HOUSTON (AP) -
thinks he's figured out why he's pitched so badly at times this month.
Backe was sharp into the seventh,
homered twice off
3-2 on Thursday.
added a solo shot to help the Astros beat the Reds for the 10th time in 12 meetings this season.
Backe (9-12) had one of his best outings of an inconsistent August, allowing six hits and striking out six in 6 2-3 innings.
He was 2-2 in his previous four decisions, allowing 11 runs in each of the losses and a total of four runs in the two wins.
Backe said he felt as good on Thursday as he did in his last start, when he gave up three runs on five hits in an 8-3 win
New York Mets
''Things are falling in line, I guess,'' Backe said. ''Obviously, the last two games I've thrown the ball pretty good. I've
changed the pace of the ball, thrown it over the plate, kept them off-balance.''
said he and pitching coach
have told Backe repeatedly to trust his fastball and throw more strikes. Cooper hopes Backe is finally executing the plan.
''I'm hoping that's the real
,'' Cooper said. ''Today, he did the same thing he did the last time out, he attacked the strike zone with his fastball, he
went to his off-speed stuff when he needed to. He was really good and that's the kind of guy I like to see out there.''
Backe didn't allow a run until
hit an RBI triple with two outs in the seventh.
added an RBI single before Backe was relieved by
, who got the final out of the inning.
Backe threw only 89 pitches and was disappointed that he couldn't keep the bullpen rested.
''As efficient as I was today, I'm looking at eight innings or possibly a complete game,'' Backe said. ''I'm obviously frustrated
that I didn't last longer.''
pitched a scoreless eighth and
struck out the side in the ninth for his 35th save.
Harang (4-14) matched a season high with nine strikeouts, but lost for the fifth time in six decisions. His 29 homers allowed
are the most by a Reds' pitcher this season.
''The two to Wigginton I thought were my only mistakes,'' Harang said. ''I pretty much put the ball right where I wanted to.''
Backe is 4-0 in his last six starts against the Reds. He's struggled in the first inning all season, but breezed through this
one in seven pitches.
In the bottom half, Wigginton lined Harang's fifth pitch into the left-field seats, his second homer in two at-bats. Wigginton
hit a two-run shot in the seventh inning of Tuesday's 4-1 win.
Quintero, Houston's catcher, hit a solo homer off the left-field foul pole in the Astros' fifth. It was only Quintero's second
homer since he was called up from the minors on June 6.
Backe struck out the first two batters he faced in the sixth.
singled up the middle, but Quintero picked off Dickerson with a quick throw to
Wigginton led off the Astros sixth with another solo homer, this time off the facade in left center. Wigginton has 19 homers
this season and leads the NL with 10 homers this month. He recorded his first multihomer game since last Sept. 15.
Wigginton says he hasn't changed anything about his hitting since the start of the season. He missed the first month with
a broken thumb and said he's finally regained his timing at the plate.
''I'm pretty confident in my swing,'' he said. ''I've always felt like, given at-bats, my numbers will always be there.''
beat out an infield grounder with two outs in the seventh and Bruce snapped out of an 1-for-15 slump with a triple to left.
Backe then walked Rosales, prompting a mound visit from Robinson.
Patterson blooped a single to left and Cooper brought in Brocail.
grounded into a fielder's choice on Brocail's first pitch.
Notes: Harang has lost his last two decisions against Houston after winning the previous six. ... Wigginton has seven multihomer
games in his career. ... The Reds sent RHP
to Triple-A Louisville on Thursday to begin a rehab assignment. Burton has been on the disabled list since July 11 with a
strained right latissimus muscle.