What a roller coaster of a game that was! The Cincinnati Reds overcame several base running blunders, turned a triple play, rallied in the 9th inning to tie the game, and won in walk-off fashion in the 10th inning to secure a series win against Cleveland on Saturday evening at Great American Ballpark in Sonny Gray’s 2021 season debut.
|Cincinnati Reds (9-5)||3||10||0|
|W: Doolittle (2-0) L: Perez (0-1)
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
Tucker Barnhart’s solo home run in the 2nd inning put Cincinnati up 1-0. But the offense didn’t get much going from that point forward. And when they did, they made some base running mistakes to take themselves right out of it.
In the 5th inning Joey Votto walked and when Tyler Naquin singled, Votto went to third. But the relay throw got away on the infield and Votto headed for the plate only to be thrown out by at least 10 feet at the plate to end the inning. Two innings later saw Jesse Winker lead off with a double. But he was thrown out, after replay overturned the call, trying to advance to third on a ball that got away from the catcher.
After going quietly in the 8th inning, the Reds offense had one more shot at things with 8-9-1 due up for the 9th inning while trailing 2-1. Tucker Barnhart worked a 3-0 count before it ran back to a full count that led to a ground out to first base to start the inning. Mark Payton came on to pinch hit for Lucas Sims and he also grounded out to first base. That brought Max Schrock to the plate where he was representing the last chance for the Reds. Schrock also grounded, routinely, to first base, but Josh Naylor had the ball go under his glove and into right field with Schrock racing around to second. Nick Senzel came on to pinch run and Jesse Winker came up to the plate and after falling down 0-2 in the count he singled in Senzel to tie the game up. Nick Castellanos followed up with a single of his own into center field and put the winning run in Winker at second.
Joey Votto strolled to the plate and after falling down 0-2 made the weakest contact he’ll ever make on an excuse-me swing that didn’t make it out of the infield grass, but went for an infield single to load the bases. The ball he struck had an exit velocity of 49.2 MPH for those keeping track at home. Eugenio Suárez came up and on the first pitch he lined out to right field to send the game into extras.
After Sean Doolittle kept the game tied in the top of the 10th the Reds sent Tyler Naquin to the plate to lead off the inning with Suárez at second base to begin their half of the inning. He flew out to center field, but Suárez tagged up and moved over to third base with one out. Cleveland intentionally walked Jonathan India to try and set up a lefty-on-left match up with Tucker Barnhart, but David Bell pinch hit with Tyler Stephenson. The move paid off in spades as Stephenson took a high fastball and crushed it to the warning track in right field for a game-winning RBI single.
The return of Sonny Gray went well, thought it didn’t last quite as long as maybe one would have expected. For the most part, Gray looked strong. But he did make a few mistakes on the day. In the 3rd inning Eddie Rosario tripled in a run that tied the game up. In the next inning Andres Gimenez took an 0-2 fastball up in the zone and put it in the seats to put Cleveland up 2-1. Gray would exit the game with one out in the 5th inning and a runner on first, turning over the game to Tejay Antone, who stranded the runner to leave Gray’s final line at 4.1IP, 6 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks (1 IBB), and 6 strikeouts. Antone threw a perfect 6th inning when he came back out as he kept his ERA perfect on the season.
José De León took over for the 7th inning in his first outing from the bullpen of the season and he worked a hitless inning with a walk and two strikeouts. Amir Garrett came on for the 8th inning and in his first appearance in eight days ran into some trouble as he allowed back-to-back singles, with a steal mixed in there to put runners on the corners with no outs in a 1-run game. But a line drive to Joey Votto resulted in a triple play after Votto turned to tag the runner and then tossed to third base after Eddie Rosario broke to the plate believing that Votto didn’t catch the ball on the fly.
Lucas Sims entered the game for the top of the 9th inning and hit the first batter of the inning. He followed up with a strikeout. On the final strike to the next hitter, Andres Gimenez stole second base to put an insurance run for Cleveland on second base with two outs. It was nothing but show as Sims induced a weak ground out to third base to end the inning, sending the game to the bottom of the 9th at 2-1.
After the offense tied things up the Reds turned to Nick Senzel to play third base, Nick Castellanos was replaced in the field by Mark Payton, and Sean Doolittle took over on the mound. This series of moves would seem to indicate that Mike Moustakas was not available to play today. With the new extra-innings rules that began last season and carried forward to 2021, a runner begins the inning on second base. Doolittle induced a grounder to shortstop and a weak fly out to shallow center for the first two outs of the inning. David Bell called for an intentional walk of Jose Ramirez to set up a left-on-left match up against Jake Bauers. Doolittle fired three straight strikes to strand the runner and give the offense a chance to walk it off in the bottom of the inning.
Key Moment of the Game
There were a few plays that felt like the key moment of the game as it was being played out, but when you win with a walk-off hit, that’s the play. Tyler Stephenson’s game-winning single in the bottom of the 10th gets the nod in the win.
With no one on and two outs Josh Naylor allowed a routine ground ball under his glove to extend the bottom of the 9th inning for the Reds, who would put together a game-tying rally to send the game into extra-innings.
Joey Votto turning a triple play with runners on the corners, likely saving at least one run in the 8th inning and keeping the game at a 2-1 score and giving the Reds the chance to tie it up in the next inning and send it into extras.
Notes Worth Noting
Alex Blandino was placed on the injured list prior to the game. Mark Payton joined the team prior to the game.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Cleveland vs Cincinnati Reds
Sunday April 17th, 1:10pm ET
Shane Bieber (1-1, 2.11 ERA) vs Wade Miley (2-0, 0.00 ERA)