Houston looks to continue its dominance of Cincinnati as the teams continue their four-game series at the Great American Ballpark.
The Astros have opened a 2 1/2 game lead in the NL Central by dominating the Reds. Houston has won eight consecutive games against Cincinnati, including six this month.
“In our division over the last eight or nine years, one team always seems to play well against another,” said Houston’s Jeff Bagwell. “There were years that St. Louis beat us up and the Reds beat us up. That happens at times. You have to take advantage of those situations.”
Richard Hidalgo hit two of Houston’s three homers as the Astros pulled away for a 5-3 win over Cincinnati on Friday. Bagwell added his 18th homer for the Astros.
Bagwell’s 398th career homer tied him with Dale Murphy for 36th on the career list. He has hit 40 of those homers against the Reds—his most against any opponent.
Mateo was called up Friday to replace Ken Griffey Jr. on the active roster.
Griffey was placed on the 60-day disabled list following surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right ankle. He’s expected to be ready when spring training begins next year.
The Reds are 8 1/2 games out of first place, their largest deficit of the season. They’ve gone 7-16 since June 20.
Cincinnati will face journeyman Ron Villone on Friday. Villone, who spent two seasons with the Reds, is 4-0 with a 2.92 ERA in 10 career appearances against the Reds.
STANDINGS: Astros - 1st place, NL Central. Reds - 4th place (tied), 8 1/2 GB, NL Central.
ASTROS PROBABLE STARTER: Villone (1-0, 2.70 ERA). Villone held the Reds to two runs and four hits over six innings as the Astros rolled to an 11-2 win over Cincinnati on July 10. The southpaw has given up three runs or fewer in each of his five starts this year.
REDS PROBABLE STARTER: Jimmy Haynes (2-9, 5.29 ERA). Haynes is 1-6 with a 6.31 ERA in 10 career starts against Houston. The 30-year-old right-hander snapped a five-start winless streak last Saturday, allowing one run and four hits over seven innings in a 5-1 victory over Milwaukee.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Astros - Hidalgo, .332 avg.; Morgan Ensberg and Bagwell, 18 HRs; Lance Berkman, 59 RBIs and 63 runs; Adam Everett, 6 SBs. Reds - Jose Guillen, .333 avg.; Adam Dunn, 25 HRs and 56 runs; Boone and Austin Kearns, 58 RBIs; Boone, 12 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Astros, 8-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Astros - OF Craig Biggio, the Astros’ career hits leader, needs one more hit to become the 96th major leaguer to reach 2,400. … 1B Bagwell has a seven-game hitting streak. He has three homers during that stretch. … Since June 23, 2001, the Astros have gone 26-8 against the Reds. Reds - RHP Scott Sullivan was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with tendinitis in the back of his right shoulder. The Reds plan to replace him by calling up RHP Ryan Wagner, their first pick in last June’s amateur draft. Wagner, the 14th overall pick, will become the Reds’ first No. 1 pick to reach the majors in the same season he was drafted. … 3B Boone has two homers over the last three games. … RHP Scott Williamson has blown four of his last seven save opportunities. He leads the Reds with 20 saves.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Astros - 20-26 on the road; Reds - 21-24 at home.
INJURIES: Astros - INF Jose Vizcaino (wrist), 15-day DL; LHP Carlos Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Rodrigo Rosario (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Brian Moehler (elbow), 60-day DL. Reds - OF Griffey Jr. (ankle), 60-day DL; RHP Sullivan (shoulder), 15-day DL; OF Austin Kearns (shoulder), 15-day DL; OF Wily Mo Pena (hamstring), 15-day DL; LHP Gabe White (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Luke Prokopec (elbow), 60-day DL.