- The Washington Times - Friday, April 17, 2009

HOUSTON (AP) - Ramon Hernandez hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning to give the Cincinnati Reds a 2-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday night.

Jose Valverde (0-1), who missed Thursday’s game with a back strain, walked Edwin Encarnacion with one out in the ninth before Hernandez hit his first homer over the right-field fence. It was Valverde’s first blown save of the year.

Nick Masset (1-0) pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings to get the win and Francisco Cordero got three outs for his third save in three attempts.

Roy Oswalt allowed five hits and walked three in six shutout innings for Houston. The right-hander is 23-1 with a 2.39 ERA in 29 games, 27 starts, against Cincinnati in his career.

Johnny Cueto walked six in 4 2-3 innings for the Reds. He gave up one run and two hits.

Oswalt looked shaky early, working out of a bases-loaded jam in the second with a pair of strikeouts and stranding runners at first and second in the third by getting Jay Bruce to pop up for the final out.

Cueto walked three in the fifth inning, including Lance Berkman with the bases loaded to give Houston a 1-0 lead.

Notes:@ Astros 2B Kaz Matsui sat out his third straight game with a sore back. Hernandez had his 4,000th career at-bat in the seventh inning.

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