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HOU@CIN: Gonzalez two-hits Reds over five for win

CINCINNATI -- The Astros' win on Sunday against the Reds was a long time coming on a number of levels.

The 5-1 victory capped their first road-series victory since June 8-10, when the Astros took two of three from the White Sox -- and just the second series win since the All-Star break.

Despite holding what is easily the worst record in baseball, the Astros turned in one of their best all-around performances of the season. They walked away with two wins this weekend against the first-place Reds -- who boast the second-best record in baseball.

"We got it all today," said interim manager Tony DeFrancesco. "Just a complete game, and I'm real pleased with the guys out there. It was a good team effort. They played with confidence, we beat a good team and hopefully this can carry on."

The Astros posted five runs for just the ninth time in 54 games since the All-Star break, doing it twice this weekend alone en route to their first series win in Cincinnati since April 27-29, 2009.

"A team like this has nothing to lose," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "They're loose, they're young and they can hit fastballs. That's one thing about ... [young guys]. When they come up, they can hit a fastball."

Much of the Astros' offense this weekend continued to spring from one face that Houston should begin to grow familiar with.

Matt Dominguez, who tallied multi-hit games in each of the first two contests in Cincinnati, added a three-run home run in the third inning of Sunday's matchup off Reds ace Johnny Cueto.

Dominguez blasted the game-winning home run in Friday night's win off Reds closer Aroldis Chapman, marking two National League Cy Young Award candidates the 23-year-old has homered off of this weekend.

"It's a big confidence booster," said Dominguez, who extended his hitting streak to five games. "To hit homers off those guys, they're two of the best in the game. It gives me a lot of confidence throughout the rest of the year."

All three of Dominguez's home runs and all seven of his RBIs this season have come against the Reds.

The Astros wouldn't need much more from their bats, as starter Edgar Gonzalez had another strong showing in his return to the Majors, in just his second start since 2009.

He gave up just one run on an RBI triple to Jay Bruce in the fourth inning. Aside from that, Gonzalez allowed just one other double all afternoon, while striking out six for his second consecutive win.

Prior to his two recent wins, Gonzalez hadn't recorded a Major League victory since April 24, 2008.

Were theses the kinds of results Gonzalez expected of himself?

"Not like that with two wins, you know?" Gonzalez said. "But I'm so excited and I've just been working a lot more, extra work every day in the gym and outside running a lot. [I feel] much better. I'm more mature and have more experience. I'm 29 now, and I feel much better."

Gonzalez certainly looked good, but unfortunately had his day end a little earlier than he would have liked. He was removed from the game entering the bottom of the sixth for precautionary reasons due to a blister that formed on his right foot.

"I really felt good the whole game," Gonzalez said. "Just in the fifth inning, I got a blister [on] my foot. I just talked to Tony and said, 'You know what? I'm Mexican. I can try. Let me go.' But he said, it was 'better for the next game if we take you out.' So he took me out."

The Astros' bullpen didn't waver though, combining for eight strikeouts and giving up just three hits in the final four frames to help secure the win.

Houston wrapped up its six-game road trip with a 3-3 record, and will look to ride that momentum into a seven-game homestand that begins on Monday.

"Winning on the road, splitting series ... it's a positive for us," DeFrancesco said. "It's been a long season for some of these guys, and we continue to try to keep them positive and [get them to] finish strong."

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