J.D. Martinez comes through in clutch to lift Astros past Reds

HOUSTON -- If rookie J.D. Martinez's baseball career doesn't pan out, he might take a shot at fortune telling.

Two days ago he told fellow Houston Astros' rookie Jordan Lyles, the hard luck pitcher that was winless in his first 11 starts, that he'd get his first win in the same game where Martinez collected his first home run.

On Wednesday night, his prediction came true.

Martinez homered and hit a go-ahead two-run double in the seventh inning to help Lyles pick up his first career win as the Astros beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-4.

"The first thing I told him when I came in the dugout ... (was) 'What (did) I tell you?' He (said), 'Atta baby,'" Martinez said.

In the clubhouse after the game, Lyles' neck and shirt was still smeared with the remnants of the shaving cream he took to the face, but it didn't dampen his mood.

"My phone's very popular tonight," he said. "It's great to get this win -- finally."

Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first inning and drove in two more with a bases-loaded double off reliever Nick Masset (1-5) to put Houston ahead 4-3.

Humberto Quintero added an insurance run with a solo homer in the eighth inning to give the Astros a series win over the Reds, who were coming off a sweep of San Francisco.

Lyles (1-6) allowed six hits and three runs in seven innings to pick up his first win in his 12th start. Fernando Rodriguez pitched a perfect eighth before Mark Melancon allowed one run in the ninth for his 11th save.

Though Lyles is the youngest player in the majors at just 20 years old, he hasn't let the pressure of not winning get to him. That doesn't mean he wasn't a bit on edge on Wednesday night.

"I haven't been nervous this year, but I was nervous in that dugout tonight after I came out," he said. "I'm not nervous when I'm on the mound at all, but emotions were up and down. Especially that last inning when they got a guy on base with no outs. But (Melancon's) still on the mound and I'm more confident in him than he knows."

Masset's tough outing ruined a good night by Reds starter Dontrelle Willis, who yielded eight hits and two runs and put Cincinnati ahead in the top of the seventh with a solo home run. The shot, which landed several rows up in the stands in right field, was his first home run since Aug. 29, 2007.

"I have to do a better job of coming out of the gate and getting outs early," Willis said. "I seem to have pitched myself back against the wall. I need to do a better job of that because I didn't go out with enough focus. They came out of the gate ready to play. I like the resilience that we showed getting back in the game. It's just another tough loss."

The former Marlins standout, who began the season with Triple-A Louisville, is winless in five starts for the Reds after being the victim of three blown saves.

Masset walked Brian Bogusevic to start the seventh inning, before consecutive singles by Jason Bourgeois and Jose Altuve loaded the bases. Martinez followed with his two-RBI double down the left field line to put Houston on top.

"I didn't have my command," Masset said. "I wasn't executing my pitches. It kind of snowballed real quick on me. I have to make that play on the bunt play and make that out. I didn't have my good stuff today."

Todd Frazier homered and Joey Votto had three hits for the Reds, who are 7-5 against Houston this season.

Brandon Phillips tied it 2-all with a run-scoring single to center field with one out in the sixth inning. A double by Votto -- his third hit of the night -- set up the score.

Martinez's first career homer in his fifth game since being called up from Double-A came on a two-run shot to left center field to give Houston a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Bourgeois singled to start the inning and set up the home run.

Jason Michaels doubled with two outs before a single by Jimmy Paredes, but Willis retired Clint Barmes to limit the damage.

Votto singled with two outs in the first inning, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Phillips reached on an error by Barmes in the second and Lyles hit Frazier with a pitch in the third. The Reds didn't get another hit until Votto hit a ground-rule double to start the fourth inning.

Frazier's home run, which made a loud thud as it crashed off a CITGO sign high on the left field wall, came with one out in the fifth inning to pull Cincinnati to 2-1.

Phillips robbed Altuve of a hit in the third inning with a nifty diving catch that left him face down on the dirt, where he remained for a few seconds before rising to his feet. Martinez followed with a single deep into left field, but Carlos Lee grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Game notes
Reds 3B Scott Rolen had surgery on his left shoulder on Wednesday and is expected to miss four to six weeks. Rolen, who has been on the disabled list since July 22, had arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs and fragments from a joint in his shoulder on Wednesday by Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek. ... Both teams have the day off on Thursday before the Astros open a series with the Brewers in Houston and the Reds face the Cubs in Chicago on Friday. ... Cincinnati's Mike Leake will face Chicago's Ryan Dempster and Houston lefty J.A. Happ will take on Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo on Friday.