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May 30, 2010 - 3:29 AM By BRETT HUSTON STATS Writer

Houston (16-32) at Cincinnati (29-20), 1:10 p.m. EDT

Mike Leake pitched well but didn't get any run support in his latest start, the second time the straight-to-the majors phenom was denied a fifth straight winning decision.

The Cincinnati Reds have given their pitchers plenty of offensive help ever since.

The surging Reds seek their fifth straight win overall and try to improve to 6-0 against the Houston Astros in Sunday's series finale at Great American Ball Park.

Leake (4-0, 2.70 ERA) saw Cincinnati's bullpen blow a 9-3, ninth-inning lead on May 20 in Atlanta, then didn't get any support while holding Pittsburgh to one run over 7 1-3 innings Tuesday in a 2-1 loss.

The Reds (30-20) have made sure every starter has had ample support since Leake's last outing. Cincinnati has averaged 9.8 runs while winning four straight, especially enjoying facing Houston's pitching.

Jonny Gomes helped lead a 15-6 rout on Friday night with four runs and four hits, and Saturday it was Ramon Hernandez and Jay Bruce who led the Reds' potent offense. Hernandez and Bruce both homered twice and Miguel Cairo and Drew Stubbs also went deep in a 12-2 victory.

The Reds have hit at least one homer in 18 consecutive games, the third-longest streak in franchise history and the longest since the 1986 club homered in 19 straight.

"When you're swinging the bats well, good things happen," manager Dusty Baker said after his team increased its NL Central lead to two games over St. Louis.

Cincinnati, which leads the NL with 264 runs, hasn't scored at least 10 in three straight games since May 13-15, 1998. The last time the Astros (16-33) gave up 10 or more in three consecutive games was July 29-Aug. 2, 2007, when they did it four times in a row.

Houston is 3-27 when it allows four runs or more this season.

The Reds appear to have a good chance at another big day Sunday against Felipe Paulino (0-7, 5.08), who struggled when matched up with Leake on April 28 at Minute Maid Park. The right-hander gave up six runs over five innings while Leake held the Astros to one run in seven innings of Cincinnati's 6-4 win.

While Leake fell victim to poor support in his last outing, the Astros haven't given Paulino much help all season. He's received an average of 2.28 runs of support, second-lowest in the majors.

Paulino gave up two runs over six innings Tuesday at Milwaukee, but Houston didn't score until the ninth inning of a 6-1 loss. Paulino became the third Astros starter to lose his first seven decisions, joining Ryan Bowen (1992) and Don Nottebart (1964), neither of whom reached 0-8.

"He gave us a chance to win. We didn't do much behind him to keep ourselves in the game and it got out of hand there late," first baseman Lance Berkman said.

Paulino's loss to Cincinnati earlier this season wasn't his only one. He's 0-4 with a 6.23 ERA in his last four starts against the Reds, and yielded two homers to Bruce in his last visit to Great American Ball Park.

Leake, who's held opponents to a .206 average over his last six starts, can become the first Cincinnati rookie since Santo Alcala in 1976 to start 5-0.

  • 130
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Astros 2, Reds 0  Final/10May 31 3:39 AM

  • Reds 0, Astros 2 - FINAL
    HOUSTON ab r h rbi bb so lob avg
    M Bourn cf 3 1 1 0 2 1 2 .271
    J Keppinger 2b 4 0 2 0 1 0 2 .294
    L Berkman 1b 5 0 1 2 0 0 6 .234
    C Lee lf 5 0 0 0 0 1 2 .205
    M Lindstrom p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -
    H Pence rf 4 0 1 0 0 1 0 .277
    G Blum 3b

    May 30 4:25 PM

  • NL
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C LEE (.207, 0-FOR-4)

    Astros 2, Reds 0  Top 10, 0 OutsMay 30 4:13 PM
  • 125
    RUWTbot Added 53 roots (Extra Innings)

    Astros 0, Reds 0  Top 10, 0 OutsMay 30 4:02 PM
  • 72
    RUWTbot Added 72 roots (Close Finish)

    Astros 0, Reds 0  Bot 7, 0 OutsMay 30 3:00 PM