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National League Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, July 25th (All times Eastern)
Cincinnati Reds (57-40) at Houston Astros (34-64), 8:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Cincinnati - Homer Bailey (9-6, 3.74) Houston - Bud Norris (5-8, 5.33)
(Sports Network) - Righty Homer Bailey can get to double-digit wins for the first time in his career tonight when the Cincinnati Reds go for the sweep in the finale of a three-game series with the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Bailey, the eighth overall pick in the 2004 draft, won just 16 games in his initial four big-league seasons beginning in 2007, but won nine times last season and is at nine in 2012 thanks to a four-start win streak.
In the four starts - the last of which was July 20 against Milwaukee in a 3-1 Reds win - Bailey has pitched 30 2/3 innings and allowed nine runs on 27 hits while trimming his earned run average from 4.42 to 3.74.
The Reds have outscored opponents, 21-10, in the four games.
Bailey has not faced the Astros this season, but he's 4-0 against them in five career starts while allowing six earned runs on 23 hits in 33 2/3 innings and holding opponents to a .187 batting average.
Cincinnati made it two in a row in the series on Tuesday, when Drew Stubbs hit the go-ahead two-run home run in a three-run ninth for a 4-2 triumph.
Xavier Paul added an RBI single in the deciding frame and drove in two for the Reds, who have won six straight and hold a 2 1/2-game edge in the National League's Central Division over Pittsburgh, which lost to Chicago.
"Hopefully this carries over and we keep playing the way we have," Paul said.
Mike Leake (4-6) picked up his first win since June 29 by limiting the hosts to seven hits and a pair of runs over eight innings. Aroldis Chapman turned in a scoreless ninth for his 18th save as Cincinnati set a season high with its fifth straight road victory.
Justin Maxwell's two-run blast was all the offense for the Astros, who skidded to their eighth straight defeat.
Ex-Red Francisco Cordero (0-1) took the loss and the blown save, charged with all three runs and three hits in the ninth.
Starting for the Astros in the finale will be righty Bud Norris, who tries again to end a skid that's kept him winless since May 21.
The 27-year-old Californian was 5-1 on the season after an 8-4 home win over the Chicago Cubs, but he's 0-7 in eight starts since while his ERA has ballooned from 3.14 to 5.33.
The most recent outing resulted in a 13-8 loss at Arizona after Norris was touched for nine runs on six hits and five walks in 4 1/3 innings.
He's 0-2 in four career starts against Cincinnati while allowing 15 runs and 27 hits in 18 2/3 innings.
The Reds won four of their initial six games against the Astros in 2012, including two of three in Cincinnati in April and two of three in Houston in June.
Houston last won the season series in 2008.
07/25 10:17:48 ET
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