Cincinnati at Houston

Scoreboard
Cincinnati (81-52) «0020401209131
Houston (40-92)000200010391

Bruce, Cozart power Reds past Astros

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- The Cincinnati Reds have several players on their roster from Texas.

While they all enjoy playing in their home state, none excels here quite like Beaumont native Jay Bruce.

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Bruce had a three-run homer and Zack Cozart added a two-run shot to help the Reds beat the Houston Astros 9-3 on Friday night.

"I do, I do," Bruce said with a smile when asked if he likes playing at Minute Maid Park. "Maybe that I'm close to home, I'm comfortable, I like the park. I can't really explain it."

Bruce has two homers and seven RBI in seven games here this season.

"Most guys perform well at home," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "That's why I like to play guys at home. They seem to concentrate better at home. Especially us, we have a bunch of guys here from Texas."

Cozart's home run gave the Reds an early lead before consecutive homers by Fernando Martinez and Matt Dominguez tied it at 2-all in the fourth inning.

Chris Heisey singled in a run in the fifth to put the Reds on top and Bruce connected for his 28th home run later in the inning to cushion the lead.

It's the fourth straight win for the NL-Central-leading Reds.

"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.

The loss wraps up a dismal August for the last-place Astros, who have dropped six straight and went 5-22 in this month.

"We're making mistakes, and right now we're not good enough to make mistakes," Houston interim manager Tony DeFrancesco said.

Reds starter Mike Leake (7-8) allowed seven hits and struck out six in six innings. He has bounced back for a solid season after starting the year 0-5.

"That's great. He's closing on .500 which is a long ways from where he came from," Baker said. "He didn't pitch great, but he pitched good enough to win. We were satisfied."

Brandon Phillips extended his hitting streak to 10 games with three hits and drove in a run for his 71st RBI, which leads all second basemen.

Cozart's two-run homer in the third inning off Houston starter Fernando Abad (0-2) landed in the back of the Crawford Boxes in left field and put Cincinnati up 2-0.

The Astros evened it up in the fourth on the homers by Martinez and Dominguez which both sailed into the second deck. Dominguez's homer was his first in the majors.

Cozart got things started in Cincinnati's big fifth inning with his 32nd double. His performance on Friday night made him the fourth shortstop in franchise history to collect at least 30 doubles and 15 homers in a season, joining Felipe Lopez, Eddie Miller and Barry Larkin -- who did it twice.

Heisey followed Cozart's double with an RBI single to give the Reds a 3-2 lead. He advanced to second on an error by right fielder Jimmy Paredes on the play.

Ryan Ludwick's one-out single left runners at the corners, and set up Bruce's three-run homer which pushed the lead to 6-2 and chased Abad.

Abad, a converted reliever, yielded nine hits and walked two in 4 1/3 innings in his second major league start.

"We tried to get him stretched out, but you know it's about executing pitches," DeFrancesco said. "I think that's our biggest problem, our command of the fastball, our breaking ball command."

Heisey singled and stole second base before a single by Phillips sent Heisey home and left Cincinnati up 7-2.

Leake settled down after the consecutive homers in the fourth inning, retiring nine of the last 10 batters he faced.

"They had a good plan against me today," Leake said. "They made it a little tough on me. I was kind of missing just off and they were being patient."

He was replaced by Sam LeCure, who retired the side in the seventh.

Brett Wallace doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning for Houston.

Pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo had an RBI single in the eighth and Cincinnati added a run in that inning on a force out.

Notes

  • Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker didn't rule out the possibility of Joey Votto rejoining the team this weekend. But Baker said he'd prefer Votto make his return from two surgical procedures on his left knee next week. Votto is currently on a rehabilitation assignment at Class-A Dayton.
  • Houston traded OF Ben Francisco to Tampa Bay for a player to be named later during the game.
  • Astros SS Marwin Gonzalez will be out indefinitely after an MRI showed a torn ligament in his left ankle, which he injured in Thursday's loss to the San Francisco Giants. DeFrancesco said Gonzalez will not require surgery.
 
