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Astros Try To Avoid Sweep, Five Game Losing Streak

(Sports Network) – Right-hander Edinson Volquez aims to continue the momentum today when the red-hot Cincinnati Reds go for the sweep in the finale of a three-game midweek series with the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

The Reds won game two of the set on Tuesday and their sixth in seven overall when Jay Bruce hit a two-run homer to highlight a four-run first inning of a 7-3 win triumph.

Joey Votto had three hits, including run-scoring doubles in the first two innings, and knocked in a total of three for the Reds, who’ve climbed from a brief dip below .500 to within one game of front-running St. Louis in the National League Central.

Homer Bailey (2-0) threw seven scoreless innings, giving up just five hits while striking out five and walking none. He has won his first two starts of the season — both against Houston — since coming off the disabled list last week following a shoulder injury.

Houston starter Brett Myers (1-3) gave up six runs in the first two innings and took the loss. He surrendered 10 hits, four walks and struck out eight in six innings.

Hunter Pence hit a two-run single for the Astros, who have lost four in a row and six of their last seven. Pence extended his hitting streak to a National League-leading 14 games.

The Reds have taken six of eight from the Astros so far this season and have won 13 of the past 18 played at Minute Maid Park.

Volquez, a 27-year-old Dominican, is 1-0 against the hosts this season and 5-0 over six starts in his career while posting a 2.09 earned run average and allowing 29 hits with 43 strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings.

He surrendered five hits and four runs over five innings in an April 6 matchup in Cincinnati, registering his first win of the season with a 12-4 verdict.

He’s won two of three decisions over six starts since, including a 5-4 defeat of the Chicago Cubs in his most recent outing on May 6 at Wrigley Field.

Volquez, limited by injuries to just 21 combined starts in 2009-10, is 2-1 on the road this season with a 4.32 ERA in 16 2/3 innings.

For Houston, southpaw Wandy Rodriguez makes his eighth start of the season with a chance to win two straight for the first time.

The 31-year-old scattered five hits and allowed two runs in seven innings of a May 6 start at Pittsburgh, defeating the Pirates, 3-2, and lowering his season ERA to an even 4.00.

Rodriguez started the season with two losses in three starts, then beat the New York Mets, lost at Milwaukee, got a no-decision against the Brewers and beat the Pirates.

He is 7-7 in 20 career outings against the Reds with a 4.07 ERA.

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