HOUSTON (AP) — The Cincinnati Reds got in an early hole on Sunday and couldn’t put anything together to climb out of it.
Evan Gattis and Luis Valbuena homered, driving in two runs each, to help the Houston Astros to 6-0 win over the Reds.
Gattis drove in a run with a double in the second and Valbuena followed with a single in that inning to put Houston up 2.
Valbuena added a solo home run in the fifth inning off Brandon Finnegan (3-5) and Jose Altuve added a sacrifice fly in that frame. The home run by Gattis came in the seventh to make it 5-0.
“There really weren’t a lot of opportunities for us to bust ourselves open and get back in that game once we fell down,” manager Bryan Price said. “There was nothing there.”
Mike Fiers (5-3) allowed four hits and struck out five in 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He left the game when Jay Bruce’s line drive hit him in the thigh for a single with two outs in the sixth. Chris Devenski took over and allowed one hit in 3 1/3 innings to complete the shutout and pick up his first save.
Finnegan yielded five hits and four runs in five innings to snap a streak of five straight games where he lasted at least six innings.
“He could have gone back out there and stayed out there but he just wasn’t real sharp,” Price said. “It just wasn’t very clean and this is a guy whose innings we’ll be concerned with as we get into August and September so it just didn’t make any sense at all to keep running him back out there.”
Finnegan said nothing was bothering him physically.
“I just wasn’t making good pitches,” he said. “They only had two actual good hits — the home run and the double. It just wasn’t my day.”
Danny Worth singled with two outs in the second before scoring on the double by Gattis to make it 1-0. Valbuena followed with his single to center field to push the lead to 2-0.
Fiers plunked Eugenio Suarez to start the fifth before a one-out single by Tucker Barnhart. But the Reds came away empty-handed when Suarez was caught trying to steal third and Fiers struck out Tyler Holt.
Valbuena sent the first pitch of Houston’s fifth into the seats in right field for his eighth homer to make it 3-0. Jake Marisnick walked before George Springer grounded into a force out that left Marisnick out at second. Springer stole second base and took third on a wild pitch before Marwin Gonzalez walked.
Altuve’s sacrifice fly came next to make it 4-0.
HAMILTON’S NIFTY PLAY
Billy Hamilton robbed Altuve of extra bases on his sacrifice fly in the fifth inning when he ran it down almost to the warning track in center field and dived to grab it. Hamilton jumped up after the catch and got it to Brandon Phillips who threw it to first base to double up Gonzalez at first and limit the damage.
It was the second straight game with a great catch for Hamilton, who came off the concussion list on Friday. He crashed shoulder-first into the wall in center field making a grab on Saturday.
“The outfield in Houston is sensational, but as far as a single outfielder playing one position I don’t know if there’s anyone better than Billy,” Price said. “He covers so much ground and he catches what he gets to. He’s fearless at the wall and he’s good coming in, going back and side to side.”
Reds: RHP Raisel Iglesias (right shoulder) allowed one hit in one inning of a rehabilitation assignment at Double-A Pensacola on Saturday. … RHP Homer Bailey (right elbow surgery) threw live batting practice at the team’s spring training facility in Arizona on Friday without problems. He will throw live batting practice again on Tuesday.
Reds: Cincinnati has an off day on Monday before Anthony DeSclafani (0-0, 2.08) pitches in the opener of a two-game series at Texas. DeSclafani allowed six hits and four runs in 2 2/3 innings in a 9-8 loss to Atlanta in his last start on Wednesday.
Astros: Doug Fister (7-3, 3.26) will pitch for Houston in the opener of a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels on Monday. Fister picked up his sixth straight win by allowing five hits and two runs and driving in two runs in 7 1/3 innings of a 5-2 win at St. Louis on Wednesday.
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