Jay Bruce became the first Reds player to win the National League Player of the Month award since Adam Dunn in July 2005.

"To play well through a whole month, to garner an honor like this when you're competing against the whole big leagues, is definitely something cool," Bruce said Thursday. "I wish we had played a little better and won some more games during the month. But it's a really nice award.

"I take it in stride with everything else. I plan on it being another stepping stone to where I want to get."

Bruce struggled early in the season. But in 27 games since a six-game stint in the second spot in the order, he's hitting. .342 with 12 homers and 33 RBI.

"I think the actual thought of moving up and down in the order may be a little overblown," he said.