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CIN@HOU: Martinez belts his first Major League homer

HOUSTON -- J.D. Martinez chatted with Jordan Lyles earlier this week and delivered a message to the Major Leagues' youngest pitcher, who had tied an Astros record with 11 straight starts without a victory to begin his career.

"He was like, 'Man, I need to get a win. I need to get a win,'" Martinez said. "I'm like, 'You're going to get your win, and I'm going to hit my first home run that day. Watch.'"

Martinez delivered on his promise.

Martinez hit his first Major League home run in his first at-bat, then delivered a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh inning to give Lyles his first Major League victory in a 5-4 win over the Reds at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday night.

"It's hard coming into an organization where they're making the youth movement, and everyone's kind of just looking at you almost like, 'Oh, they're not supposed to win,'" Martinez said. "That's how we all felt. They really can't be expecting a lot from us, now let's show them."

Brian Bogusevic pinch-hit for Lyles (1-6) in the seventh and drew a walk. Jason Bourgeois and Jose Altuve then delivered consecutive bunt singles, setting the stage for Martinez, who drove in Bogusevic and Bourgeois with a sharp liner to left field.

"We had a couple of messed up bunt plays without an out," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "You just can't give away that many outs. This game isn't made for five outs."

Martinez, who played in his first Major League game on Saturday, finished the night 3-for-4 with four RBIs batting out of the three-hole in the lineup.

He said he was fouling too many balls off the last few days, so he and hitting coach Mike Barnett went to the video room prior to Wednesday's game to make adjustments.

"I put my heart and soul into this game," Martinez said. "I feel like I work as hard as anybody. It's starting to pay off, so I'm really excited."

Reds starter Dontrelle Willis blasted his first home run since 2007, belting a solo shot off Lyles in the seventh to break a 2-2 tie. Lyles was in line for yet another loss before the Astros' retaliation.

"I'll be honest, I haven't been nervous this year. But I was nervous in that dugout tonight after I came out," Lyles said. "I'm not nervous when I'm on the mound at all, but emotions were up and down."

Martinez's two-run home run to left field in the first inning scored Bourgeois and provided the Astros with an early lead.

Jimmy Paredes doubled in the sixth inning with the game tied at 2 to put runners on second and third with one out. But the Astros failed to score, as Clint Barmes struck out and Humberto Quintero grounded out.

Paredes, Bourgeois, Jason Michaels and Altuve all notched two hits in the game.

"It's different, because nobody knows these guys," Bourgeois said. "You come up to the big leagues, it's all new. They're taking advantage of pitches and being aggressive on the bases."

Joey Votto was the only Reds player with multiple hits off Lyles, roping two doubles and a single in his first three plate appearances. He came home to score a game-tying run in the sixth inning on a single by Brandon Phillips.

Quintero, who nearly gave Houston the lead in the sixth inning on a ball that sailed just foul down the right-field line, provided an essential insurance run in the eighth inning with a home run to left, extending his season-high hit streak to six games.

Reds pinch-hitter Yonder Alonso cut the lead to one run with a two-out RBI single in the ninth inning off Mark Melancon, who then got pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo to fly out to end the game.

Lyles tossed his third straight quality start, throwing four scoreless innings to begin the night. Manager Brad Mills said he had hoped Lyles' first win would have come before his 12th start, but the losses never fazed the young starter.

"That kind of just piles on to what everybody said about him," Mills said. "How he handles himself, his mound presence, how he handles any type of adversity. He doesn't let that bother him. That was the same thing going into today. He just went out and pitched."

As for the mild-mannered starter's favorite part of his first win?

"I can stop hearing about it," Lyles said. Comments