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Sutton’s grand slam helps Reds give LeCure win in MLB debut

CINCINNATI — Drew Sutton joined in a Cincinnati Reds power surge that’s about as good as it gets.

The Houston Astros? Never been worse, not even when they were the Colt .45’s.

Sutton hit his first grand slam, part of an emphatic three-homer game by a hot-as-it-gets offense, and Sam LeCure went six innings to win his big-league debut, 15-6 over the historically bad Astros on Friday night.

The Reds maintained a one-game lead over St. Louis in the NL Central, winning for the 22nd time in 31 games. Cincinnati is nine games over .500 for the first time in four years.

The Reds have homered in 17 straight games, tied for the third-longest streak in club history.

“The long balls are fun, but we’re getting some great situational hitting, too, and doing things like going from first to third,” said Jonny Gomes, who had four hits. “It’s a lot more than just homers.”

The Astros fell to 16-32 for the first time in franchise history, the worst mark in the NL. Catcher Kevin Cash made his first pitching appearance in the majors, giving up three hits and a run in the eighth to save the bullpen.

“Any loss kind of just keeps piling it up a little bit,” Cash said. “At the same time, you can see a big loss like this — maybe guys come in tomorrow and flip the switch, you never know. You certainly hope to think so. We definitely know we’re not playing the way we’re capable of, and we need to make some adjustments.”

Brandon Phillips and Gomes connected off Wandy Rodriguez (2-7), who gave up a season-high eight runs in 3 1-3 innings. Sutton had a pinch-hit grand slam for a 14-2 lead in the sixth.

Gomes also tripled home a run and singled in another. He missed a shot at the cycle in the seventh, when he singled to left field but was forced to stop at first base because there was a runner ahead of him.

LeCure, a fourth-round pick in 2005, was called up when Homer Bailey went on the disabled list this week with an inflamed pitching shoulder. The right-hander gave up six hits and two runs in six innings.

“You want the young man to get his feet wet and go deep into the ballgame,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It helped that we had a high-octane offense.”

An offense that’s at the top of its game made it easy for him to become an instant winner. The Reds have batted around four times in the last two games. They piled up a season-high 19 hits on Friday.

LeCure got doused on the field and smacked with a plate of shaving cream after the win. The celebration continued inside.