Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (10-13) 4 8 0
St. Louis Cardinals (7-7) 5 7 2
W: Elledge (1-0) L: Iglesias (1-2)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Things were going the Cincinnati Reds way before the start of the bottom of the 9th inning. Then a story that’s played out one too many times (or 15 too many times – who’s even counting anymore?), the bullpen ran into problems and saw a lead vanish and turn into a victory for the St. Louis Cardinals in the first game of a 4-game series between the two National League Central foes.

The Offense

The Reds offense didn’t take long to get going, but they were helped out a little bit by the Cardinals defense. Joey Votto laced a grounder down the line, but Paul Goldschmidt made a diving snag of the ball – he just failed to make a good threw to the covering pitcher and Votto reached. After Nick Castallanos flew out, the Jesse Winker show continued as he singled into right field. Eugenio Suárez followed up with a grounder to third that was first bobbled by Brad Miller, erasing any chance of turning a double play, but then he threw the ball past first base to bring in a run and move Winker to third. Mike Moustakas followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 and give Sonny Gray multiple runs to work with before he ever took the mound.

Cincinnati added to their lead in the 2nd inning on a 400 foot home run by Freddy Galvis. After the Cardinals got on the board in the bottom of the inning, the Reds came back for the 3rd to extend their lead. Eugenio Suárez hit a weak grounder up the third base line and beat out the play for a single. Mike Moustakas followed up with a double to center to bring in the Reds 4th run of the day.

After that the offense went silent. The double by Moustakas in the 3rd inning was the last time that a Reds player reached base for the next four-plus innings. Alex Reyes took over for the Cardinals in the 8th inning and that’s when the offense got back into things a little bit. Eugenio Suárez walked with one out, and Shogo Akiyama had a single with two outs, but both runners were stranded in the inning.

In the top of the 9th they were threatening again. Freddy Galvis led off with a walk, but was thrown out stealing. After a fly out, Joey Votto doubled and was followed by a Nick Castellanos walk. Jesse Winker came up and he walked, too – loading the bases for Eugenio Suárez, but his struggles continued as he struck out to end the threat.

The Pitching

After a dominant 1st inning that saw Sonny Gray strikeout two batters and throw just 12 pitches, the Cardinals got through in the next inning. Gray, who pounded the zone in the 1st could barely find it in the 2nd as he walked two batters and allowed a single, before Yadier Molina came through with a 2-run single to cut into the Reds lead and make it 3-2. That was all they’d get in the inning, but it put them right back into the game.

Sonny Gray followed up with a walk in an otherwise clean 3rd inning, and a 1-2-3 inning to follow. That helped get his pitch count back on track, checking in at 67 through his four innings to that point. In the 5th inning, Gray worked around a 2-out double and a walk as he continued walking the tight rope on the night. The 6th inning started with a strikeout, but Tyler O’Neill tried to get a rally started with a 1-out single. Gray fell behind 3-0 to Dexter Fowler, who got the green light to swing away – did just that. Unlike Fernando Tatis Jr., Fowler grounded into an inning-ending double play. That was all she wrote for Gray on the day, who finished with two earned in 6.0 innings with four walks and six strikeouts.

Lucas Sims took over for the Reds to begin the 7th inning and he nearly put together a perfect inning, striking out the side on just 11 pitches. Sims came back out for the 8th and got two ground outs before bringing in Amir Garrett to face off against left-handed hitting Matt Carpenter. The move paid off as Garrett struck him out to send the game to the 9th inning with Cincinnati still holding a 4-2 lead.

Raisel Iglesias came out for the bottom of the 9th and proceeded to hit the first batter of the inning with the first pitch of the inning. Not a good start. The next batter walked – the first walk of the season for Iglesias – to put the tying run on the bases. A ground ball single into right field loaded the bases with no outs to bring Yadier Molina to the plate. Another grounder up the middle looked like a chance to turn two, but Iglesias reached out to field it to potentially come home to get the lead runner, only to have the ball graze off his glove and go for an RBI infield hit.

A balk followed to tie the game. Somehow 2020 shows us something else. With runners on 2nd and 3rd, the Reds brought the infield and outfield in. They also brought in Nate Jones to replace Iglesias. It didn’t matter as Kolten Wong hit a ball to the warning track in center for a walk-off hit to crush the soul of Cincinnati sports fans once again.

Notes worth noting

Sonny Gray extended his Major League record of 39 consecutive starts without allowing more than six hits.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds vs St. Louis Cardinals

Friday August 21st, 8:15pm ET

Anthony DeSclafani (1-1, 6.23 ERA) vs Dakota Hudson (0-2, 5.40 ERA)