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Reds 10, Astros 0

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HOUSTON -- Cincinnati right-hander Mike Leake tossed eight shutout innings and the Reds provided plenty of early run support, bashing the Houston Astros 10-0 Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.

The Reds (86-66) closed within 1 1/2 games of the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-2 losers to the San Diego Padres, in the National League Central by sending the Astros (51-100) to their third consecutive 100-loss season. The 2004-06 Kansas City Royals were the last franchise to earn such a dubious distinction.

Cincinnati scored four runs in the first, one more in the third, then blew the game open on Jay Bruce's fourth-inning grand slam.

Leake (14-6) matched his career best with his 30th start and set a new single-season standard with 120 strikeouts.

The 25-year-old right-hander allowed five hits and two walks en route to his career-best 14th victory. He set the Astros down in order only twice, in the second and fifth innings, but he induced a pair of double-play groundballs and struck out left fielder Marc Krauss with two runners in scoring position to close the eighth. His strikeout of Jake Elmore to open that frame was his 119th this season, besting the 118 strikeouts he amassed in 2011.

Bruce, Brandon Phillips, Xavier Paul, Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart all recorded two-hit games for the Reds.

Houston fell to 0-16 when allowing 10 or more runs in a game this season.

With three consecutive quality starts on his ledger, Astros right-hander Jordan Lyles (7-8) needed to win his each of his final three starts to become the Astros' lone 10-game winner this season. Those hopes were summarily dashed when the Reds posted four runs in their first at-bat.

After Phillips reached on Lyles' one-ut throwing error, five consecutive Cincinnati batters reached base safely. Jay Bruce and Frazier delivered run-scoring singles prior to Cozart continuing his scorching series with a two-run single to right.

Cozart added an RBI single to center field in the third inning, giving him seven RBIs in the series.

In the fourth, the bottom fell out on Lyles, who surrendered a leadoff single to Derrick Robinson before issuing two walks in advance of Bruce stepping to the plate with the bases loaded.

Bruce promptly cranked his 30th home run of the season to left, boosting his season RBI total to 100 while upping the lead to 9-0. In chasing Lyles from the mound, Bruce eclipsed his career high of 99 RBIs set in 2012.

NOTES: C Max Stassi, placed on the seven-day concussion list on Aug. 23, will head to the Astros' spring training facility in Florida to face live pitching before joining the club Monday in Arlington for a three-game series against the Texas Rangers. Stassi played just two games before suffering a concussion on Aug. 22 against the Rangers ... With his first-inning single to left field, Reds 1B Joey Votto extended his hitting streak at Minute Maid Park to 22 games, the longest streak in the 14-year history of the stadium.
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