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Oswalt pitching through back troubles

Oswalt pitching through back troubles

CINCINNATI -- Roy Oswalt will carry an eight-game winning streak against the Reds and a nagging bulging disk into Tuesday's game against Cincinnati at Great American Ball Park.

Oswalt, who is a staggering 23-1 in his career against the Reds, underwent an MRI on Friday night that revealed a bulging disk, a problem Oswalt has been dealing with for the past two years. He's changed his workout routine and will pitch through the discomfort the rest of the season.

"I've been pitching with it for the last three starts, and I go as long as I can go and then I come out," Oswalt start. "Last start, I lasted two innings, and I got shelled. There wasn't nothing said about that [the back]. I didn't feel any different than I felt the game before.

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"The game before I made it through six [innings] and this game I made it through two. Everybody in here's got something hurting right now. I'm going to go out there and try it again, and it if comes back, we'll have to go from there and decide what we're going to do."

Oswalt gave up 10 hits and six runs in two innings Thursday against Atlanta. He left his previous start with tightness in his back, a condition that forced him to miss two weeks earlier this season. Doctors suggested Oswalt start swimming instead of running to build some core strength, and general manager Ed Wade said the right-hander began swimming Saturday.

"If it's creating issues for him, he needs to tell us and we'll back off," Wade said. "His expectation is he's going to be able to pitch with it. It's not something that should result in some type of occurrence, like a blowout of some kind.

"It's a wear-and-tear issue, more than anything, with the torque he puts on his spine. After a while, you begin to see the end result of that torque."

Oswalt has won eight consecutive decisions against Cincinnati since Aug. 23, 2006. He won his first 15 career decisions against the Reds.

Pitching matchup
HOU: RHP Roy Oswalt (8-6, 4.03 ERA)
Oswalt is 7-1 with a 3.29 ERA in 10 starts at Great American Ball Park. He's faced the Reds three times this year and has no decisions and a 2.37 ERA. Oswalt's 15 no-decisions this year are tied for a club record.

CIN: RHP Kip Wells (1-4, 5.21 ERA)
In a 5-1 loss to the Rockies on Thursday -- in which all five runs were scored with two outs in the third inning -- Wells pitched five innings and allowed five earned runs and six hits with three walks and three strikeouts. His downfall was not being able to cleanly field a two-out bunt by Eric Young Jr., which opened the door to the Colorado rally. Wells said he poorly located his slider during that inning, which led to a two-run double by Jason Giambi and a two-run homer by Garrett Atkins.

Tidbits
First baseman Lance Berkman's 21 career homers at Great American Ball Park are the most by an opponent since the venue opened in 2003. ... Right fielder Hunter Pence was hitting .371 (13-for-35) with three homers and nine RBIs in 10 games prior to Monday. ... Six Astros players have collected their first Major League hits this year, including four pitchers: Jeff Fulchino, Bud Norris, Felipe Paulino and Wesley Wright. Infielders Tommy Manzella and Chris Johnson each got their first hits this month.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FS-H HD

On radio
• KTRH 740, KLAT 1010 (Español)

Up next
• Wednesday: Astros (Bud Norris, 5-3, 5.44) at Reds (Justin Lehr, 4-2, 4.93), 6:10 p.m. CT
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Astros (TBD) at Brewers (TBD), 7:05 p.m. CT

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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