Gerrit Cole was in line for a rare win over Cincinnati. The Astros’ impressive streak of avoiding sweeps appeared safe once more.
With a pair of two-out swings in the ninth, everything changed.
Rookie Nick Senzel singled home the tying run, and Jesse Winker followed with another single that gave the Reds a 3-2 victory Wednesday and ended the Astros’ long run of leaving towns with at least one win.
Houston hadn’t been swept this season and had avoided a road sweep since September 2017 at Oakland. Roberto Osuna (3-1) couldn’t close it out as the Astros lost for the first time this season when leading after eight innings.
“Not being able to complete it is frustrating,” Osuna said.
The AL West leaders dropped all three in Cincinnati and have lost a season-high four in a row overall.
The Reds have finally found a little momentum. They’ve spent the season trying to dig out of their 1-8 start and last place in the NL Central. They moved ahead of the Pirates while putting together a four-game winning streak, matching their longest of the season.
Pulling off three straight one-run wins over the Astros amounted to their best moment of the season.
“I will say it was a lot of fun,” Winker said. “That was our best series. We beat three really good pitchers and a really good bullpen. It was just a really good series.”
Former American League MVP Jose Altuve returned to Houston’s lineup after missing 35 games with a hamstring strain. He went 0-for-4 and grounded into a double play.
Michael Brantley’s two-run homer put Cole in position for only his second career win over Cincinnati. Jose Peraza doubled in the ninth and came around on Senzel’s hit. Winker finished it off with a single up the middle just out of Altuve’s reach. Matt Bowman (1-0) pitched two innings.
Cole is 1-8 against Cincinnati with the Pirates and Astros, who have lost 12 of his 13 starts against the Reds. Even when he pitches well, he can’t get a win over them.
“When it’s all said and done, it just didn’t go our way,” said Cole, who limited the Reds to Yasiel Puig’s homer in six innings.
Nationals 6, Phillies 2: Patrick Corbin struck out eight in seven strong innings as host Washington took the opener of a day-night doubleheader.
Corbin (6-5) was originally set to start Monday and then pushed back twice. But he was sharp against the Phillies, at one point striking out seven of nine batters. He scattered four hits and three walks while ending a personal three-game losing streak.
Phillies rightfielder Bryce Harper was 0-for-2 with two walks. This series is his second trip back to Washington, where he played from 2012-18, since signing a 13-year, $330 million contract with Philadelphia in March.
Righthander Jake Arrieta (6-5, 4.31 ERA) will start the second game of the doubleheader for Philadelphia and the Nationals plan to counter with Max Scherzer (5-5, 2.81), who suffered a broken nose during a bunting drill Tuesday.
Padres 8, Brewers 7: Franmil Reyes hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh and Eric Hosmer added a two-run shot as host San Diego overcame three homers by Milwaukee for a three-game sweep.
Yasmani Grandal had given the Brewers an 8-5 lead in the top of the inning on a three-run homer against his former team, his 16th.
Christian Yelich hit his MLB-leading 27th homer for the Brewers.
A’s 8, Orioles 3: Chris Bassitt (4-3) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and won for the first time in more than three weeks, and Josh Phegley had a three-run homer, Marcus Semien extended his hitting streak to 16 games and Stephen Piscotty doubled twice as host Oakland completed a three-game sweep.
Bassitt retired 16 of the first 18 batters he faced and didn’t give up a hit until Jonathan Villar lined a 3-and-2 pitch for a single with one out in the sixth.