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Jay Bruce connects for a three-run homer to help put the Reds past the Astros for their fourth straight victory. (AP)
Jay Bruce connects for a three-run homer to help put the Reds past the Astros for their fourth straight victory. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cincinnati

M. Leake
IP 6.0
H 7
ER 2
BB 2
K 6
Houston

M. Dominguez
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Cincinnati Reds
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Zack Cozart, SS4222010 .247
   a- Wilson Valdez, PH-SS1000001 .201
Chris Heisey, CF-LF5222000 .284
Brandon Phillips, 2B5031012 .300
Ryan Ludwick, LF3110112 .276
    Drew Stubbs, CF1000000 .221
Jay Bruce, RF3113200 .256
Todd Frazier, 1B-3B5010014 .293
Scott Rolen, 3B3100101 .250
    Alfredo Simon, P0000000 .000
Dioner Navarro, C4220000 .273
Mike Leake, P2000010 .259
    Sam LeCure, P0000000 .000
   b- Miguel Cairo, PH-1B1011000 .169
Totals37913945  
a-flied out for Cozart in the 8th
b-singled for LeCure in the 8th
Batting
2B - Zack Cozart (32, Abad), Brandon Phillips (29, Abad), Dioner Navarro (1, Abad)
HR - Zack Cozart (15, Abad), Jay Bruce (28, Abad)
SH - Mike Leake (6)
RBI - Zack Cozart 2 (32), Chris Heisey 2 (29), Brandon Phillips (71), Jay Bruce 3 (84), Miguel Cairo (12)
SB - Chris Heisey (6, 2nd base off Storey/Castro)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Jay Bruce (6, Misplayed grounder)
Cincinnati Reds
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Mike Leake (W,7-8) 6722262 4.45
Sam LeCure 1000010 3.23
Alfredo Simon 2211000 2.60
WP - Alfredo Simon (9)
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Leake 105-68, Sam LeCure 7-6, Alfredo Simon 29-20
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Leake 8-3, Sam LeCure 1-1, Alfredo Simon 4-2
Batters Faced - Mike Leake 26, Sam LeCure 3, Alfredo Simon 8
Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jose Altuve, 2B5000002 .294
Tyler Greene, SS4010020 .226
Brett Wallace, 1B3110120 .290
Jason Castro, C4020010 .263
Jimmy Paredes, RF2011112 .250
Fernando Martinez, LF4111001 .182
    Wilton Lopez, P0000000 .000
Matt Dominguez, 3B4111002 .375
Brandon Barnes, CF3010001 .180
    Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
    Fernando Rodriguez, P0000000 .000
    Scott Moore, LF1000000 .225
Fernando Abad, P2010010 .333
    Mickey Storey, P0000000 .000
    Brian Bogusevic, CF2000000 .209
Totals3439327  
Batting
2B - Tyler Greene (13, Leake), Brett Wallace (8, Simon), Jason Castro (13, Leake)
HR - Fernando Martinez (3, Leake), Matt Dominguez (1, Leake)
SF - Jimmy Paredes (2)
RBI - Jimmy Paredes (3), Fernando Martinez (7), Matt Dominguez (1)
CS - Jimmy Paredes (1, 2nd base by Leake/Navarro)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Altuve-T. Greene-Wallace, Wright-T. Greene-Wallace
E - Jimmy Paredes (1, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Fernando Abad (L,0-2) 4.1966212 4.83
Mickey Storey 2211040 3.18
Wesley Wright 0.2222200 3.73
Fernando Rodriguez 1000000 5.86
Wilton Lopez 1000000 2.41
WP - Fernando Abad (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Fernando Abad 84-55, Mickey Storey 28-20, Wesley Wright 21-11, Fernando Rodriguez 4-4, Wilton Lopez 15-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Fernando Abad 5-6, Mickey Storey 1-1, Wesley Wright 1-0, Fernando Rodriguez 1-2, Wilton Lopez 2-1
Batters Faced - Fernando Abad 23, Mickey Storey 8, Wesley Wright 5, Fernando Rodriguez 3, Wilton Lopez 3
Game Information
Attendance - 15287
Game Time - 3:03
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Sam Holbrook, First Base - Andy Fletcher, Second Base - Rob Drake, Third Base - Joe West