CINCINNATI - Twenty-seven years later, the Yankees still couldn't win in Cincinnati.
Juan Castro slapped a run-scoring single just inside first base with two outs in the ninth, giving the Reds a 4-3 victory Tuesday in New York's long-awaited return.
The Yankees got swept by the Big Red Machine in the 1976 World Series and hadn't been back since. Their interleague return drew a capacity crowd, the third of the season at Great American Ball Park, that reveled in another Yankees loss.
"Everybody was into it," said Yankees starter Andy Pettitte, who let a sixth-inning lead slip away. "Everybody wants to beat the Yankees."
The Reds beat them the way they usually beat teams at Great American: on their last swing.
Castro's soft grounder off the end of the bat eluded diving first baseman Jason Giambi and sent the Reds into another hop-in-unison celebration. Fifteen of the Reds' 28 wins have come in their final at-bat and seven on game-ending hits at Great American.
"You can't let us hang around," manager Bob Boone said. "The electricity was up. Everybody knew it was the Yankees, but you don't play different. You do get up for it more. It's fun."
The rematch came down to the bullpens, and Reds relievers were a little better. Chris Reitsma struck out four in two perfect innings, while Antonio Osuna failed in the end.
Jason LaRue doubled high off the wall in center with one out in the ninth, missing a game-ending homer at Great American by about two feet.
Osuna struck out Felipe Lopez, then fell behind to Castro before giving up the winning single.
"Castro hit a good pitch," said Osuna, who threw a cut fastball. "It was a little off the plate. He's a good hitter to rightfield."
Castro became the seventh Red to come through with a game-ending hit. His biggest hit of the season came off a friend; Castro is the godfather to Osuna's daughter, Lohami.