Final in 11

Series: Game 3 of 3

Cincinnati won 3-0

Game 1: Friday, June 2
Game 2: Saturday, June 3
Game 3: Sunday, June 4
in 11

Reds 6

(32-24, 17-13 away)

Astros 4

(27-30, 18-12 home)

    2:05 PM ET, June 4, 2006

    Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 

    1234567891011 R H E
    CIN 00110100012 6 8 0
    HOU 01001001010 4 8 1

    W: T. Coffey (3-0)

    L: D. Wheeler (0-4)

    S: E. Yan (1)

    Freel's second homer lifts Reds over 'Stros in 11

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Ryan Freel was relieved to learn that Houston ace Roy Oswalt was out with back spasms, and he took advantage of his absence.

    Freel hit his second homer of the game in the 11th inning to lift the Cincinnati Reds over the Astros 6-4 Sunday, completing a three-game sweep.

    Freel's two-out, two-run homer off Russ Springer completed the first multihomer game of his career. David Ross, who drew a pinch-hit walk, scored on Freel's drive to left.

    "The key situation in this game was that Roy Oswalt didn't pitch," said Freel, who had just two home runs this season entering Sunday's game. "He's 15-1 against us. He's on a pretty good run when he just has been lights out against us.

    "I was happy to see he wasn't pitching. That was a plus for us, that's for sure."

    Todd Coffey (3-0) allowed two hits and one run in the 10th inning for Cincinnati, which swept a series in Houston for the first time since June 1999. It also breaks a streak of seven straight series losses in Houston for the Reds.

    "They've got a lot of heart," Reds manager Jerry Narron said of the Astros. "I'm just pleased to get these three wins. We've had trouble getting one in here sometimes."

    Felipe Lopez hit an RBI double in the 10th inning to put Cincinnati ahead 4-3 before Chris Burke's run-scoring double in the bottom half tied it. Burke also singled in a run in the eighth to tie the game at 3.

    Burke's double in the 10th off Coffey scored Craig Biggio, who reached by hitting his 625th career double to pass Hank Aaron for ninth on the career list.

    Esteban Yan, acquired from the Angels on Tuesday, got his first save after allowing one hit in the 11th. Eric Munson grounded into double play to end the game.

    Dan Wheeler (0-4) gave up one hit and two runs in 1 1-3 innings for the loss.

    With one out in the ninth, Scott Hatteberg reached first on an error by shortstop Eric Bruntlett before a single by Javier Valentin. Houston closer Brad Lidge struck out Edwin Encarnacion and Rich Aurilia to end the inning.

    Austin Kearns hit his second home run off Trever Miller in the sixth give the Reds a 3-2 lead. It was the third career multihomer game for Kearns and his first this season.

    Biggio's bases-loaded sacrifice fly scored Brad Ausmus in the fifth and tied it at 2. Ken Griffey Jr. stretched to make an impressive diving catch just in front of the wall in left-center to retire Biggio.

    Freel also homered in the third and Kearns hit his first drive in the fourth as Cincinnati led 2-1 after four.

    Burke said the team has to find a way to turn things around after losing nine of the last 11 games.

    "It's frustrating after a road trip to come home and get swept," he said. "We need to start playing better ball all the way around."

    Fernando Nieve started after Oswalt was scratched from the lineup just two minutes before the scheduled start of the game. The game was pushed back 10 minutes because of the change.

    Nieve allowed four hits and two runs in five innings while striking out two.

    Reds starter Elizardo Ramirez rebounded from his last outing, where he gave up a career-high nine hits in a 7-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs. He allowed three hits and two runs in six innings.

    "I'm really pleased with how Ramirez threw," Narron said. "The way he pitched early saved the game for us."

    Houston took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Morgan Ensberg hit his 18th home run.

    The Astros have lost four in a row to drop to three games under .500 (27-30) for the first time this season. Sunday's game was their fourth extra-inning game in the last eight and the sixth of the season.

    "We've had a couple of those heartbreakers lately," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "If we're tough we'll come through it. If we're not we won't. But I have a feeling we will."

    Game notes

    Griffey and Freel have six-game hitting streaks. ... The Reds have won four straight. ... The Astros have lost three straight at home, matching their longest home losing skid of the season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press