CINCINNATI (AP) — Jesse Winker and Derek Dietrich homered off Justin Verlander in the first inning Tuesday night, and the Cincinnati Reds held on for a 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros that clinched their first series win in nearly a month.
By taking the first two games, the Reds won a series for the first time since May 24-26, when they took two of three from the Cubs. The Astros hadn’t dropped a series since April 29-May 2.
The Reds quickly got to Verlander (9-3), who hadn’t allowed a pair of homers in one inning all season. Winker connected on Verlander’s fourth pitch, the third leadoff homer allowed by the right-hander this season. Joey Votto’s double and Dietrich’s first homer since May 28 made it 3-0.
Kyle Farmer added a homer in the seventh off Verlander, who has given up three homers in each of his last two starts. Verlander went seven innings and struck out eight.
Anthony DeSclafani (4-3) pitched into the sixth inning and remained unbeaten in June. He gave up six hits, including Yordan Alvarez’s RBI double with one out in the sixth that cut it to 3-1 and ended his outing. Alex Bregman hit a two-run homer in the eighth off Amir Garrett.
Closer Raisel Iglesias was used in a setup role again, fanning two in the eighth. Michael Lorenzen retired the side in order in the ninth for his second straight save and fourth overall.
The Astros stranded 10 batters — six in scoring position — while also losing the series opener 4-3. They stranded five in scoring position Tuesday and had three double plays that scuttled rallies.
Astros: 2B Jose Altuve will be activated for the final game of the series. The 2017 AL MVP has been sidelined since May 11 by a strained left hamstring. ... OF George Springer is expected to start a rehab assignment Thursday with Double-A Corpus Christi. He’s been out since May 25, also with a strained left hamstring.
Reds: LHP Alex Wood threw 20 pitches in batting practice. He could start a rehab assignment next week. Wood has been sidelined since spring training by a bad back. ... 2B Scooter Gennett was held out of a game at Single-A Daytona on Tuesday because the field was wet. Gennett is on a rehab assignment as he recovers from a severe groin injury in spring training.
Astros: Gerrit Cole (6-5) leads the majors with 140 strikeouts. He fanned 10 in his last start, a 15-2 win over Toronto on Friday.
Reds: Tyler Mahle (2-7) is coming off his shortest stint of the season, 4 1/3 innings of a 7-2 loss to Texas on Friday. He complained afterward about getting removed from games too quickly.