Gerrit Cole was in line for a rare win over Cincinnati. The Astros' (Houston Astros championship rings for sale) 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 (custom championship rings) 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 (mlb championship rings for sale) 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 (custom Cincinnati Reds championship rings) to Yasiel Puig's homer in six innings.
Cole gave up six hits and fanned eight . The major leagues' strikeout leader raised his season total to 148.
Brantley completed a productive series with his two-run shot in the sixth inning 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.