It wasn’t announced, but the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs played home run derby on Sunday afternoon at Great American Ball Park. Or at least it felt that way. The two teams combined for 25 runs and 10 homers, but it was a walk-off single by Nick Castellanos – his 5th hit of the game – that kept the Cubs in last place.

Final R H E
Chicago Cubs (12-16) 12 14 2
Cincinnati Reds (13-14) 13 16 0
W: Hendrix (2-0) L: Kimbrel (0-1)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Offense

It was home run derby at Great American Ballpark on Sunday afternoon, but it didn’t begin that way. Joey Votto singled in a run in the 1st inning to tie the game up and then a Mike Moustakas double play led to the go-ahead run to make it 2-1.

After the Cubs took a 4-2 lead in the top of the 3rd inning thanks to two home runs, the Reds offense went to work with some home runs of their own. Nick Blastellanos Castellanos hit a 2-run homer to tie the game up. After a ground out Cincinnati got back-to-back home runs from Mike Moustakas and Eugenio Suárez to take a 6-4 lead.

After the Cubs tied the game up in the top of the 6th the Reds offense went back to work, but also got a little bit of help from the Chicago pitching staff. Jesse Winker was hit by a pitch to put two runners on. Nick Castellanos singled to load the bases and Mike Moustakas was hit by a pitch to put the Reds ahead. Cincinnati then added two more runs when Eugenio Suárez singled – picking up his 3rd hit of the day.

On a day when the baseball was exploding off of the bat of nearly everyone, the Cincinnati offense had to go back to work in the 8th after the Cubs scored two more runs to make it a 1-run game. Nick Senzel led off with an infield hit and Tucker Barnhart crushed a 3-1 pitch into the right field stands to make it 11-8. Later in the inning Nick Castellanos crushed his second homer of the game – his 9th home run of the season – to make it 12-8 and give the team a small amount of breathing room.

After yet another wild inning that saw the Cubs tie the game up at 12-12, Mike Moustakas led off the bottom of the 8th inning with a double. After a strikeout, Tyler Stephenson came on as a pinch hitter for Tejay Antone. He hit a shallow fly ball to center that was caught, but Ian Happ and Nico Hoerner collided, leaving Happ on the ground after taking a knee to the midsection/ribs. They had to bring out a cart to take him off of the field after he struggled to stand up on his own. The ball was caught for the second out of the inning, and a strikeout followed to send the game to the 9th all tied up.

Cincinnati needed just one run in the bottom of the 9th to win the game. They didn’t get it as the Reds went 1-2-3 and watched the game go to extra-innings tied at 12-12. The Cubs were held scoreless in the top of the frame. That meant Craig Kimbrel coming in to face Nick Castellanos to start the bottom of the inning with Jesse Winker at second base as the “leadoff runner”. A passed ball moved Winker up to third base and the Cubs brought in an outfielder to set up a 5-man infield. It didn’t matter as Castellanos picked up his 5th hit of the day and his 4th RBI of the day with a walk-off single.

The Pitching

Tyler Mahle gave up back-to-back doubles on the first two pitches of the game and Chicago grabbed an early 1-0 lead. They would add another run in the 2nd inning. In the 3rd inning the Cubs hit two solo home runs to take a 4-2 lead. After an offensive explosion gave Mahle and the Reds a 6-4 lead he didn’t hold onto it for very long. While he tossed a shutout 4th inning the Cubs scored a run in the 5th, and then after allowing a leadoff double in the 6th the Reds made a pitching change and sean Doolittle came on, but allowed a run to score to tie the game up. It was the 7th inherited runner that Doolittle has allowed to score this season (out of 9 inherited runners).

Lucas Sim, now looking at a 9-6 lead thanks to another big inning by the Reds bats, came on for the top of the 7th inning. The home run derby continued on the day as Javier Báez hit a 2-run homer to cut the Reds lead down to 9-8. That was all she wrote on the day for Sims as the game was turned over to Tejay Antone with two outs in the top of the 7th inning. He needed just two pitches to get Anthony Rizzo to ground out and end the inning.

When Antone returned to the mound to begin the 8th inning he had a 12-8 lead to work with. He needed it, too. Antone walked the first batter of the inning, but got a force out and a line out to follow. The righty walked a second batter of the inning and then gave up an RBI single that made it a 12-9 game. It was just the second earned run of the season against Antone this year. Derek Johnson came out to the mound to talk with the reliever, but whatever he said didn’t work. Ian Happ hit a game tying 3-run homer. It was the 10th home run hit during the game.

