Tyler Stephenson’s eighth-inning sacrifice fly completed a Cincinnati Reds comeback for a 6-5 win, their fifth straight over the St. Louis Cardinals, in front of 30,605 fans at Great American Ball Park.
|St. Louis Cardinals (49-49)||5||9||2|
|Cincinnati Reds (50-47)
|W: Brach (1-1) L: Gallegos (5-3) SV: Hembree (7)
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
The victory put a bit of space between the second-place Reds and third-place St. Louis. Cincinnati is now up by 1 1/2 games over the Cardinals. At last check, first-place Milwaukee led the Chicago White Sox, 7-0. If that holds up, the Reds’ deficit will remain at 6 1/2 games.
This was a big win for the never-say-die Reds, who overcame another bullpen cave-in when St. Louis scored three in the sixth inning to take the lead. But the Cardinals’ bullpen showed why they are as vulnerable as Cincinnati’s, allowing the Reds to score two in the seventh and one in the eighth for the win.
Joey Votto and Kyle Farmer led the offense with three hits apiece.
Votto gave Cincinnati the early 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first …
Employee No. 19 working on the weekend?? pic.twitter.com/HMgAfoBZmk
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 23, 2021
which resulted in a significant statistical milestone as Votto passed up Frank Robinson on the all-time Reds RBI list.
Kyle Farmer gave the home team a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer.
The Reds tied it at 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh on leadoff singles by Stephenson and Votto, an RBI double by Eugenio Suarez.
However, Cincinnati ran themselves out of a potential lead when Suarez tried to score from third on a medium-depth fly to right by Aristides Aquino. Rightfielder Dylan Carlson threw out Suarez from here to Findlay Market.
In the bottom of the eighth with the game tied, Farmer led off with his third hit. Pinch-hitter Tucker Barnhart hit a grounder back to pitcher Giovanny Gallegos that looked like a double-play ball, but Gallegos threw the ball low to second, resulting in both runners being safe. A one-out walk to Jesse Winker loaded the bases, and Stephenson gave his team the lead, 6-5, with a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Farmer from third.
In the top of the fifth, starter Tyler Mahle walked the bases loaded with one out, unable to control his secondary pitches. But he came back to strike out Tyler O’Neill and Paul DeJong to get out of the inning and preserve a 3-2 lead. Mahle right now is a decent starting pitcher, but has to figure out how to consistently control his slider and splitter to take the next step. High pitch counts have been his nemesis all year, and tonight was more of the same. With the bases loaded, O’Neill and DeJong had to know fastballs were coming, but they couldn’t hit it. Mahle’s fastball is an out-pitch, but not as often when opposing hitters know they can wait for it.
He was followed in the sixth by righthander Edgar Garcia — four batters, four hits, no outs, three runs. A 3-2 lead turned into a 5-3 deficit. He’s a two-pitch pitcher with a sinker and a slider. The only pitch he seems able to get over is the sinking fastball, and opposing hitters seem to know it and are waiting on it. Unlike Mahle, Garcia does not have an “out” pitch for the major league level.
Tony Santillan was a bullpen bright spot. Entering the game when R.J. Alaniz left with an injury with two men on and nobody out, Santillan struck out the first two he faced and retired the side with no runs scoring. Based on that appearance, he deserves another shot in a meaningful situation.
Brad Brach pitched a shut-down eighth to qualify for the win, and Heath Hembree pitched a dominant ninth for the save. Redleg Nation faithful, don’t look now, but this guy is legit.
Notes Worth Noting
Amir Garrett’s absence this weekend certainly falls into the excused category …
Welcome to the Reds family, Koa Mae Garrett! ?
Congratulations, Amir and Tausana! ??
(? Amir Garrett / Instagram) pic.twitter.com/UMsngMN2NM
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 23, 2021
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds
Saturday, July 24, 7:10 p.m. ET
Jake Woodford (2-1, 4.06 ERA) vs. Luis Castillo (3-10, 4.39 ERA)