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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, June 2nd (All times Eastern)

Cincinnati Reds (29-22) at Houston Astros (22-30), 7:15 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Cincinnati - Mat Latos (4-2, 4.58) Houston - Wandy Rodriguez (4-4, 2.49)

(Sports Network) - The Reds had never seen an outing in their history like the one Mat Latos put together in his last trip to the hill.

After escaping with a victory last weekend, Latos will try to keep the Astros in the ballpark tonight when Cincinnati and Houston resume a three-game series.

Latos is undefeated in seven starts since opening the season 0-2, posting four wins in that span. The right-hander won a second straight outing on Sunday, beating the Rockies despite allowing five home runs. Latos did do a good job of minimizing the damage over his 7 1/3 innings as the five homers were the only hits he allowed and were all solo shots.

Still, he became the first pitcher in Reds' history to allow five homers in a game and still earn a win.

"It's a bummer as a pitcher to see the ball leave the park five times," Latos said on Cincinnati's website. "If I get my pitches down, maybe I'm giving up ground balls and not fly balls. I don't make excuses for the ballpark."

The 24-year-old is 4-2 with a 4.58 earned run average in 10 starts this season and also struggled when he faced the Astros on April 29. He allowed five runs on 10 hits -- two homers -- in 6 1/3 innings of a no-decision. That left him 3-1 with a 3.21 ERA in five career meetings with Houston.

For the Astros, Wandy Rodriguez hopes to get on track after struggling at Colorado on Monday. He was charged with seven runs -- four earned -- over a season low-tying five innings. The left-hander gave up two homers on 10 hits, but got a no-decision to leave him 1-2 in his last five outings.

The 32-year-old allowed more than three earned runs for only the second time this season in his 11 starts, posting a 4-4 record with a 2.49 ERA.

Rodriguez's season includes a win at Cincinnati on April 27 as he threw six innings of two-run ball, scattering six hits and two walks. He is 8-9 with a 4.12 ERA in 24 career meetings against the Reds.

Houston's losing streak reached seven in a row on Friday with a 4-1 defeat as Cincinnati starter Mike Leake scattered a run and four hits over seven innings while striking out seven and walking three.

"He struggled a little bit but got out of trouble when he had to," said Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker about Leake. "He gave up seven strong innings tonight and was sharp."

Aroldis Chapman tossed a perfect ninth to seal his fourth save of the season. He still hasn't allowed a run in 22 appearances this season.

Jay Bruce homered and had two RBI while Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips each drove in a run for the Reds, winners in 10 of their past 13. They extended their lead for first place in the National League Central to 2 1/2 games over the Cardinals, who were no-hit by the Mets on Friday.

Jed Lowrie went 1-for-2 with two walks and Carlos Lee had a hit for the Astros, who saw Jose Altuve score their only run on Lee's double play in the sixth.

J.A. Happ was pegged with the loss after giving up three runs on five hits over seven innings.

"I made some good pitches, but then I didn't make a few there," said Happ. "Sometimes there's games where you have no room for error and tonight was one of them."

Lee, meanwhile, isn't expected to play tonight after exiting in the eighth inning on Friday with a strained left hamstring. He is currently listed as day-to-day.

The Reds took two of three over the Astros at home in late April.

06/02 10:33:55 ET