CINCINNATI (AP) - Wandy Rodriguez knew right away that he was in for a tough matchup. Bronson Arroyo established that from the start, retiring Houston's first three batters on four pitches.
``I was like, 'Three outs already?'' Rodriguez said. ``He threw a lot strikes.'
Arroyo pitched a six-hitter and the Cincinnati Reds wrapped up their home schedule Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Astros.
Miguel Cairo homered as Cincinnati finished 42-39 at Great American Ball Park. The Reds drew 2,213,498 this season, an increase of 152,948 over last year's attendance when they won the NL Central.
The game took only 2 hours, 12 minutes, the fastest of the season for the Reds. There was a 4-minute delay before the fourth inning because of flashing lights triggered by a fire alarm.
Arroyo (9-12), who had been 0-2 over his previous four starts, retired his first 10 batters. He didn't allow a hit until Carlos Lee led off the fifth with a soft single just over the glove of a leaping Cairo at third base.
Houston manager Brad Mills considered the shutout a combination of Houston's early impatience at the plate and Arroyo's effectiveness.
``I've seen us playing some real good baseball the last two months,' Mills said. ``Today was frustrating and disappointing. As the game went on, our at bats got better. This will be a good learning experience for them to go through this.'
Arroyo, now 8-0 with three complete games in his last nine starts against Houston, walked none and struck out two. He needed just 91 pitches in his fourth career shutout and first since beating Washington on Aug. 13, 2009.
The Reds right-hander didn't allow a home run, keeping his season total at 44, four short of tying the National League record and six short of matching the major league mark.
He came close in the sixth when left fielder Dave Sappelt made a leaping catch of Matt Downs' fly ball.
``We hacked a lot early,' Downs said. ``He was throwing a lot of strikes. With a guy like that, it's hard to take a pitch and be down 0-1 and take another and be down 0-2.'
Houston didn't get a runner to third until the eighth and Arroyo responded by striking out pinch-hitter Brian Bogusevic and Jordan Shafer.
The Reds took a 1-0 lead against Rodriguez (11-11) in the first when Brandon Phillips led off with an infield single, stole second and scored on Chris Heisey's two-out bloop single.
Cairo hit a 410-foot drive into the upper deck in left in the second. It was his career-high eighth homer of the season.
Rodriguez allowed four hits with two walks and four strikeouts in seven innings. He recorded his 1,000th career strikeout by fanning Joey Votto leading off the sixth.
``Wandy pitched well enough to win,' Mills said. ``No doubt about it - Wandy battled. He gave us an opportunity to win, and that's what you want your starters to do.'
NOTES: The Astros finished their road schedule with a 25-56 record. ... Houston RHP Bud Norris' right shoulder still was sore Wednesday morning after he left his start on Tuesday in the fourth inning. His availability for his next start probably won't be decided until the team returns to Houston and he can be examined by team doctors, Mills said. ... Houston opens its final homestand of the season Thursday against Colorado. RHP Henry Sosa will face the Rockies for the first time in his career. ... The Reds start their final road trip of the season Friday in Pittsburgh with RHP Edinson Volquez seeking his first win in four starts since June 29. He spent most of the second half of the season at Triple-A Louisville.
The Associated Press News Service
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