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CIN@COL: Latos fans eight over eight to earn the win

DENVER -- Reds broadcasting legend Marty Brennaman's look has gone relatively unchanged for decades. But now because of a pledge he made, Brennaman's hair is collateral damage from the Reds' winning ways.

Awhile back, Brennaman vowed to shave his head if the Reds won 10 games in a row. Players in the clubhouse who remembered that statement were buzzing about it pregame. After a 7-2 Reds win over the Rockies on Sunday that completed a three-game sweep, a 6-0 road trip and a 10th straight victory, several players looked towards Brennaman's radio booth and pantomimed shaving their heads. The Hall of Fame voice said he would be losing his locks Saturday after he shoots a TV commercial and takes some planned days off.

"It's a good thing. He's proud of that hair," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

Brennaman's impending hair loss was merely a small bonus on top of everything else that's been going this club's way. The first-place Reds have won 17 of their past 19 games and are 11-2 since Joey Votto went on the disabled list.

During the Rockies series, Cincinnati scored 19 runs, and the team averaged six runs per game on the six-game road trip. The starting pitchers were 5-0 with a 2.21 ERA during that span.

"I'm always talking about the perfect road trip, finally had one," Baker said. "It's been a long time. I can't remember the last perfect road trip. The guys responded well."

"Our pitching has done an amazing job," said right fielder Jay Bruce, who hit his 20th home run during a 1-for-4 afternoon. "The bats have picked up the last couple of days. It's fun."

All that Reds starter Mat Latos wanted was not to be the guy who caused the end of the winning streak. Latos delivered, finishing with eight well-pitched innings while allowing two runs and four hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.

"It's a lot of pressure coming into the game knowing that we had won nine in a row. But I attacked and went after them," said Latos, who was still throwing 95 mph in the eighth. "Today it was in the back of my mind."

Colorado took a 2-1 first-inning lead against Latos when Dexter Fowler led off with a walk and Josh Rutledge hit a first pitch to right field for a two-run home run.

"I can give up two runs and still know I'm in the ballgame, as opposed to before when two runs could cost you a game," said Latos, who showed no effects from a mildly sprained ankle in his previous start. "I'm not so tense just giving up two runs."

The Reds did not trail again against Rockies lefty Jonathan Sanchez as they mounted another diversified attack. The leadoff man reached base three times and scored. There were also two homers, which made it seven in the past two games.

In the top of the second, Chris Heisey hit a leadoff triple to left-center field and scored on Miguel Cairo's sacrifice fly. Zack Cozart started the third inning with his own triple to left-center field and came home on Drew Stubbs' sacrifice fly.

After Cozart led off the fifth inning with a single, Stubbs returned to hit a two-run homer to left field on a 1-0 pitch. Two batters later, Bruce crushed a first pitch for a solo shot to the second deck in right field that gave the Reds a four-run lead. Heisey's double and Miguel Cairo's RBI single tacked on to the lead in the eighth.

"We've been doing what we've needed to do, whether it's the long ball, whether it's base hits, sacrifice flies or get the guy over," Bruce said. "We're playing really good baseball."

Latos gave up only three more hits after the first inning and retired eight of his last nine batters while throwing 117 pitches.

"Once again, our starting pitching was not up to par. When you're facing Latos, you can't surrender a whole lot," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "That quite possibly could have been as good a game I've seen him pitch. He was terrific. His slider was as good as I've seen it."

The second-place Pirates, who have been nearly as hot as the Reds, finally lost a game to the Astros to snap a four-game winning streak. Cincinnati, now at 21 games over .500 at 61-40, has a three-game lead in the National League Central. There hasn't been a four-game lead since June 17.

Coming up next is a seven-game homestand. First up are four games vs. the struggling Padres, followed by a three-game showdown with Pittsburgh.

"They're not going to go away," Bruce said. "That's fairly obvious at this point. We have to continue to play our baseball and can't really worry about them. It's good when the light is created for you. We have some series straight up with them but any time you can gain a game is great."

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