Reds 5, Astros 1: Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips hit home runs and Bronson Arroyo pitched seven strong innings as National League Central-leading Cincinnati rebounded from a tough loss to even its series with visiting Houston at a game apiece.
Arroyo (12-7) struck out five and allowed one run on seven hits to help the Reds move 9 1/2 games ahead of St. Louis, which dropped a 6-3 decision to Milwaukee on Saturday night. The only Houston run came on Justin Maxwell's RBI single in the first, but Arroyo effectively worked out of jams the rest of the night with the help of two double plays. He has won five straight decisions and eight of his last nine.
Astros starter Bud Norris (5-12) remained winless in 17 starts since May 21. He was charged with five runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings and surrendered both Reds homers. He has lost 11 straight decisions.
Bruce's career-high 33rd homer tied it at 1-1 in the second inning, and Phillips launched his 16th homer an inning later for a 2-1 lead. The Reds broke it open with three in the sixth, aided by reliever Fernando Rodriguez's wild throw home on Wilson Valdez's soft roller back to the mound with the bases loaded.
Cincinnati has won 10 of 14 meetings this season against Houston, which has lost 17 of 21 and is 10-43 since the All-Star break.
GAME NOTEBOOK: The Reds had not scored more than three runs in any of their past four games. … Reds 3B Todd Frazier was hit by a pitch in the second inning, extending his streak of consecutive games reaching base to 30, the longest by a Reds player this season. … Bruce extended his hitting streak to eight games, but teammate Chris Heisey had his seven-game streak snapped with an 0-for-5 night. … Cincinnati ace RHP Johnny Cueto is scheduled to pitch against Astros RHP Edgar Gonzalez in Sunday's series finale.