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Bruce confident Reds will rebound

CINCINNATI -- Jay Bruce is glad he has started hitting again. He just wishes those hits would be contributing to a greater cause than his season batting average.

"The results are there lately," Cincinnati's right fielder said Monday after recording three hits in five at-bats during a 5-4 loss to Colorado at Great American Ball Park. "It [losing] makes it tougher to enjoy. The reason you want to do well is to help your team win."

The Reds have lost nine in a row, and Bruce spoke openly Monday of the team's frustration as well as his optimism that things can quickly turn in a positive direction.

"I look forward to it turning around," Bruce said. "It can go nine in a row the other way. The biggest deal is, when that opportunity comes, we have to be ready for it."

Bruce has bumped his batting average from .162 on May 14 to its current .224 with five multi-hit games in his last eight starts. Two doubles and two home runs in that span have improved his slugging percentage from .333 to .415, and his on-base percentage has risen from .272 to .320.

"He's been terrific," Reds manager Bryan Price said of Bruce. "He's stayed the course. He's looking for the right pitch to hit early in the count, and he's battling with two strikes. That's a great approach for anybody, and not easy to do. It's exciting to watch because he's a huge part of our offense."

Bruce said a big part of baseball is enjoying the game, something difficult to keep in mind during a nine-game losing streak.

"What we have to do is allow ourselves to play baseball," Bruce said. "It's a game. You have to find the joy in little things."

Little things like three hits. Little things that, perhaps, may happen for multiple players and result in a successful collaborative effort that makes baseball fun again for the Reds.

"We've got 120 games left or whatever it is," Bruce said. "We have a decision to make. We can either soak in our own tears and whine and be down and continue to kind of drag our heads or we can come back ready to play and be baseball players and compete because that's what we do and that's what we all take a lot of pride in doing."

Andy Call is a contributor to
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