With the game tied up at 12-12 the Reds called on Heath Hembree to try and keep the score there in the top of the 9th. The game remained tied and went to extras, bringing Amir Garrett to the mound to begin the 10th. He struck out Jason Heyward to begin the inning and then intentionally walked Nico Hoerner to get to lefty Tony Wolters with the pitchers spot due up to follow and the Cubs out of position players. The plan worked for the time as Garrett struck out Wolters. Manager David Bell then turned to Ryan Hendrix to face pinch hitter Jake Arrieta with runners on 2nd and 3rd and two outs. It took five pitches but Hendrix got a strikeout to end the inning.

Key Moment of the Game

The bottom of the 10th inning with a runner on third base Nick Castellanos came through with a walk-off single.

Notes Worth Noting

During the game the Cincinnati Reds claimed right-handed pitcher Ashton Goudeau from the Colorado Rockies and designated left-handed pitcher Phillip Diehl for assignment.

The Cubs are still in last place.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Chicago White Sox vs Cincinnati Reds

Tuesday May 4th, 6:40pm ET

Dylan Cease (1-0, 2.96 ERA) vs JeffHoffman (2-1, 3.33 ERA)

53 Responses

  1. Melvin

    Now let’s be consistent and string some wins together.

    • MuddyCleats

      Agree! Hard to understand all the BP blow ups; there is really NO one to trust late. IMO, I’d go w/ Doolittle simply bc he has the experience – more Closer mental makeup than most? Likewise, I wonder if using an opener philosophy like Tampa Bay, at least for a little while, might help some of the guys get on track?


    Reds need to really pursue signing Nicholas C. to long term or semi long term contract. Redleg nation has been talking over and over again for a big bat in the outfield ever since Ryan Ludwick left. I can remember each year when Ryan Ludwick left, always seeing “Reds need a big bat in the outfield” over and over again here in the comments from myself and others, as the Reds struggled to hit and get the big hit it needed to score runs and win games. Reds finally have that with Nicholas C. So…they need to do there part and sign him for the next 3-5 years!

    • JB

      Castellanos is signed through the 2024 season. He has an opt out after this year if he doesnt take it then he is tied into the Reds until the end of 2024. He will be 33 by then.

  3. Corky Miller

    Glad Reds won, but absolutely hate the California rules in extra innings. Kimbrel took the loss for what was a leadoff single.

      • RojoBenjy

        I mean I don’t like it either but it’s “fair”—maybe

    • CI3J

      Honestly, after initially being opposed, I’ve come to like it. It greatly reduces the possibility of burning out your bullpen and players in a 16 inning game which ultimately is just one of the 162. If you want to win the game, keep the runner at second. Fail to do that, and you likely lose.

      Yes, Kimbrel lost on a single, but the same could have happened if Winker had hit a leadoff double, and Kimbrel had been brought in at that point. He still would have lost on a single.

      • Mike

        I agree with you .. It’s fair and this is the entertainment business in 2021 and MLB is in competition with other sports and activities for a younger generation audience . An potential 18 inning game with six more pitching changes perhaps making for a 5.5 hour “game” is no longer entertainment . Yesterday’s game was already a 4 hour affair.

      • RojoBenjy

        RE: avoiding burning up all the pitchers–i’d be in favor of invoking it in the top of the 12th if still tied. Give everyone two tries the old fashioned way

  4. Klugo

    How good has Tucker Barnhart been??! The C spot, thought to be a weak link in the lineup by many, myself included, has absolutely delivered so far.
    Keep winning series.

  5. VaRedsFan

    The move of the game was when Bell pulled AG for Hendrix to face Arrieta.

    • RojoBenjy

      You called it in the game thread too

  6. Sliotar

    Used to be …. in the old, old days … there was an old baseball saw … “Who you are after 40 games is who you are going to be for the season.”

    Today – Reds are 1/6th of the way into the season, 27 games, and this feels, IMO, like what they were projected to be, and what they will be.

    Home: 9-6, 1st in wRC+ 134
    Road: 4-8, Last in wRC+ 66

    For me, when Suarez can string a a few days half as good as today … away from Coors Field East … then he’s “fixed.”

    Beating the Cubs in a series is great.

    Get some of the road numbers/records up near average … and this team could win this division, maybe with a couple of days to spare.

    • Old-school

      @ sliotar

      Reds road trip coming up with 7 games-at Pirates and Coors field

      That road trip should tell a lot

      Reds in 2010 and 2012 crushed bad teams

      Nl central cubs pirates and then astros

    • Dennis Westrick

      Johnny Bench was once asked what it takes to win a division. He said play .700 at home and .500 on the road. In a 162 game season that equates to 97 wins which should be more than enough to win the weak NL Central

      • jazzmanbbfan

        I would say 97 is definitely more than enough. I’m guessing subtracting 10 (87 wins) will take the Central this year.

