HOUSTON -- Wandy Rodriguez pumped his fist after finishing off a sterling performance with a strikeout, getting out of the only jam he faced in seven innings.
"I've never seen him do that before," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said of Rodriguez's rare display of emotion. "It's good, good for him
"Wandy has been as good as any pitcher in the game right now. He is really throwing the ball well."
Ivan Rodriguez came out of an extended slump with only his second multi-hit game. His two doubles gave him three for the year and his two RBIs doubled his total for the season.
But the catcher wanted to talk about his pitcher.
"He did a great job," Pudge said. "He threw a lot of strike ones. He used his fastball a lot and his breaking ball was good. It was a 12-to-6 breaking ball. He threw a great game."
"Tonight, my breaking ball was very nice, so I used it a lot," Rodriguez said.
And about the first pump?
"I felt happy because in that situation, I wanted to get that guy out and I did."
The Reds were impressed, too.
"That was as good a curve ball as I've seen Wandy throw," manager Dusty Baker said. "He threw it on any count and at any time. The velocity difference on it was 15 to 20 miles per hour and this early in the season, our hitters weren't able to adjust to it.
"But I'm not making any excuses. He threw a great game tonight."
Reds starter Aaron Harang (1-2) went six innings and allowed five runs on 10 hits. He struck out six and walked one and didn't think he threw too badly.
"I got six ground balls and they went right where everybody was not," Harang said. "It was frustrating. When you make good pitches and don't get outs, it's that way. It was just one of those nights. You can't do anything about it."
With the bases loaded in the seventh, Blum doubled to right field to score two runs. Ivan Rodriguez then doubled in two more runs for a 7-0 lead.
2B Kaz Matsui sat out his fourth straight game with a sore back. IF Jeff Keppinger missed his second straight game with a lower back strain. RHP Brandon Backe threw a two-inning simulated game before the game Saturday and pronounced himself fit. It was Backe's first live pitching outing since straining his left intercostal in early March. Astros say he could throw another simulated gamed on Monday and then possibly go on a rehab assignment. Nix was a late replacement for Jay Bruce, who sat out with a sore right hand. Bruce, who hurt the hand Monday at Milwaukee when he was hit by a pitch, is day-to-day. X rays and MRIs on Bruce's hands were negative. ... The Astros sent RHP Alberto Arias back to Triple-A Round Rock after the game.