Astros 6, Reds 3

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CINCINNATI (AP)—Jeff Bagwell is just happy his milestone homer came in a victory.

Bagwell homered twice to become the 35th member of the club while leading the Houston Astros to a 6-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

“I’m glad I got it over with,” Bagwell said. “More important, I’m just glad that we won. It just means that I’ve played a long time.”

Bagwell, who’s in his 13th season, drove in Houston’s first four runs as the NL Central-leading Astros beat Cincinnati for the 10th straight time. The Astros completed their eighth series sweep of the season. They have won 10 of their last 11 games.

The Reds have lost seven in a row at home, matching their longest skid since dropping nine straight in Cincinnati in 2001. They dropped into fifth-place in the NL Central after Pittsburgh beat Milwaukee.

Bagwell connected in the fourth and sixth innings off Danny Graves (4-10) to reach 400 homers. Bagwell moved past Dale Murphy (398) and Al Kaline on the career list. Hall-of-Famer Duke Snider is next up in 34th place with 407.

“He had a big game for us today,” manager Jimy Williams said. “He had the sacrifice fly and the two-run homer and the solo homer, and we needed every one of them.”

Wade Miller (7-9) allowed three runs—two earned—and three hits in 5 1-3 innings to improve to 5-0 in 10 career appearances against the Reds. Miller struck out nine.

Jeff Kent also added a solo homer in the ninth for Houston, his 12th of the season and first since June 18. He was sidelined the next day with tendinitis in his left wrist and activated after the All-Star game.

The Astros manufactured a run in the first. Craig Biggio led off with a double, moved to third on Morgan Ensberg’s groundout and scored on Bagwell’s sacrifice fly.

Houston has outscored the Reds in the first inning by a combined 25-2 in their 11 games this season.

Ensberg singled to lead off the fourth, and Bagwell followed with his 19th homer of the season. He took over the team lead with a two-out solo shot in the sixth.

“In his first at bat, I threw him a slider that he was out in front on,” Graves said. “The two homers were fastballs up. I wasn’t trying to throw them up, but he’s a lowball hitter. He always kills my sinker.”

Bagwell became the third Houston player in three games to hit two homers, following Richard Hidalgo on Friday and Lance Berkman on Saturday. Twelve players have multihomer games against the Reds this season.

Miller didn’t allow a hit until Jose Guillen singled with one out in the fourth. The Reds went on to load the bases, but Adam Dunn popped up and Jason LaRue struck out.

“Miller came in throwing 95 and dropping breaking balls,” Reds manager Bob Boone said. “He’s a tough character.”

The Reds chased Miller in the sixth when Guillen reached on Kent’s error at second base, Sean Casey walked and Aaron Boone homered.

Billy Wagner pitched the ninth for his 28th save in 31 opportunities.

Graves allowed eight hits and five runs in 6 1-3 innings and lost his third straight start. He was replaced in the seventh after giving up an RBI single to Eric Bruntlett that made it 5-3.

“It’s frustrating,” Graves said. “I’m tired of it. A lot of guys are tired of it. You hate to lose. I made a few mistakes, and they took advantage. With a team that hits as well as they do, you can’t make mistakes. With a lot of teams, you talk about one guy you don’t want to let beat you. With(Houston), it’s three or four.”

Notes

Graves is 1-8 in 11 starts since May 14. … Houston’s four starting pitchers in the series came out of it with a combined 20-0 career record against the Reds. Jeriome Robertson is 2-0, Roy Oswalt is 8-0, and Ron Villone and Miller each are 5-0 … The first-inning run scored by the Astros left Reds starters with an 8.07 ERA in the first inning this season. … 2B D’Angelo Jimenez’s seventh-inning single gave him at least one hit in all 10 of hisgames with the Reds since he was acquired from the White Sox.

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