Sonny Gray put together an outstanding start once again, and while it took a while the Reds offense finally put some runs on the board for him as Cincinnati took a 5-2 win over the Kansas City Royals with late-inning damage to take the series. Next up is a 1st-half ending series against 1st place Milwaukee.
|Cincinnati Reds (45-41)
|Kansas City Royals (36-50)
|W: Gray (2-4) L: Barlow (2-3) SV: Hembree (4)
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
Cincinnati’s offense was rather quiet through the first three innings of the game. In the top of the 4th they tried to get something going when Joey Votto had an infield single off of pitcher Brady Singer and then Tyler Naquin was hit by a pitch to put two men on and just one out, but a pop out by Eugenio Suárez and a line out by Tucker Barnhart ended the Reds threat without a runner coming across the plate.
The Royals took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 4th to put the offense in the hole with Sonny Gray on the mound once again. Jonathan India singled in the top of the 5th, but that was all there was. In the 6th inning Tyler Stephenson was hit by a pitch to begin the inning but he was erased on a double play that followed. Tyler Naquin then singled, but a fly out ended the inning with the Royals still up and the Reds still scoreless.
Tucker Barnhart led off the 7th inning with a single and with that he also ran Brady Singer from the game. The winds seemed to shift right then and there. Shogo Akiyama followed with a single off of reliever Scott Barlow to put two on for Mike Freeman. He came through with a single of his own, plating Barnhart and making it a 2-1 game. Jonathan India then came through with him umpteenth clutch hit of the year as he drove in two runs with a double to the left field wall and gave Cincinnati a 3-2 lead. India would be stranded there, but the Reds held a lead with the grounds crew on standby as a storm seemed close to rolling into Kansas City.
After a rain delay, the teams got back on the field with the Reds holding a 3-2 lead and heading into the top of the 8th. Cincinnati played add on in the inning with doubles by Eugenio Suárez and Shogo Akiyama led to a 4-2 lead. In the top of the 9th inning they would add to their lead again. Jonathan India led off with a single and moved to third base on a single by Tyler Stephenson with one out. After Joey Votto was caught looking at strike three the Reds broke through with the hit they needed as Tyler Naquin singled into left field to make it 5-2.
Sonny Gray worked around a single in both the first and second innings. In the 3rd inning he ran into trouble after back-to-back singles put runners on the corners to start the inning. He got a pop up from Whit Merrifield for the first out. Tucker Barnhart got in on the action and picked off Michael A. Taylor at third base to provide some wiggle room, if needed, for Gray with two outs. He didn’t need it as Andrew Benintendi struck out to end the threat and keep the game scoreless.
Things didn’t go as well in the 4th after a 1-out single and a walk put two men on. An error by Jonathan India brought in the Royals first run of the game. Back-to-back singles followed to bring in another run to make it 2-0. A walk followed to load the bases, but Sonny Gray got Whit Merrifield to pop up once again with this one ending the inning and keeping the score at 2-0.
Gray settled in from there, getting 1-2-3 innings in both the 5th and 6th innings. And in the top of the 7th the Reds finally, amazingly, put some runs on the board while the right-hander was still in the game. We didn’t consult Elias, but we’re pretty sure it’s the first time since the John Quincy Adams administration that’s happened.
The offense scored three runs in the top of the 7th inning and gave Sonny Gray a lead to work with. All he did with that was strike out all three batters he faced, and it didn’t happen a second too soon. As soon as the inning was over the grounds crew rolled out the tarp as rain came into Kansas City.
After the rain delay it was Josh Osich taking over for the 8th inning. He retired the first two hitters of the inning, but then walked Carlos Santana. With Hanser Alberto coming up, David Bell went to the mound and brought in Art Warren. Alberto took advantage of the defense and laid down a bunt single to the open third-base side of the infield to put two men on with two outs. Jorge Soler battled and earned a 7-pitch walk to load the bases. That sent Tucker Barnhart out to the mound to discuss how to go about facing Hunter Dozier. Whatever they discussed both worked and didn’t. Dozier hit the ball 373 feet, but he needed about 380 to get it over the wall and Jesse Winker caught it about midway on the warning track in left field to keep the Reds ahead 4-2.
Heath Hembree, now with the Reds leading 5-2, came out for the bottom of the 9th inning. He struck out Michael A. Taylor to start the inning. Nicky Lopez followed up with a lazy fly ball into left for the second out of the game. A ground out to shortstop ended the game as the Reds won 5-2 and took the series over the Royals.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds vs Milwaukee Brewers
Thursday July 8th, 8:10pm ET
Tyler Mahle (7-3, 3.63 ERA) vs Adrian Houser (5-5, 3.94 ERA)