Reds hit 3 homers off Justin Ver­lan­der, beat Astros 4-3

Big Spring Herald - - SPORTS - By JOE KAY AP Sports Writer

CINCINNATI — Justin Ver­lan­der gives up a lot of fly balls. Great American Ball Park yields a lot of home runs. The Cincinnati Reds took ad­van­tage of the com­bi­na­tion to fi­nally win a se­ries.

Jesse Winker and Derek Di­et­rich home­red off Ver­lan­der in the first in­ning Tues­day night, and the 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 re­sults are great," man­ager David Bell said. "We've talked about get­ting on a streak, but we've been play­ing good teams. We're rais­ing our level of ex­pec­ta­tions to do what it takes to win games."

The homer made the dif­fer­ence, as the Reds hit three off Ver­lan­der (9-3) for all their runs.

The Reds quickly got to Ver­lan­der, 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.

"Pick­ing up a three-spot is al­ways good, no mat­ter who you're fac­ing, but es­pe­cially against a pitcher like Ver­lan­der, where there's no room for er­ror," Reds starter An­thony DeS­clafani said.

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.

He's al­lowed 20 homers, 17 of them solo shots. In his last two starts, he's given up 10 hits, six of them homers. His ca­reer high for homers al­lowed in a sea­son is 30 with Detroit in 2016.

"Maybe I could throw less strikes, but I'm some­one who tra­di­tion­ally wants to at­tack the (strike) zone and not let too many guys on base, so I kind of live and die by that," Ver­lan­der said.

Asked what he could do to cut down on homers, Ver­lan­der said, "In­vent a sinker? I don't know."

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.

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