HOUSTON (AP) The Cincinnati Reds fully embrace their underdog status after losing 100 games just a year ago.
But if these red hot Reds keep playing this well, it's going to be difficult to continue to see them as underdogs.
Jonathan India hit a two-run homer and Will Benson had three hits and two RBIs to power the surging Reds to a 10-3 win over the Houston Astros on Saturday.
The victory extends Cincinnati's winning streak to seven games. It’s the first time the Reds have won seven in a row since June 2018, and it’s the longest active winning streak in the majors.
“We’re showing the world right now who we are and how we play and the brand we play,” India said. “So all I can say is that we’re going to keep it going.”
Hunter Greene (2-4) allowed five hits and two runs in six innings to get his second win of the season.
India’s home run off Brandon Bielak (3-4) put the Reds up 2-0 in the first and Benson drove in two with a single in the fifth that pushed it to 5-1.
“Belief is a big part of what’s going on in our clubhouse,” manager David Bell said. “We know how important that is, but part of that comes with hard work and playing hard every day and continuing to try to get better.”
Cincinnati rookie Elly De La Cruz doubled with two hits and a stolen base after entering the game in an 0-for-13 skid.
Jose Altuve tied a career-best with four hits - three for extra bases - highlighted by a solo homer in the seventh inning as the Astros lost their third straight. It was his 35th career four-hit game, passing Craig Biggio for most in franchise history.
“It seems like right now everything they’re doing is right,” manager Dusty Baker said. “And we're in a period where we're doing most things wrong.”
Bielak yielded five hits and five runs - four earned - in 4 2/3 innings.
Benson, whose hits and RBIs tied career highs, tripled on a ball that was deflected by center fielder Jake Meyers to start the fourth. There was one out in the inning when he scored on a sacrifice bunt by Curt Casali to extend the lead to 3-1.
Matt McLain singled to open the fifth before Bielak walked Spencer Steer and Tyler Stephenson to load the bases with two outs and end his day.
He was replaced by Phil Maton, who was greeted by the single by Benson that scored two to make it 5-1.
“I’m grateful for getting opportunities and thankfully, I’m helping the team and cashing in,” Benson said.
Yainer Diaz connected off Greene with one out in the sixth to cut the lead to 5-2.
McLain reached with one out in the first on an error by Jeremy Peña when he overthrew first base. India sent the next pitch out of the park to give the Reds the early lead.
Corey Julks walked with one in the third before Altuve doubled to the corner in right field. The Astros cut the lead to one when Julks scored on a sacrifice fly by Kyle Tucker.
Tyler Stephenson made it 6-2 with an RBI single in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Kevin Newman drove in two in Cincinnati's four-run ninth.
Reds: OF Stuart Fairchild was out of the lineup for a second straight game Saturday with neck stiffness.
Astros: OF Michael Brantley took batting practice on the field Saturday for the first time since suffering a setback in early May. Brantley, who has missed all season after surgery on his right shoulder, said he’s feeling good but there’s still no timetable for his return. … RHP Lance McCullers Jr. talked to reporters Saturday for the first time since undergoing surgery Wednesday to repair the flexor tendon and remove a bone spur in his pitching arm. McCullers sustained the injury to the flexor tendon in the playoffs in 2021 and was limited to just eight games last season because of it. The 29-year-old will miss the remainder of this season and said it’s too early to know if he’ll be ready for the start of the 2024 season.
Cincinnati RHP Luke Weaver (1-2, 6.23 ERA) opposes RHP Ronel Blanco (1-0, 3.86) when the Reds look to complete the sweep Sunday.
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