Astros end August 5-22 with 9-3 loss to Reds

Associated Press Modified: September 1, 2012 at 12:02 am •  Published: August 31, 2012

HOUSTON (AP) — 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.

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 RBIs 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.

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