"It's been a long time," said Hernandez, whose third-inning home run was his first since last June 13 at Kansas City. "My teammates were coming up and laughing at me. I was laughing at myself. The way we're playing right now is fun."
The Reds have hit at least one home run in 18 consecutive games, the third-longest streak in franchise history and the longest in the majors since Philadelphia also homered in 18 straight in September 2008. The 1986 Reds homered in 19 consecutive games, and the 1956 team set the franchise record with a 21-game stretch.
The six homers were the most for the Reds since they hit seven in an 11-2 win over Milwaukee on Sept. 19, 2008. They finished with nine extra-base hits, the most in a game since they had 10 on July 22, 2005, also against the Brewers, while upping their combined score against Houston in the first two games of the series to 27-8 and leaving manager Dusty Baker impressed.
"When you're swinging the bats well, good things happen," he said.
Aaron Harang benefited from the support. In a game started in 87-degree heat, Harang (4-5) matched his season high by lasting seven innings, giving up four hits and one run with two walks and four strikeouts.
Brian Moehler gave up three of the home runs while going fewer than three innings in his first start since last Sept. 30. The Reds roughed up Moehler (0-2) for 10 hits and eight runs. The former Red issued a walk and didn't strike out anybody as the Astros extended their worst start in franchise history to 16-33.
"The Reds are on a roll right now," Moehler said. "They've knocked us around the last couple of days."
Houston manager Brad Mills blamed part of Moehler's problems on the bad luck of running into a hot team. The Astros allowed six homers in a game for the first time since May 16, 2008, at Texas.
"They were squaring the ball a lot off [Moehler]," Mills said. "We tried to get him as many innings as we could with our bullpen situation."
The Astros capitalized on shortstop Orlando Cabrera's error on what was almost a sure double-play ball to take a 1-0 lead in the second.
The lead lasted two pitches as Bruce tied the score in the bottom of the inning with a 381-foot leadoff homer into the right field seats.
Cincinnati put the game away by scoring six runs while sending 10 batters to the plate in the third inning -- the fifth time in the last three games that the Reds had batted around. Bruce hit his second homer of the game and 50th of his career, a three-run shot that gave him seven career multihomer games and prompted a curtain call, and Hernandez added a solo shot.
"That's another small step," Bruce said of his milestone homer. "It's not something I've going to have a press conference for, but 50 homers is cool."
Cairo led off the fourth with his second homer of the season, both in the last four days, and Stubbs and Hernandez teamed up for back-to-back solo shots in the fifth.
The multihomer game was the eighth of Hernandez's career.
"He's been trying to find his stroke all year," Baker said. "We know it's there. We've seen it."Notes
- The Reds placed C Ryan Hanigan on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured left thumb, reinstated IF Paul Janish from the bereavement list Saturday, purchased the contract of C Corky Miller from Triple-A Louisville, optioned IF Drew Sutton to the Bats and transferred OF Chris Dickerson from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL.
- Before Saturday, Houston had used the same five starting pitchers over the first 48 games.
- According to Elias Sports Bureau, Cincinnati's 15 runs in RHP Sam LeCure's debut were the most by the Reds in a starter's big league debut since a 19-5 win over Pittsburgh behind Doc Newton on April 10, 1900.