. "He stepped up when we needed him. He
likes to pitch. Regardless of the results, he likes to go out
there. He was impressive against some aggressive hitters today."

The Reds were impressed.

"He pitched a great game," Ryan Freel said. "He mixed up his
pitches. He was able to throw all of his pitches for strikes.

"He got us to chase some bad pitches here and there. He makes
it tough for a hitter to sit on a pitch because he mixes it up so
much and keeps you off balance."

Jason LaRue agreed.

"Every time we've played against him, he's been good," LaRue
said. "He kept the ball down and did a good job. That's the name
of the game. If you keep the ball down, your results are usually
going to be good."

Billy Wagner pitched a scoreless ninth for his 36th save in 39

Reliever Brian Reith (1-3) took the loss, allowing three runs on
three hits and a walk while getting only two outs.

John Bale went 4 2-3 innings and allowed two runs and six hits
in his fourth start for the Reds.

Sean Casey hit his 12th homer in the Reds' second and Hidalgo
connected in the bottom half.

Craig Biggio's RBI double put the Astros ahead 2-1 in the third.
The Reds tied it in the fourth on Ruben Mateo's double and LaRue's

Hidalgo had an RBI single in the sixth and Jason Lane hit his
first homer, a two-run shot, later in the inning.

D'Angelo Jimenez led off the Reds' eighth with a home run off
reliever Octavio Dotel. Hidalgo's RBI triple in the bottom half
made it 6-3.

Game notes
Astros pinch-hitters have gone 0-for-11 since Tuesday. ...
Casey's homer snapped his string of 84 at-bats without a home run.
He also had not had an extra-base hit since Aug. 5. ... Jeff
Bagwell got the 2,100th hit of his career in his 7,000th career
at-bat in the eighth inning. But he was only 2-for-13 in the Reds
series. ... Reds CF Reggie Taylor had to leave the game in the
eighth after diving for Hidalgo's triple. LaRue switched from
catcher to left field after that. It was only the third time in his
career LaRue had played in the outfield, the last two coming in