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Cincinnati at Houston

Venue: Minute Maid Park

After a big performance by one of their native Texans, the Cincinnati Reds hope La Grange native Homer Bailey can provide a strong showing Saturday night.

Bailey takes the mound for the Reds, who go for a fifth straight win as they continue their weekend series against the major league-worst Houston Astros.

Cincinnati opened the series with a 9-3 win Friday behind a three-run homer from Jay Bruce and six solid innings from Mike Leake.

The Reds (81-52), who are one-half game behind Washington for the majors' best record, increased their lead over St. Louis in the NL Central to a season-high 9 1/2 games.

"It's a good time for us to finish up strong and really go and finish up September and hopefully go into the postseason strong," Bruce said.

Unsurprisingly, given their respective records, Cincinnati is 8-2 against Houston (40-92) this year, winning four straight - all at Minute Maid Park.

Bruce, who is from nearby Beaumont, is hitting .379 against the Astros this year. He has two homers and seven RBIs in seven games in Houston.

"Maybe that I'm close to home, I'm comfortable, I like the park," Bruce said. "I can't really explain it."

He's not the only Texan on the Reds who enjoys playing close to home. Bailey (10-9, 4.24 ERA) is 2-0 with a 0.41 ERA in three career starts in Houston.

Overall, Bailey is 4-0 with a 1.33 ERA in six career outings against the Astros. He gave up five hits in seven scoreless innings at Houston on July 25, but didn't get a decision in Cincinnati's 5-3 victory.

Facing the Astros again could be just what Bailey needs to pick up his first win in four starts. He's 0-2 in his last three outings, including an 8-2 loss to St. Louis on Sunday in which he gave up five runs and a season high-tying nine hits over six innings.

"That's the way it goes," said Bailey, who has a 7.03 ERA over his last six outings. "I can hold my head up high. I was trying to get them to hit ground balls and get some double plays and keep the ball in the yard. It wasn't like I was all over the place. I didn't have any walks. You've just got to tip your cap to them."

The right-hander will try to hand Houston - which finished August with a 5-22 record - its seventh straight loss.

One of the few bright spots for the Astros has been Lucas Harrell (10-9, 3.92), who is slated to get the ball Saturday.

He limited the New York Mets to one run and two hits in seven innings Sunday, but didn't get a decision after Houston lost 2-1.

The right-hander has a 2.75 ERA over his last nine starts, although Houston has failed to score for him in five of those outings and has lost six of those contests.

Harrell is 0-1 in two starts against the Reds this season, yielding seven runs over 13 innings while getting two total runs of support.

Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips, who extended his hitting streak to 10 games with three hits Friday, is 4 for 8 off Harrell.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Probable Starters

Homer Bailey, RHP
2012 stats
159.1 Innings Pitched 158.1
10-9 Wins-Losses 10-9
4.24 Earned Run Average 3.92
43 Walks 60
120 Strikeouts 113
100 Pitches Per Start 99
Career vs. opponent
40.2 Innings Pitched 14.1
4-0 Wins-Losses 0-1
1.33 Earned Run Average 5.02

Lucas Harrell, RHP
weather image  Isolated tstorms. Cloudy. Hot.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Cincinnati4th NL Central6570.4818 ½ 4-6 L 1
Houston4th AL West5779.419254-6 L 1
vs Lucas Harrell
vs Homer Bailey
Snyder41100.250 Shop

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Game Odds
Cincinnati -170 Houston 160
H. BaileyElbow, neck
T. BellElbow
S. MarshallShoulder
J. VottoQuadriceps
M. AlbersShoulder
J. CisneroElbow
J. CrainBiceps, calf
D. DownsOblique
R. GrossmanAnkle
A. PresleyOblique
G. SpringerKnee, quadriceps
J. ZeidFoot
Series Game Log
Apr 11TEXTEX 1-0Frasor Peacock 
Apr 12TEXHOU 6-5Chapman Soria 
Apr 13TEXTEX 1-0Perez Oberholtzer 
May 12HOUTEX 4-0Lewis Peacock 
May 13HOUHOU 8-0Keuchel Harrison 
May 14HOUHOU 5-4Qualls Martinez 
Jul 7TEXHOU 12-7Cosart Mikolas 
Jul 8TEXHOU 8-3Peacock Irwin 
Jul 9TEXHOU 8-4Keuchel Darvish 
Aug 8HOUHOU 4-3Veras Cotts 
Aug 9HOUHOU 8-3Feldman Darvish 
Aug 10HOUTEX 6-2Martinez Keuchel 
Aug 28HOUHOU 4-2McHugh Mendez 
Aug 29HOUTEX 13-6Baker Oberholtzer 
Aug 30HOU 7:10 PM EDT  
Aug 31HOU 2:10 PM EDT  
Sep 22TEX 8:05 PM EDT  
Sep 23TEX 8:05 PM EDT  
Sep 24TEX 8:05 PM EDT