HOUSTON (AP) -Rookie right-hander Matt Maloney says run support makes a big difference in the way he pitches.
And the Cincinnati Reds gave him plenty of that Friday night as Joey Votto drove in four runs with a homer and a double and the Reds won their fifth straight, 10-4 over the Houston Astros.
Jay Bruce had a homer and double and Juan Francisco went 3 for 5 for the Reds who have won 9 of 11 and 22 of 32.
Maloney (2-4) won his second straight after opening his major league career with four straight losses.
He had not had more than four runs scored for him in any of his previous starts.
``I felt good,' Maloney said. ``My sinker was working and we put up some runs early. It's nice to go out and work with some runs behind you.
``It's huge to have (a big lead). You can attack hitters and just make sure you don't put any runners on base by walks.'
Maloney went a career-high seven innings and allowed two runs and six hits without a walk. He struck out four.
``We swung the bats,' Reds manager Dusty Baker said. ``Matt did a great job. Getting him a lead had a lot to do with it. If you get a pitcher a lead, it helps a lot.'
Lance Berkman hit a two-run homer for Houston, which has lost 10 of 11. The Astros are 1-3 under interim manager Dave Clark, who took over for fired Cecil Cooper on Monday.
Brian Moehler (8-11) lasted 2 1-3 innings and allowed seven runs and eight hits.
``It is always tough when you fight from behind,' Clark said. ``I thought that Moehler was really getting ahead of hitters early, but he was just having a real tough time putting them away.
``I am not going to say he started to shy away from contact, it looked like he started to nibble a little bit and not trust his stuff. It just didn't work for him.'
``I just did not have it tonight,' he said. ``There is no excuse. Balls were up. I felt fine, but it was just one of those nights where I didn't have it. No excuses. I knew pretty early, and I have pitched in games where I felt like that before and did OK.'
Votto's solo homer in the first was his 23rd of the season.
The Reds scored five runs in the second, three on Votto's bases-loaded double. Kaz Matsui's homer to left made it 6-1. It was Matsui's career high eighth homer.
Francisco had an RBI single in the third and Bruce hit his 19th homer to make it 8-1 in the fifth.
Wladimir Balentien's two-run single stretched the lead to 10-1 in the sixth.
Chris Coste had a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Berkman's homer was his 24th of the season and sixth in the last 12 games. His 48 career homers against Cincinnati are the most by an active player.
NOTES: Reds 3B Scott Rolen was a late scratch from the lineup because of low back spasms. He is day to day. Francisco, who was promoted on Sept. 14, made his second major league start in Rolen's place. ... The Astros said they will shut down rookie pitcher Bud Norris for the rest of the season because of fatigue. Norris appeared in 11 games since being called up from Triple A July 29. He was the PCL pitcher of the year at Round Rock where he pitched 120 innings. He added 55 2-3 more with the Astros for a career-high total. ... Miguel Tejada's eighth-inning single gave him a 12-game hitting streak. ... Astros 1B coach Jose Cruz missed the game with flu-like symptoms. ... The Astros signed 18-year-old INF Chan Jong Moon of South Korea to a minor league contract. Moon will go to the Astros Instructional League in Kissimmee, Fla. on Saturday.
The Associated Press News Service
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