    • greenmtred

      It’s early days yet, but the Reds are one of the elite offensive teams of the young season. And the Reds are a game under .500. I guess it’s possible that some of the underperforming bullpen guys will start to pitch well, and it’s likely that Gray and Castillo will get better, but right now the team looks too one-dimensional to be a legit contender. It seems a shame to waste all of this hitting in the name of an austerity budget.

  7. Redsfan4life

    Doug, Any Idea if they maybe looking at Shane Greene?

  8. Jefferson J Reed

    Not really a well played game but Reds squeak by with another series win. A big day for Castellanos. Three hits for Suarez. Not a good day for our favorite, Tejay Antone. The Hembree/Hendrix relief duo are getting it done.

    • RojoBenjy

      A huge day for Suárez

      But we need to see this (or as was stated above even half of this) more consistently if the Reds are to keep playing him and expect to win (says Captain Obvious)

  9. James K

    When it’s bottom of the tenth, tied game, automatic runner on second base, unless the batter is an easy out, shouldn’t the strategy be to walk him intentionally? That would set up the possibility of either a double play or a force-out at third, and it costs nothing, as losing by two is no worse than losing by one. I admit the small risk that the pitcher then walks the next two batters also, but that is a small price to pay.

    • Amarillo

      Yes, that was just outright bad by the Cubs. They don’t care about the runner on 1st, so it should have been an instant IBB to set up force plays.

    • Jim Walker

      Teams still don’t understand the dynamics of the guy on second to start the inning.
      Look at all the home teams that have gone crazy trying to stop the 1st run and imploded. Has happened not just to the Reds but to Dodgers and others.

      And I think you are probably right that in the traditional extra inning format, if the home team doubled to start an extra inning in a tie game depending on the match up, as often as not the visitors would walk the next man up to set forces plays all around except at home.

      Their other strong option would be to go for a K on the 2nd batter if he was considered a strong option to K. That’s likely how Ross saw Castelanos vs. Kimbrel working best for his team. If he gets an out of any kind on Castellanos then he almost certainly walks Votto and also even Moose if the out made by Castellanos advanced the winning run to 3B.

      I believe one of the more interesting things to watch as this season unfolds will be the evolution of extra inning strategy for both the home and road team on both offense and defense.

      • 2020ball

        Id personally prefer a guy on 1st to start an inning.

      • Jimbo44CN

        I also think runner on 1st to start is a better idea.

      • RojoBenjy

        Or if the runner starts on 2nd, then there should be one out


    Got it. Thanks JB. Didn’t know that. Lets hope Nicholas C. does not opt out, and stays with the Reds at least 2-3 years.

    • Redsfan4life

      Reds will have to pony up a bunch of money if they wanna keep Nick. He keeps playing like this he is 100% opting out. Who would blame him?

      • MBS

        I hope he doesn’t opt out, but if Castellanos does opts out, I wouldn’t augment his remaining contract with more $. The outfield is deep, I’d spend that money on a SS. There will be some good FA SS this off season. We should have the DH, so there’s Votto’s Spot, move Moose to 1B, and Suarez back to 3B.

      • CP

        The best case scenario is Nick C. makes his contract completely unaffordable the way Bauer did. That said, let’s not forget he is historically streaky much like Jay Bruce.

      • Jim Walker

        The Reds could actually be proactive for a change. Offer now to buy out his walkaway and increase the salary in the remaining years. Make it an Average Annual value of $20-22M (including this year which is $14m). That would amount to about $15-20M additional for 2021-23 which might be enough to dissuade him from trying the market in October.

      • Melvin

        I wouldn’t count on the opt out no matter how good he does. It’s a gamble. That’s a lot of money he’s already guaranteed.

      • 2020ball

        If he continues anywhere near his current pace, he opting out 100%.

      • Rex

        IMO if he keeps mashing the ball, he will get 7 years 200 mil from someone, not sure the REDS would do that or even should

  11. Jimbo44CN

    Am I mistaken or was Suarez using a different bat. Pretty sure as it was black and his others all year have been natural colored. Looked a bit smaller than his usual lumber. Just wondering as I have said before he needed something a little less like a phone pole.

    • RojoBenjy

      Someone at RLN research room get on this–it would be a cool story.

      Although different color doesn’t mean that the size, shape, etc is different–only the paint job. But if Jobu likes this paint job and smiles on Suarez, then Suarez should keep it!

      • MuddyCleats

        Nice to see Suarez bounce back w/ multi hit performance. I did notice every ball was pulled which I think is a BIG part of his problem. Normally a good hitter will attempts to “stay back” and have a back side (Opposite Field) approach when things R going bad. This allows them to see the ball longer and not over commit. Suarez doesn’t appear to have a 2 strike approach to help him get out of slumps and pulling off the ball? Unfortunately, not many of the Reds do

  12. Old-school

    Reds took 2/3 @ Chavez Ravine from the defending champions and took 2/3 from the NL central rival Cubs

    On to the white sox
    Lets go reds!

