EditorsNote: minor edits throughout
Jesse Winker and Derek Dietrich slugged home runs in the first inning before Kyle Farmer added a third homer against Justin Verlander in the seventh as the host Cincinnati Reds defeated the Houston Astros 4-3 on Tuesday to claim this interleague series.
The Reds used their power surge to saddle Houston with its first series loss since the Minnesota Twins took three of four from the Astros at Target Field, April 29-May 2.
The Astros went 11-0-2 over the subsequent 13 series before the Reds ambushed Verlander with a three-run first inning.
Cincinnati has won three consecutive games for the first time since May 9-11.
Winker drilled a 1-2 fastball the opposite way to left field to open the first, going with a 94.7 mile-per-hour fastball to give the Reds a 1-0 lead.
Immediately after Winker’s 12th home run, Joey Votto dropped a bloop double just inside the left-field line in advance of Dietrich, who smacked his 18th home run down the line in right. It was Dietrich’s 18th of the season and his first since he hit three on May 28.
It marked just the fifth time in his 15-year career that Verlander had allowed two homers in the first inning. He faced three batters over the minimum over the ensuing five frames and recorded two quick outs in the seventh before Farmer launched a 3-2 slider into the second deck in left.
Farmer, whose sixth homer gave the Reds a 4-1 lead, entered as part of a double switch in the top of the seventh.
Verlander (9-3) allowed four runs on six hits and one walk with eight strikeouts over seven innings. He has surrendered three home runs in consecutive starts and three times this season.
Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (4-3) allowed one run on six hits and one walk with four strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. He benefitted from Verlander hitting into an inning-ending double play in the fifth inning instead of attempting a sacrifice bunt with two runners on in a 3-0 game.
In the sixth, after left fielder Yordan Alvarez drove home Michael Brantley with a double to right, Alvarez was doubled off third base attempting to tag on a fly ball to center field.
Alvarez over-slid the bag and was tagged out by Eugenio Suarez to snuff the threat and end the inning. The Astros finished 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
—Field Level Media