The Reds (33-38) entered the game with the third-best starting pitching ERA (3.63) in the National League. For the first two months of the season, DeSclafani was the weakest link in the five-man rotation. His ERA stood at 4.97 after he gave up three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 29.
June has produced a different DeSclafani (4-3, 4.22). He gave up one run in five innings against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 6. In his previous start Wednesday, he pitched the Reds to a 7-2 victory against the Cleveland Indians, again allowing one run, this time in 5 2/3 innings. It was a similar story against the Astros (48-26). He allowed one earned run on six hits in 5 1/3 innings.
“What we’re seeing is him getting better each time out,” Reds manager David Bell said. “He’s made great adjustments along the way, and he’s gaining confidence and really pitching well.”
» HAL McCOY: Reds take advantage of short-handed Astros
DeSclafani didn’t feel he had his best stuff against the Astros. He credited the Reds defense, which produced inning-ending double plays in the fourth and fifth innings.
“I’m just happy we got the win,” DeSclafani said. “I didn’t really have my slider. The slider didn’t have much depth today. I feel I made the pitches when I needed to. At the end of the day, it’s about grinding stuff out and bearing down when you need to. I felt I did that.”
NOTES: Derek Dietrich, who hit 12 home runs in May, hit his first home run in June. His two-run shot combined with Jesse Winker's lead-off home run to give the Reds a 3-0 lead in the first. Dietrich leads the team with 18 home runs. … Kyle Farmer's home run in the seventh proved to be the game-winning run for the Reds. It gave them a 4-1 lead. Alex Bregman cut the deficit to 4-3 with a two-run home run in the eighth.