Pete Schourek's four years in Cincinnati made beating the Reds more enjoyable.
"It makes it a lot more fun," Schourek said after the Houston Astros handed Cincinnati its eighth straight loss with a 3-1 win Sunday over the Reds.
"I want to win no matter who I'm pitching against," said the left-hander, who pitched for the Reds from 1994-97. "But this is more fun because you know all the guys on the other team."
The Astros swept the Reds in a three-game series for the first time since 1992. Cincinnati has been swept six times this season.
Schourek (4-5) allowed one run and five hits. Trever Miller pitched 2 1-3 scoreless innings before being replaced Mike Magnante in the ninth. Magnante pitched out of a two-on, one-out jam for his first save, striking out Dmitri Young to end the game.
"The story today was our pitching staff," Jeff Bagwell said. "Schourek allowed only one run and our bullpen came in and shut them down."
The Reds, who lost nine in a row in 1996, have also lost eight in a row on the road.
"You couldn't ask for a situation any better than we had in the ninth," said Cincinnati manager Jack McKeon. "We just haven't been able to score. All we needed was a sacrifice fly here or there."
Pete Harnisch (6-3) has lost two straight starts for the first time this season. He allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings.
"I don't think much of today's outing," he said. "We're struggling and not scoring many runs. So you can't make many mistakes. I made too many mistakes. I've got to be more effective."
Schourek was also pleased to distance himself from a three-inning stint against St. Louis when he gave up five hits, six runs and seven walks.
"That last start made me more determined to come back with a good start today," he said. "I didn't have my control last time. Today, I was able to mix up my pitches and the result is a lot better than my last outing."
Houston opened the scoring in the third inning when Bagwell's single drove in Craig Biggio.
The Reds tied it in the sixth when Young doubled and scored on Sean Casey's one-out sacrifice fly.
In the sixth, Bagwell and Moises Alou hit consecutive singles. A walk to Carl Everett loaded the bases with none out and Bagwell scored when Tony Eusebio grounded into a double play.
Ricky Gutierrez followed with an RBI single to give Houston a 3-1 lead.
Notes: Houston's Derek Bell made a leaping catch on the warning track to rob Mike Frank of a potential RBI single in the fifth. ... Bagwell has 199 career homers. Only Jimmy Wynn has hit more than 200 homers for the Astros. ... Astros pitcher Chris Holt, who has not pitched this season because of off-season surgery on his right houlder, will undergo exploratory arthroscopic surgery Monday. "The MRI has shown nothing and the X-rays haven't revealed any damage," general manager Gerry Hunsicker said. "So our only recourse is exploratory arthroscopic surgery. It's been really perplexing to our people." ... In the last nine games, the Reds are 15-for-81 (.185) with runners in scoring position. ... Cincinnati's Bret Boone leads major league second basemen with a .995 fielding percentage.
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