CINCINNATI (AP) — Nick Senzel singled home the tying run with two outs in the ninth inning, and Jesse Winker followed with an RBI single Wednesday afternoon as the Cincinnati Reds rallied for a 3-2 victory and a rare sweep of the Houston Astros.
The Reds matched their season high with a fourth straight win. They also swept the Marlins in April.
Former American League MVP Jose Altuve returned to Houston’s lineup, but couldn’t help the Astros avoid their first sweep of the season and their first on the road since September 2017 at Oakland. The AL West leaders have lost four in a row.
Michael Brantley’s two-run homer put Gerrit Cole in position for only his second career win over Cincinnati, but Roberto Osuna (3-1) couldn’t close it out. Jose Peraza opened the rally with a double and came around on Senzel’s hit. Winker finished it off with a single up the middle.
Matt Bowman (1-0) pitched two innings.
There was encouraging news for the Astros: Altuve came back from a hamstring strain that cost him 35 games. The Astros went 24-11 while the second baseman was sidelined. He went 0 for 4 and grounded into a double play.
Cole has only one career win against the Reds throughout his career with the Pirates and Astros, going 1-8. His team has lost 12 of the 13 games he’s pitched against Cincinnati.
Brantley completed a productive series with his two-run shot off Tyler Mahle, who was making his first start since complaining publicly about quick hooks from his manager. Brantley had three hits for the second straight game. He leads the majors with 31 multihit games.
Mahle was coming off his shortest start of the season, only 4 1/3 innings of a 7-2 loss to the Rangers on Friday. Afterward, he said manager David Bell wasn’t letting him get deeper into games, saying “it’s getting pretty ridiculous at this point.” Bell spoke with him after the comments.
Mahle allowed four hits and one walk in a career-high seven innings.
Astros: Cionel Perez — the only lefty in the Astros’ bullpen — was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to open a roster spot for Altuve. Perez was 1-1 in three games. He allowed seven runs in three innings against Toronto on Sunday.
Reds: Shortstop Jose Iglesias was activated off the three-day paternity list. Josh VanMeter was optioned to Triple-A Louisville. First baseman Joey Votto got a day of rest from the starting lineup, but he pinch hit in the ninth and took a called third strike.
Astros: Left-hander Framber Valdez (3-2) opens a series against the Yankees in New York. It’ll be his third start of the season along with 14 relief appearances.
Reds: Tanner Roark (4-6) tries for his first win in June when the Reds open a series in Milwaukee. Roark is 0-3 in three June starts, allowing 12 runs — 10 earned — in 18 innings.