HOUSTON (AP) -- Dusty Baker had his fingers crossed that Johnny Cueto would be OK in his return from a long stint on the disabled list on Monday night.
After the fifth inning, the manager could breathe a sigh of relief with his ace done for the night after a solid outing.
Cueto threw five scoreless innings and Zack Cozart homered and drove in four runs to help the Reds to a 6-1 win over the Houston Astros.
Pitching for the first time since straining the muscle below his right shoulder on June 28, Cueto (5-2) allowed five hits and struck out five with one walk for the win.
"He was pretty sharp," Baker said. "Had good velocity. Let's hope that he continues to be well, continues to get better, his endurance gets better."
Cincinnati moved five games ahead of Washington for second NL wild card.
Cozart got things going for the Reds with his two-run shot to left field in the second inning. He added a two-RBI single in the fourth.
The return of Cueto, Cincinnati's opening day starter the past two seasons, could be a boost to the Reds as they make a push toward the postseason.
"That's a tremendous shot in the arm for our team," Baker said. "Guys were psyched that he was out there."
And Cueto was excited to be back on the mound after finishing up a third trip to the DL with the same injury.
"I don't have words to describe it," he said through a translator. "It's something really incredible for me to go that long without pitching, and I came in today and feel really good today."
He lasted 82 pitches on Monday, and didn't allow more than one base runner in an inning until the fifth when Carlos Corporan and L.J. Hoes hit back-to-back singles with one out.
Brandon Barnes grounded into a force play that left Hoes out at second before Cueto walked Jonathan Villar, eliciting a visit to the mound from pitching coach Brian Price.
Cueto escaped the jam when he struck out Jose Altuve to end the inning and his night. Cueto pumped his fist before slowly walking off the mound.
"(Price) told me: 'This is your last hitter,'" Cueto said. "So I was one out away and he is a great hitter, so I had to make an out no matter what and I did it. So I felt really happy."
PADRES 2, PIRATES 0
PITTSBURGH -- Andrew Cashner carried a perfect game into the seventh inning and faced the minimum 27 batters in a one-hitter that sent the San Diego Padres past the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-0.
Cashner (10-8) retired his first 18 batters before Jose Tabata grounded a clean single into right field leading off the seventh. Tabata was erased when Andrew McCutchen grounded into an inning-ending double play, and the right-hander cruised the rest of the way for his first complete game in 31 career starts.
ROCKIES 6, CARDINALS 2
DENVER -- Todd Helton started his final homestand with a key single in the eighth inning that helped the Rockies beat the Cardinals.
DIAMONDBACKS 2, DODGERS 1
PHOENIX -- Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Trevor Cahill and three relievers made it stand up in Arizona's win over Los Angeles.
PHILLIES 12, MARLINS 2
PHILADELPHIA -- Cliff Lee had three hits, knocked in a career-high four runs and struck out a season-high 14 to lead the Phillies over the Marlins.
BREWERS 6, CUBS 1
MILWAUKEE -- Caleb Gindl had three hits, including a two-run homer, and Wily Peralta pitched six strong innings to lead the Brewers over the Cubs.
RAYS 6, RANGERS 2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Wil Myers homered and had three RBIs, Alex Cobb pitched eight solid innings and the Tampa Bay Rays took the lead for the first AL wild-card spot by beating the skidding Texas Rangers 6-2.
TIGERS 4, MARINERS 2
DETROIT -- Rick Porcello struck out 10 in six innings and Detroit beat Seattle to move a step closer to its third straight AL Central title.
Victor Martinez broke a 1-all tie in the sixth with a run-scoring single, and Omar Infante followed with his own RBI single.
Porcello (13-8) allowed a run and five hits with two walks, falling one strikeout short of his career high. Drew Smyly got five outs in relief and Jose Veras finished the eighth.
Joaquin Benoit pitched a hitless ninth for his 21st save in 21 chances.
Joe Saunders (11-15) pitched well until the sixth, when he got two outs before a walk and three hits chased him from the game. Abraham Almonte homered for Seattle, which has lost seven of eight.
ROYALS 7, INDIANS 1
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- James Shields kept Cleveland off balance for six innings, Salvador Perez led a scrappy Kansas City offense and the Royals won the opener of a three-game set with significant playoff implications.
Shields struck out a season-high 10 for the Royals (79-71), who moved within 2 1/2 games of the second AL wild-card berth. The Indians (81-69) remained a half-game back of Texas.
Shields (12-9) allowed only Lonnie Chisenhall's homer before turning the game over to his stingy bullpen. Wade Davis, Luke Hochevar and Tim Collins did the rest in a steady drizzle.
Scott Kazmir (8-9) gave up four runs in five-plus innings. He didn't get a whole lot of help from his offense, which racked up a season-high 17 strikeouts.
ANGELS 12, ATHLETICS 1
OAKLAND, Calif. -- C.J. Wilson pitched seven innings of four-hit ball for his career-best 17th win, and Los Angeles became the first team in nearly four months to beat Oakland starter Jarrod Parker.
WHITE SOX 12, TWINS 1
CHICAGO -- Erik Johnson pitched six scoreless innings to earn his first major league victory, and Chicago scored seven runs in the first against Minnesota.