Oswalt took the major league lead for wins against one team
without a defeat, improving to 14-0 against the Reds by leading the
Houston Astros to a 4-1 victory Wednesday night.
Oswalt (6-6) had lost four of his last five decisions but he was
masterful against the Reds. He was tied for the lead in victories
against one team without a loss with Pedro Martinez of the New York
Mets, who has a 13-0 record against Seattle. Randy Johnson of the
New York Yankees is 12-0 against the Cubs.
Oswalt studies all of his games against the Reds to stay ahead
in the guessing game.
"I watched some film on their lineup, and they had two guys who
had different stances today," Oswalt said. "They were a little
more off the plate. When they do that you have to change something
and that opens up the outside pitches."
The Reds were again left scratching their heads.
"You've got to tip your hat to him," Ryan Freel said. "But
0-and-14 off the guy is pretty unusual. He's got a live fastball
and the difference between his fastball and curve is 20 mph, and
that's tough to adjust to. But we've seen him a lot and by now
you'd think we would be able to make adjustments. Obviously we
Oswalt says he doesn't think about his mastery.
"You never know about things like that," Oswalt said.
"Sometimes you match up well, sometimes you don't. There are some
guys who are .220 hitters who hit .400 off me and there are some
guys who hit well and don't get anything off me. It's just a
difference in how they see the ball.
"I think I match up against them well and I guess they don't
really see the ball well against me."
Or keep up with Oswalt's adjustments.
"I know him pretty good and this is the first time I've seen
him throw a slider," Freel said. "I didn't know he had one. Add
that to his repertoire and that makes him even better."
Brad Lidge pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 14
opportunities. The Astros won for the fourth time in five games and
Lidge has saved each of those victories.
Oswalt retired the first 10 batters before Felipe Lopez extended
his hitting streak to 14 games with a double with one out in the
fourth. A single by Sean Casey and an RBI hit by Ken Griffey Jr.
evened the game at 1 in the fourth.
Oswalt allowed just one more hit. He pitched seven innings,
allowed four hits and struck out four.
"The last two years, every time we've faced him we don't get
too much going," Javier Valentin said. "Against us, he's like Cy
Ortiz loaded the bases in the first inning without an out but
held the Astros to one run.
Willy Taveras got his major league-leading 20th infield hit,
Todd Self walked and Craig Biggio singled. Berkman then took a
called third strike, Morgan Ensberg hit a sacrifice fly and Chris
Burke flied out.
Ortiz pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and four earned
runs while striking out seven.
For the first time since Oct. 2, 1982, the Astros had an
all-rookie starting outfield with Burke, Taveras and Self. In the
1982 game, the starters were Tim Tolman, Scott Loucks and Larry
Ray. ... Ensberg led all major league third basemen in May with 14
extra-base hits. ... Houston's 10-19 record (.345) was the team's
lowest ever for May. ... Lopez's hitting streak is a career high
and the longest for the Reds this season. ... Casey has hit safely
in nine straight games. ... Austin Kearns of the Reds is hitless in
his last 20 at-bats.