NL: Houston knocks off Reds

CINCINNATI (AP) - Matt Downs doubled home the tiebreaking run with two outs in the ninth inning on Thursday and the Houston Astros held on for their first win of the season, 3-2 over the previously unbeaten Cincinnati Reds.

The Astros were the last NL team to win a game, and they did it with a little drama.

Downs, who had struck out in all three of his at-bats this season, doubled off Nick Masset (0-1) for the lead. Closer Brandon Lyon, who blew his only other save chance on opening day, gave up a pair of two-out singles before getting pinch-hitter Ramon Hernandez to ground into a forceout.

The Reds won their first five games for the first time since 1990. They were the lone NL team left without a loss - Texas is still perfect in the AL.

Left-hander Fernando Abad (1-0) got his first major league win in relief of Brett Myers, who pitched into the seventh inning, when he gave up Scott Rolen's tying pinch-hit homer.

It was a particularly sweet win for Houston, which dropped its first eight last season - one shy of the club record - and lost five in a row to start this season. Phillies 11, Mets 0

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Roy Halladay pitched seven sharp innings for his first win of the season, Wilson Valdez had a career-high four hits, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the New York Mets.

Halladay (1-0) allowed six hits and struck out seven. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner gave up one run in six innings in the opener against Houston, and avoided a loss when the Phillies rallied in the ninth for a 5-4 win.

The four-time NL East champions are off to a 5-1 start.

Jonathon Niese (0-1) got roughed up by an offense that's averaging 7.2 runs and 12.7 hits per game. The left-hander allowed six runs and eight hits in four innings.

The Mets head to Citi Field for their home opener Friday against Washington after splitting a six-game road trip. Brewers 4, Braves 2

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Nyjer Morgan jarred the ball loose in a collision at home to give Milwaukee the lead in the second inning, and the Brewers went on to beat the Atlanta Braves for their third straight win.

Ryan Braun hit his third home run of the season for the Brewers, who have recovered nicely from a four-game losing streak to start the year. Milwaukee rallied to take three of four games from the Braves after losing Monday's home opener at Miller Park.

Martin Prado had a two-run single for Atlanta, which will hold its home opener Friday night after playing its first seven games on the road.

Milwaukee got a better outing the second time around from new starter Shaun Marcum (1-1), who gave up two runs, five hits and two walks with four strikeouts in six innings.

Brewers closer John Axford pitched a scoreless ninth to earn saves in back-to-back games after a shaky start to the season.

Atlanta couldn't muster much run support for starter Tommy Hanson (0-2). Rockies 7, Pirates 1

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Esmil Rogers allowed four singles while pitching into the eighth inning, Troy Tulowitzki homered and drove in three runs, and the Colorado Rockies beat Pittsburgh to wreck the Pirates' home opener under new manager Clint Hurdle.

Rogers (1-0) won the Rockies' No. 5 job with a strong finish in spring training. He looked more like their ace, mixing a devastating 95 mph fastball with a few breaking pitches to overwhelm the Pirates over 7 1-3 dominant innings. After giving up singles to the first two batters, the right-hander retired 22 of 23, including 18 straight.

Tulowitzki connected for his third homer in the fourth off Paul Maholm (0-1) to make it 3-1 as the Rockies won their fourth straight.


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