Over his past two starts, the 26-year-old right-hander has allowed just two earned runs in 12 innings. He worked six innings Monday, allowing one run and five hits in a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
The Astros will look for Miller to deliver another strong outing as they try to regain their lead in the NL Central.
Houston has lost four straight to fall a half-game behind the Cubs in the division race and 3 1/2 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the wild-card race. The skid matches the worst of the season for the Astros, who also lost four straight from June 23-27.
“We’re having a few rough days,” Astros pitcher Ron Villone said. “We’ve got to get over them. We’ll be all right.”
Trailing 7-3 in the eighth on Friday, the Astros rallied to tie the game before falling 9-7 in extra innings.
“Everybody goes through this situation, and we’re in it right now,” Houston reliever Octavio Dotel said. “I hope it changes.”
Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer in the 10th off a high inside fastball from Brad Lidge to lead Cincinnati to its second straight win. It was the Reds’ 27th victory in their last at-bat, most in the majors.
“That’s a pitch they’ve been getting me out on for the last couple of years,” said Dunn, who has produced 43 of his 57 RBIs off homers. “I’m either a little too early or a little too late, and I pop it up.”
STANDINGS: Astros - 2nd place (tied), 1/2 GB NL Central. Reds - 5th place, 10 GB, NL Central.
ASTROS PROBABLE STARTER: Miller (9-10, 4.55 ERA). In six career games against the Reds, Miller is 3-0 with a 3.53 ERA.
REDS PROBABLE STARTER: Seth Etherton (no record). Etherton will be making his first major-league appearance since he started 11 games for the Anaheim Angels as a rookie in 2000. He was 7-7 with a 4.31 ERA with Triple-A Louisville this season.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Astros - Richard Hidalgo, .308 avg.; Jeff Bagwell, 27 HRs; Bagwell and Lance Berkman, 72 RBIs; Bagwell and Craig Biggio, 79 runs; Bagwell and Adam Everett, 6 SBs. Reds - Sean Casey, .295 avg. and 61 RBIs; Dunn, 27 HRs, 70 runs and 8 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Astros, 10-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Astros - 2B Jeff Kent is batting .300 (12-for-40) during a 10-game hitting streak. … LHP Billy Wagner needs one save to tie Dave Smith for 28th on the all-time list with 216. … 1B Bagwell has 24 career homers in Cincinnati, his most in any road city. Reds - To make room on the roster for RHP Etherton, the Reds will send C Corky Miller to Louisville. … The Reds lead the majors with 111 errors. … SS Barry Larkin will not play this weekend. He hasn’t played since Tuesday, when he irritated scar tissue from a hernia surgery in 2001. He was examined on Friday, and two more days of rest were advised.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Astros - 28-35 on the road; Reds - 29-33 at home.
INJURIES: Astros - INF Jose Vizcaino (wrist), 15-day DL; LHP Carlos Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Roy Oswalt (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Brian Moehler (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Rodrigo Rosario (shoulder), 60-day DL. Reds - OF Russell Branyan (ankle), 15-day DL; OF Austin Kearns (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Jose Acevedo (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Ryan Dempster (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Jimmy Haynes (back), 15-day DL; RHP Luke Prokopec (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Ken Griffey Jr. (ankle), 60-day DL.