The Houston right-hander pitched seven solid innings against his former team and got support from Miguel Tejada's home run, helping the Astros overcome a serious injury to slugger Carlos Lee and beat Cincinnati 3-1 Saturday night.
"We established the fastball early and pounded the strike zone," Moehler said. "Then they got aggressive, so we went to the breaking ball and got a lot of popups."
Moehler (8-4) also doubled and scored, and Lance Berkman added an RBI single as Houston sent the Reds to their fifth consecutive loss, matching a season high. Cincinnati has had four other five-game losing streaks.
"It's tough to come up with (stuff) to say every night," manager Dusty Baker said. "We make everybody look like Cy Young."
Lee left the game in the third inning and was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken left pinkie he suffered when Reds starter Bronson Arroyo hit him with a pitch. Lee, who reached 100 RBI on Friday and was leading the National League in that category, is expected to miss six to eight weeks.
"It's tough to lose him," Houston manager Cecil Cooper said. "It didn't look good. He carried us the last month and a half. It's a big hole to fill, but we're capable of filling it. I'm just now starting to suck it up."
Moehler, who was 2-4 in 10 games for the Reds in 2002, fell one out short of a complete game against Cincinnati in a win on July 29. He followed that up Saturday by pitching six shutout innings before allowing a run in the seventh.
"I thought we'd get some whacks at him the second time around," Arroyo said. "He kept us off balance. You've got to tip your cap to him. This is the second time he's thrown well against us."
It was Moehler's third win in five starts. The Reds collected just five hits with three strikeouts and Moehler didn't walk a batter.
"When you make them hit the ball and you don't walk anybody, you can be very effective," Cooper said.
Houston scored in the first inning for the third consecutive game. Kaz Matsui drew a leadoff walk from Arroyo (10-9), who matched a season high by giving up four walks. Matsui moved to second on Tejada's single to left and scored on Berkman's single to right.
Moehler made it 2-0 in the fifth. He led off with a double past the drawn-in Reds outfield for his first hit since May 10, 2007. Moehler moved to third on Matsui's sacrifice and scored on Arroyo's wild pitch.
Arroyo, who was 6-1 in his last seven starts, lasted six innings. He gave up five hits and two runs with seven strikeouts.
Tejada made it 3-0 in the seventh with his 12th homer of the season, an opposite-field shot into the first row of seats in right field.
"One run isn't going to get you a win unless you get a shutout, and we haven't seen too many of those lately," Baker said.
- Bruce extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a fourth-inning infield single, tying the season high for rookies set by Oakland's Ryan Sweeney from May 19 to June 19.
- Reds 1B Joey Votto was placed on the bereavement list and the contract of IF Adam Rosales was purchased from Triple-A Louisville.
- RHP Marcus McBeth was designated for assignment. Rosales flied out to right field as a pinch-hitter in the sixth in his major league debut.