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(Tuesday, September 17th)
Final Score: Cincinnati 10, Houston 0
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Jay Bruce's grand slam highlighted a one-sided affair at Minute Maid Park, where the playoff-hopeful Cincinnati Reds handed the lowly Houston Astros their third straight 100-loss season with a 10-0 blowout victory.
Bruce, a native of nearby Beaumont, TX, finished with five RBI, while Zack Cozart drove in three runs for the Reds, who have won the first two meetings in this three-game set and lead the Washington Nationals by 4 1/2 games for the NL's second wild card spot.
Mike Leake (14-6) won his third straight start by holding the Astros to five hits over eight scoreless innings.
Houston dropped its fourth consecutive game as starter Jordan Lyles (7-8) was hammered for nine runs -- eight earned -- on nine hits and three walks in just 3 1/3 innings.
"I actually thought (Lyles) made some good pitches. They did a good job of putting some good swings on them," Houston manager Bo Porter said.
Lyles' forgettable outing began with six straight Reds reaching base after Shin-Soo Choo led off the game with a groundout. Bruce opened the scoring with a bloop single to left field, Todd Frazier added an RBI single and Cozart dropped another base hit down the right-field line to bring in two more for a 4-0 lead.
"We jumped them early, which I urge all our guys to do, especially on the road because you get the first at-bat," said Reds manager Dusty Baker.
Cozart tacked on another RBI single in the third for his seventh RBI in the series, and Bruce sent Lyles' last pitch of the game into the left-field seats an inning later for his second career grand slam. A Derrick Robinson single and walks to Choo and Joey Votto preceded the opposite-field blast.
Cesar Izturis capped the scoring with a pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Bruce became the sixth player in Reds history with at least 30 homers in three straight seasons ... Votto has a 23-game hitting streak at Minute Maid Park ... Sean Marshall finished off the five-hit shutout with a 1-2-3 ninth ... The Reds go for the sweep on Wednesday with Greg Reynolds pitching against Houston's Brad Peacock.
09/18 00:59:32 ET