|Cincinnati (81-52) «||0||0||2||0||4||0||1||2||0||9||13||1|
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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"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."
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.
|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|
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|Zack Cozart, SS||4||2||2||2||0||1||0||.247|
|a- Wilson Valdez, PH-SS||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.201|
|Chris Heisey, CF-LF||5||2||2||2||0||0||0||.284|
|Brandon Phillips, 2B||5||0||3||1||0||1||2||.300|
|Ryan Ludwick, LF||3||1||1||0||1||1||2||.276|
|Drew Stubbs, CF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.221|
|Jay Bruce, RF||3||1||1||3||2||0||0||.256|
|Todd Frazier, 1B-3B||5||0||1||0||0||1||4||.293|
|Scott Rolen, 3B||3||1||0||0||1||0||1||.250|
|Alfredo Simon, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Dioner Navarro, C||4||2||2||0||0||0||0||.273|
|Mike Leake, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.259|
|Sam LeCure, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Miguel Cairo, PH-1B||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||.169|
|a-flied out for Cozart in the 8th|
|b-singled for LeCure in the 8th|
|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|
|E - Jay Bruce (6, Misplayed grounder)|
|Mike Leake (W,7-8)||6||7||2||2||2||6||2||4.45|
|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|
|Jose Altuve, 2B||5||0||0||0||0||0||2||.294|
|Tyler Greene, SS||4||0||1||0||0||2||0||.226|
|Brett Wallace, 1B||3||1||1||0||1||2||0||.290|
|Jason Castro, C||4||0||2||0||0||1||0||.263|
|Jimmy Paredes, RF||2||0||1||1||1||1||2||.250|
|Fernando Martinez, LF||4||1||1||1||0||0||1||.182|
|Wilton Lopez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Matt Dominguez, 3B||4||1||1||1||0||0||2||.375|
|Brandon Barnes, CF||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.180|
|Wesley Wright, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Fernando Rodriguez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Scott Moore, LF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.225|
|Fernando Abad, P||2||0||1||0||0||1||0||.333|
|Mickey Storey, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Brian Bogusevic, CF||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.209|
|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|
|DP - Altuve-T. Greene-Wallace, Wright-T. Greene-Wallace|
|E - Jimmy Paredes (1, Misplayed grounder)|
|Fernando Abad (L,0-2)||4.1||9||6||6||2||1||2||4.83|
|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|
|Attendance - 15287|
|Game Time - 3:03|
|Temperature - 73|
|Umpires - Home - Sam Holbrook, First Base - Andy Fletcher, Second Base - Rob Drake, Third Base - Joe West|