The Reds have lost three straight, thanks to a bullpen that has been unable to keep them in games. Cincinnati has allowed 12 runs in the seventh inning or later during the three-game slide.
Cincinnati’s offense has also been disappearing late in games, mustering a total of just one run in the late innings in the three losses. The Reds’ slump began when they blew a 9-0 lead on Tuesday in their 10-9 loss to Milwaukee.
The Astros, meanwhile, come in with some momentum following Roger Clemens’ 6-1 win in the opener. The win was the 315th of Clemens’ career, moving him past Gaylord Perry into 15th place on the career list.
“When you know you’re playing behind a Hall of Famer like that, you kind of check yourself mentally,” said Houston’s Lance Berkman, who homered and drove in two runs. “You want to do your best when he’s on the mound.”
The Astros, who dropped six of their first 10 at home, opened a seven-game homestand with Friday’s win. Houston, which has the best road record in the league at 8-3, is one of only two clubs to have an overall winning record with a sub-.500 home winning percentage. Anaheim is the other.