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CIN@PHI: Arroyo solid over eight to earn 10th win

Six days ago, right-handers Bronson Arroyo and Bud Norris dueled at Minute Maid Park. They'll face off again on Saturday, this time at Great American Ball Park.

Neither pitcher factored in the decision on Sunday in Houston as Arroyo's Reds came back late to take a 5-3 rubber game victory over Norris' Astros.

It's been a frustrating season for Norris. He hasn't won since May 21 and his ERA in 16 starts since is 5.90. He's dealing with a blister problem that forced his exit after 79 pitches on Sunday.

"He's got this blister problem, and you keep adding innings on him and stress to it, who knows, we might lose him for one of the [remaining] starts," said Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco on Sunday. "That's not our plan. We want Bud to finish the season strong here and give us a chance. Six quality innings after coming off a blister problem, that's the right move for us."

DeFrancesco believes the attitude in the clubhouse has changed for the better, but the Astros still aren't stringing together wins. After coming back to win on Friday, the Astros have a chance on Saturday to win road games on consecutive days for the first time all season.

"You've got to go out and compete," DeFrancesco said. "We're trying to clean up our game a little bit. Some of the mistakes that we're making are just letting runs to the scoreboard, and we cannot do that against this Cincinnati team."

Arroyo has gotten stronger as the season's progressed. In his last three starts, his ERA is 2.25. He's allowed just 11 hits over his last 20 innings.

With the Reds needing offense on Sunday, manager Dusty Baker pulled Arroyo after 75 pitches, so Arroyo's arm should be fresh on Saturday. With 170 innings already in the books, Arroyo could post his seventh 200-inning season with a couple strong starts down the stretch.

"I've racked up a lot of innings, and having a blow like that, especially us getting a win, is just a bonus," Arroyo said on Sunday.

Astros: Young roster seizing opportunities to grow
• With the youngest active roster in the Majors and the postseason out of reach, the Astros want to build some momentum heading into the 2013 season.

"Everyone out here has their own opportunities to prove themselves in the big leagues," said outfielder Justin Maxwell. "I think individually everyone wants to do their best and as a team you want to finish the season on a strong note. The only way to do that is to win some games and go into next Spring Training with the attitude of winning."

The Astros have used 50 different players this season, including 11 rookies. Maxwell, a four-year veteran, has cherished the opportunity to get regular at-bats. He is batting .227 with 14 homers and 41 RBIs in 102 games.

"You only learn through experience, so if everyone can take it positively even though we've been struggling as a team, we're going to be better next year."

• Second baseman Jose Altuve left Friday's game in the third inning with a left lower abdominal strain.

Reds: Stubbs out of the lineup for second straight game
• Reds manager Dusty Baker kept center fielder Drew Stubbs out of the lineup on Friday for the second straight game.

Stubbs is batting .159 (10-for-63) with 27 strikeouts in his last 15 games.

"I'll just leave Stubbs a couple of days to try to make some changes in his approach," Baker said. "Lack of ability is not the issue. He has more ability than nearly everybody in the league. Let's face it: as much as everybody gets on Stubbs, he is still one of the best center fielders in the league. That's a major part of your defense. We just have to figure out a way to get him more productive offensively."

Stubbs is batting .220 with 14 homers, 39 RBIs and 71 runs. Chris Heisey has started the last two games in center field.

"As much as you hate to do it, like a parent sometimes, you have to let a guy hit rock bottom and then they're open for any kind of suggestion," Baker said. "We'll help him figure it out. Sometimes you have to figure out things on your own."

• Third baseman Scott Rolen and rookie shortstop Zack Cozart, both dealing with back problems, missed Friday's series opener against the Astros.

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