CINCINNATI (AP) - Brandon Lyon worked out, then went directly to the trainer's room, avoiding the clubhouse and interviews. His manager wasn't sure what to say about the closer's meltdown, either.
Lyon came on in the ninth inning Wednesday afternoon trying to close out a one-hitter, but failed to retire any of the five batters he faced. Jay Bruce pulled a double inside first base, completing the Cincinnati Reds' rally for three runs and a 3-2 victory over the Houston Astros that left everyone stunned.
``Anytime you have a lead like that and lose, it's hard,' manager Brad Mills said. ``It's hard for everyone.'
Even the Reds had a tough time taking it in.
``It's hard to believe we had one hit and came back to win,' said Chris Heisey, who had a single in the ninth.
Lyon (3-2) came on to try to finish off the one-hitter, but failed to retire any of the five batters he faced while blowing a save for the fourth time in eight chances. It started badly - he walked Drew Stubbs on four pitches. Then, it got worse with each batter.
Heisey and Joey Votto singled to bring Stubbs home, and Brandon Phillips tied it with another single to the opposite field. Bruce then pulled a pitch down the line for Cincinnati's third game-ending hit of the season.
Mills declined to get into a discussion about whether Lyon, who saved 20 games last season, is in danger of losing his job.
``Again, it's 10 minutes after the game,' Mills said. ``It's not the time to go through anything like that. This guy was pretty special for us last year.'
Francisco Cordero (2-0) pitched the ninth for the win.
Lyon's meltdown spoiled an impressive starting debut by rookie Aneury Rodriguez, who allowed only one hit and one walk over five innings. Four relievers held the Reds without another hit until Lyon got into the game. He wasn't available for interviews after the game.
``We've got confidence in our bullpen, even with Brandon,' catcher J.R. Towles said. ``It wasn't like they were squaring balls up. He's having some bad luck now.'
The 12,340 fans bundled in blankets, trying to stay warm on a cloudy, 44-degree afternoon.
It was Rodriguez's day until the Reds' last at-bat. The pitcher, claimed from Tampa Bay in the Rule 5 draft, started games in the Dominican League over the winter but won a spot on the Astros' staff as a reliever. He made his first nine appearances out of the bullpen, never going more then two innings or 36 pitches.
Mills moved struggling Nelson Figueroa to the bullpen last week and promoted Rodriguez to the rotation. His starting debut exceeded expectations.
``He threw the ball well,' Towles said. ``He was really strong the whole time.'
Rodriguez allowed only Chris Valaika's triple in the third that eluded Hunter Pence on the warning track in right field. Rodriguez struck out three and threw 49 of 83 pitches for strikes.
The Astros played their second game without left fielder Carlos Lee, sidelined by bruised ribs from a collision with a teammate. Jason Bourgeois was a perfect fill-in again, driving home a run with a single off Travis Wood. Bourgeois has started the last four games, going 9 for 17 with three doubles and four steals.
Houston's Brett Wallace went 0 for 4, ending his career-best hitting streak at 11 games.
NOTES: The teams will play Thursday afternoon, making up a game rained out Monday night. ... It was the first of five straight day games for the Reds, who play a weekend series in Chicago. ... The Reds activated OF Fred Lewis and optioned OF Jeremy Hermida to Triple-A Louisville. Lewis has been on the DL since the start of the season with strained muscles in his right side. Hermida was 2 for 18 after his April 18 call-up. ... With his RBI single in the ninth, Votto has reached base safely in the first 30 games - four shy of Dave Collins' club record from 1981.
The Associated Press News Service
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