Houston, TX – For the second straight night, Drew Stubbs knocked in a pair of runs in the ninth inning to lead the Reds to a comeback victory as they downed the Astros, 5-3, to complete a three-game sweep at Minute Maid Park.
Cincinnati led 2-0 heading into the bottom of the eighth, but Logan Ondrusek was touched for three runs to give the Astros a one-run lead.
The Reds battled back in the top of the ninth off Francisco Cordero (0-2) as Xavier Paul led off the frame with a pinch-hit double. Brandon Phillips came on as a pinch-hitter and worked a one-out walk two batters later.
After Zack Cozart fanned, Stubbs launched a double off the wall in center field to plate Paul and Phillips and give the Reds a one-run lead.
"Drew Stubbs comes through big again," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "That was a huge clutch hit, probably even bigger than last night."
Fernando Abad entered for Cordero and Jay Bruce greeted him with a single into right to score Stubbs for a two-run cushion.
Sean Marshall (3-3) earned the victory after recording the final out of the eighth, while Aroldis Chapman came on in the ninth and recorded his 19th save of the season.
Stubbs finished with three RBI and two runs scored to help the NL Central-leading Reds earn their season-high seventh straight victory and sixth consecutive road win.
Ondrusek's meltdown in the eighth spoiled a stellar start from Homer Bailey, who spun seven scoreless innings of four-hit ball. He walked a season-high five, but struck out seven and has allowed just six earned runs over his last 37 2/3 innings, spanning five starts.
"I hate that he didn't get the win," said Baker of Bailey, "but I'm glad that we did."
Jose Altuve registered three hits and scored once, but the Astros lost their season-high ninth straight contest.
Cincinnati struck first in the third as Devin Mesoraco singled to start the frame and scored three batters later on a double from Stubbs.
The Reds tacked on one more in the eighth on an RBI single from Scott Rolen, but Houston's three-run bottom half put the Astros in front.
They put a runner in scoring position in each of the first three frames and five of the first seven overall, but couldn't break through until the eighth.
Altuve started the frame with a double, but the next two hitters were retired in order. Scott Moore kept the inning alive with a double to right to score Altuve before J.D. Martinez followed with a double off the base of the wall in left-center field.
Moore scored on the play to tie the game, while Martinez tried to stretch his hit into a triple. Todd Frazier's throw to third skidded past Rolen though, and Martinez scurried home to give the Astros a 3-2 lead.
"Leaving runners in scoring position definitely was one thing that was our Achilles' heel tonight," Houston manager Brad Mills said.
Houston starter Bud Norris gave up just one run on five hits and one walk with seven strikeouts over seven innings. He hasn't earned a victory since May 21 against the Cubs...The Reds are 35-2 when Stubbs scores a run, which he did in all three games of this series...It was Chapman's 10th save since July 7. He has struck out 31 of the last 40 hitters he has retired. He has allowed just one earned run to National League competition this year.