  13. Mark Moore

    Heart racing, BP raising, shouting at the screen kind of game … but we pulled off the W, beat the Stupid Cubs doing it, and continued Kimbrel’s personal nightmare that is pitching at GABP. I’m good with all that.

  14. Indy Red Man

    NL Central is showing a definite pecking order.

    1 or 2 : Brewers/Cards. Milw probably better if they were healthy
    3. Reds
    4. Cubs
    5. Pirates

    Its about what most people thought so far. The Reds probably have the best lineup, but it doesn’t translate on the road and their 5 inning starters/bullpen are killing us.
    I think gabp gets in the pitchers heads too. Mahle has a great changeup, but won’t throw it. Antone has a 4 run lead in the 8th and he’s nibbling. IDK? I don’t see it being fixable as currently constructed. Maybe they go out and try to get a Jose Urena? He’ll be 30 this year and Detroit is always rebuilding. Adding 1-2 key guys might start a trickle down effect.

  15. MK

    Tucker played a little lazy on the steal attempt mp at home. Doesn’t give the runner a look then rainbows a toss back to the pitcher. If the lead foot on the slide is 3inches lower or earlier he is safe.

    • RojoBenjy

      That was a terrible play. The “attempt” at tagging him was even sadder. I lost my happiness on that one

    • Jim Walker

      Despite TB’s credentials (2GG) and reputation, there are a lot of little things in his game that I’m not sure measure up to being the lead catcher on a contending team. They are things that largely go unnoticed on teams as bad as the Reds were from 2014-2019, his first six years in MLB because the team was going to lose a lot of games regardless of his play.

      By the end of last year’s abbreviated season, Casali had all but replaced Barnhart as the 1A in a tandem of almost equals. The ~$5M in sunken cost owed to TB this year may have very well been the deciding factor in which catcher the Reds kept over the off season given the pandemic induced economic uncertainties.

  16. JB WV

    So glad it was a win but…Garrett refused to look back at the runner on second and the Cubs took advantage of it with a double steal with one out. His act is getting a little tiresome. Lots of bravado but few positive results. Less talking and more concentration please, Garrett.

  17. RojoBenjy

    Hey–the Phillies have a wretched bullpen too i just noticed

    So there’s that also

  18. Dennis Westrick

    Despite the implosion (again) by the Reds bullpen, this game should have been won in the bottom of the 8th inning! Moose led off with a double. This is where the current Reds either don’t understand or cannot execute the age-old concept of advancing a runner to third base. There are 13 ways to score a runner from third with less than 2 outs. Hit behind the runner on second base to advance him to third or, as much as I detest it, bunt him over to third. Basic baseball fundamentals that seem ignored by the current manager and the younger player!

    • Melvin

      Yep. Have to able to play small ball too to win consistently.

    • Roger Garrett

      I share that concern.Just put the ball in play and make the other team do something.Reds seem to homer or walk or strikeout.Its a team game.Point is Doolittle came in to face Heyward and a ground ball to the pull side moved a runner to third.Didn’t help him at all offensively but it helped the team.Strikeouts do nothing to help the team.I know its an old guy talking about how the game used to be played.Lots of money to be made now and at contract time it has to be all about stats but teams win titles and not individuals.I hear players want to win and I have no clue about hitting but come on are the pitchers really that far ahead of the hitters.Its almost like hitters say to heck with it and never try anything other then swing and swing hard.

  19. RedsGettingBetter

    Hembree and Hendrix doing a nice job as replacements of Bedrosian and Pérez. They have pitched 8.2 no-no total innings in relieving with 5 walks and 12 Struckouts..

    • RojoBenjy

      Good point that is a bright spot!

  20. DataDumpster

    “The Reds have the lineup but it doesn’t translate to the road.” Nice observation, that about sums it up. The games at GABP are good for the Reds but also show the weakness of the team. They feel very confident they can bash the ball around to erase a deficit like a game of pinball while David Bell’s part is the stuck flipper that flails with double hits (lest the bullpen implode).
    It has been so noted that several teams have recently taken a bullpen, speed, and defense approach to much improved results in recent years. This idea isn’t novel although it wasn’t well thought of here in 1971. The current Reds management seemingly paid no attention to these ideas and basic fundamentals for years now and that may be the difference. This year’s squad has certainly improved in certain ways and offers more potential than previous seasons; but a little different approach, a smart trade or two, and less mindless cheerleading seems needed to rise above 3rd place.