|Cleveland Indians (6-6)
|Cincinnati Reds (5-6)
|W: Bieber (3-0) L: Jones (0-1) SV: Hand (3)
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
Another strong start. Another bullpen letdown. The game was going well for the Reds behind an outstanding start from Tyler Mahle, who tossed 6.0 shutout innings with just one hit allowed. But the bullpen and a defensive miscue led to the tying runs in the 7th, and then a 2-run homer in the 8th put Cleveland ahead of Cincinnati for good as the Reds fell to 5-6 and back below the .500 mark.
Facing the pitcher that had been the best in baseball through the first week-and-a-half
Justin Shane Bieber, Nick Castellanos hit a home run off of the top of the batters eye that the new ball-tracking system Hawkeye hilariously estimated at 409 feet. That put Cincinnati up 1-0 in the 1st inning, but the offense didn’t get much going beyond that point as Bieber racked up five strikeouts through the first three innings. But in the 4th things picked up again for the Reds as they played long ball once again with Eugenio Suarez crushing his first of the year to dead center to put the team up 2-0. The bats once again went silent, though. Jesse Winker recorded the next hit in the bottom of the 7th inning with one out, but that didn’t produce a run and sent the game, now tied at 2-2, to the 8th.
The bullpen for the Reds showed up in the most painful way possible once again, meaning the hitters came to the plate trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the 8th and needing a rally to pull out a victory. Shane Bieber came back out for the start of the inning and after quick work of Tucker Barnhart and Shogo Akiyama, Joey Votto lined a single into right field to bring the tying run to the plate for Nick Castellanos. The Indians called to the bullpen to bring in James Karinchak to try and hold their lead. He jumped ahead of Castellanos with back-to-back curveballs that went for called strikes before a third curve went in the dirt to move Votto up to second. But after another ball and a foul, the Reds cleanup hitter took strike three on another curveball to end the inning.
With Brad Hand coming out for the 9th, Kyle Farmer hit the ball hard – but he lined out to left field to start the inning. Eugenio Suarez popped up for the second out of the inning, bringing up pinch hitter Matt Davidson as the last hope to keep things going. He didn’t, taking a called third strike to end the game.
Tyler Mahle seemed to be outmatched in the match up against Bieber, but he went toe-to-toe with him. While the Cleveland All-Star on the other side was giving up two home runs through the first, Mahle was mowing down Indians hitters in that same stretch. While he wasn’t exactly pitch efficient, he had allowed just one hit and struck out six batters through 4.0 shutout frames. In the 5th inning Tyler Mahle and Nick Senzel did all of the work as Mahle fired the pitches and Senzel caught three fly balls in a row. In what turned out to be his final inning of work, Mahle induced two infield pop ups and got Carlos Santana to fly out to Nick Castellanos.
After an outstanding start by Tyler Mahle, David Bell handed the game over to Pedro Strop. The reliever hadn’t pitched in a week before appearing. The first batter reached on an error by Freddy Galvis and then Strop walked the next hitter to put two on. But Jordan Luplow swung over top of a slider on a full count for the first out of the inning. The next pitch was hit into the glove of Nick Castellanos for the second out of the inning. Oscar Mercado walked to load the bases to bring the top of the order around. Cesar Hernandez worked Strop, too, and on the 6th pitch of the at-bat he hit a chopper to first and he beat the ball to the bag for an RBI single to make it 2-1 as the error to begin the inning came back to haunt.
That was all for Pedro Strop as Lucas Sims came in with three on and two outs with the hopes of keeping the lead. That didn’t happen as he walked Jose Ramirez on six pitches on a fastball that went 52 feet to tie the game up. Facing one of the best hitters in baseball, Francisco Lindor, Sims got a ground out to Joey Votto to send the game to the 8th inning all tied up.
The bullpen continued to make things more interesting than anyone would like as Nate Jones came out for the 8th inning and walked the first batter on a questionable call by the umpire. What followed was a 2-run go-ahead homer by Franmil Reyes to center field and that sigh you heard at 8:34pm ET came from everyone in the greater Cincinnati area. After striking out Bradley Zimmer the night was over for Jones and turned over to Amir Garrett. The left got Jordan Luplow to ground out for the second out of the inning before striking out Sandy Leon to end things for Cleveland in the 8th.
Cody Reed came out for the top of the 9th and struck out Oscar Mercado on three pitches. But he hit Cesar Hernandez to put a runner on. Jose Ramirez lined out to Freddy Galvis, who then turned in a nice play to end the inning to get Francisco Lindor at first on a chopper on the grass. That kept the Reds down 4-2 and gave the offense a shot to get something going. Unfortunately for Cincinnati on this night that didn’t happen.
Notes worth noting
Mike Moustakas left the game with a bruised left quad.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds vs Cleveland Indians
Wednesday August 5th, 7:10pm ET
Tejay Antone ( 0-0, 2.08 ERA) vs Mike Clevinger (0-1, 4.91 ERA)