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Reds control destiny as Bruce continues drive for 100

The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- The Reds control their own destiny. By winning out, Cincinnati assures it will at least claim a wild-card spot.

Their 6-5, 13-inning win over the Houston Astros Wednesday, coupled with Pittsburgh's 3-2 loss to San Diego, put the Reds within a half game of the Pirates heading into Thursday's off day.

The off day is followed by a three-game series in Pittsburgh beginning on Friday. The Reds come home after the Pittsburgh series for a three-game set with the New York Mets. Cincinnati closes the season with three against Pittsburgh at home.

The Reds altered their rotation to set it up for the series in Pittsburgh. Greg Reynolds started the finale in Houston, instead of Mat Latos.

Latos, Homer Bailey and Bronson Arroyo will pitch the three games in Pittsburgh. The Reds have another off day before the second series with Pittsburgh. They could re-adjust the rotation again.

"You can look at it any way you want to, but it's subject to change," Reds manager Dusty Baker told reporters at the time of shuffle. "I know you want all these answers right now, but right now we have to win today. You worry about next week and the week after that - we plan for the future, but it's always subject to change. That's the way this game is, the way life is. You learn from yesterday, but you live for today and you try to plan the best you can for tomorrow, but things can change. We'll see where we are."

There is more than the postseason to play for, at least for slugger Jay Bruce.

Going into the series in Houston, it looked like Bruce's chances of getting to 100 RBI might be slipping away. He had driven in 93 with 12 games to go.

But the three days in Houston got him on track -- and then some. Bruce drove in two runs on Monday, five on Tuesday and three more on Wednesday.

Bruce had come close to 100 before -- he drove in 99 last year and 97 in 2011.

"It means a lot, it's something that there's a stigma of a 'run producer' or middle of the lineup guy kind of carries with him," Bruce told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "It obviously speaks a ton about the guys hitting in front of me, Joey (Votto), (Shin-Soo) Choo and even Brandon (Phillips) now. Those guys are getting on base near half the time."

Bruce has increased his RBI total in each of his six years in the big leagues -- from 52 to 58 to 70 to 97 to 99 to 103.

"I've said it multiple times, if you don't have 100 RBIs hitting in the fourth or fifth hole for the Reds, you aren't going to have them anywhere," he said. "Those guys are on base constantly. It's about, when you have the opportunity, taking advantage of it, and I feel like I've done a pretty good job of that and I don't plan on being done, either."
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