Nick Castellanos hit a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Cincinnati Reds their second consecutive walk-off win against the Washington Nationals, 7-6.

Final R H E
Washington Nationals (64-91) 6 11 1
Cincinnati Reds (80-75)
7 11 0
W: Givens (4-3) L: Murphy (0-3)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread


The win maintained the Cardinals’ magic number in the Wild Card race over Cincinnati at 2. That means any combination of two St. Louis wins or Reds losses means the Reds have been eliminated.

The game took three hours, 41 minutes to play at Great American Ball Park and featured 14 pitchers used combined by the two teams. The 14 pitchers threw a combined 323 pitches.

In registering their 80th win, the Reds bettered your author’s pre-season prediction of 79 wins. I’m always glad when they do better than my expectations.

Tonight’s win improves Cincinnati’s September record to 9-13 — clearly not the kind of month that’s going to earn any team a post-season berth. We can all be somewhat thankful that St. Louis’ 15-game winning streak means that we don’t have to do much wondering what might have been if the Reds had even a decent September. The Cardinals have stomped out pretty much all hopes of their competitors, and you have to give them credit for taking charge of a situation that nobody seemed able to capitalize upon.

This month glaringly exposed the Reds’ weaknesses — most notably, their inability to hit lefthanded pitching. The starting pitching, previously the team’s strength, is clearly running on fumes, thanks to the effects of last year’s truncated season and trying to return to a full 162-game slate.

The Offense

In the bottom of the second inning, following a single by Tyler Stephenson and a double by Kyle Farmer, Eugenio Suarez continued his hot September hitting:

That gave the Reds a short-lived 2-1 lead, which disappeared when the Nationals scored three in the top of the third.

A Castellanos sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third brought Cincinnati within 4-3.

Trailing 5-3 entering the bottom of the fifth, the Reds loaded the bases with nobody out on two hits and a walk. Max Schrock brought in one run with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-4, and then with two outs…

Then, wIth the Reds down by a run in the bottom of the seventh …

Then came Castellanos’ 31st homer to send the 18,293 home happy. Castellanos was one of five Reds with two hits. The others were Jonathan India, Farmer, Suarez and T.J. Friedl.

The Pitching

Starting pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez, who has clearly been running out of gas for the past few weeks, lasted two and two-thirds innings, allowing four runs. Two of the runs charged to Gutierrez scored on a two-out, bases-loaded hit by Andrew Stevenson against Tony Santillan. He surrendered a solo homer to Lane Thomas, then retired Alcides Escobar before being relieved by Manager David Bell after a total of two-thirds of an inning.

Cionel Perez pitched a perfect top of the fifth in his return to the bigs. Lucas Sims blanked the Nats in the sixth, then Jeff Hoffman surrendered a solo homer to rookie Washington catcher Keibert Ruiz in the seventh to give the visitors a one-run lead.

Michael Lorenzen blanked the heart of the Washington order in the eighth to preserve a 6-6 tie. Mychal Givens responded to his subpar outing Friday night by retiring the Nats 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth and earned the win.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Washington Nationals at Cincinnati Reds

Sunday, September 26, 1:10 p.m. ET

Tyler Mahle (12-6, 3.66 ERA) vs. Josh Rogers (2-0, 2.16 ERA)

46 Responses

  1. Cyrus

    Maybe now that the pressure is off, the team will finish strong offensively which they will likely need to do with the starters worn out.

    How funny if they end the season 5-2 or 6-1?

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      Finishing 6-1 would be fun. Where do I sign up for that?

  2. LT

    Look like all the usual suspects have left the Reds. Understandable. Let’s win a couple more games to make it a disappointing but winning nonetheless season!

    • 2020ball

      haha i was about to say the same, or sonething about 5 comments anyway. seasons over boys, was an awesome run even if they came up short!

  3. JayTheRed

    Will someone please beat the Cardinals so we don’t have to hear about their streak anymore.

    • Kevin H

      Personally I think the streak is amazing. Good for them as they came out of no where. Baseball is such a amazing game.

      • MFG

        Agree, I hope the Cards run the table and make it to the WS then the Reds can beat the snot out of them next year!

    • Beaufort Red

      I would love to see the Cards win out then get smacked down in the WC game. Respect what they’ve done but still don’t like them. Especially Bader.

    • RedsGettingBetter

      I wonder if they would scheduling Moreta to start on Monday …

  4. TR

    A big question is will Castellanos be walking away after next Sundays game?

    • Jim t

      I hope not but professional sports are a business. Players have a small window to maximize their earning potential which leads me to believe he opts out. If that occurs I have have little faith that ownership takes the steps to retain his services.

      • TR

        Castellanos could return to the Cubs. They also need help.

    • MFG

      He will certainly want more money and deserves it.
      The Reds can always belly up to the bar and pay the man.
      I think NC likes his teammates and likes hitting at GABP.
      He certainly helps us against LH pitching.
      No way we should let him leave!

  5. Jim t

    Sims is really closing out his year strong. He will be back next year. Putting him with Lorenzen. Givens and adding a lefty would go along way in turning our bullpen around. Again bringing those 2 back and adding a lefty is on the front office.

  6. RedsGettingBetter

    The Reds come back to at least 80 wins since 2013… I think Suárez got hot hitting something late… When the most of players look out of gas so Suárez is getting in shape, it’s weird….The bullpen has have a lot of work in last games so it’s interesting how they gonna face tomorrow match with no starter available…Remember the heart of the Reds is still beating

  7. Mark Moore

    I was able to watch the later innings and the Nick blast. I’m at my brother’s house in Virginia and his cable system carries the Nats. Quite the show by some of our guys. A .500 season is within our grasp. Let’s see if we can go on a streak to finish this season.

  8. Redsvol

    Good win by the Reds. The offense has woken back up and several players are closing out the year strong – Castellanos, Farmer and India looking good. I’ve been very impressed with Friedl – kid gets on base. If he was higher in the lineup I think his contributions would be even more noticeable. Gives me hope that the outfield won’t be so barren next year. He could be a solid 4th outfielder. If Nick leaves, I’d love to see us go after Marte to add to our outfield. I think the experiment with Aquino is over.

    I hope Vlad has just hit a wall and not that the league has caught up to him. Bullpen has really had to be used the last few games. Will be interesting to see what they do today and Monday. Unless Hoffman can go several innings we may have to call up blandino just to pitch.

  9. Steve Schoenbaechler

    First, We Won!!! Awesome.

    Now, with how Bell handled our relievers this game, this shows the one thing I don’t like about Bell. It was such a close game, extra innings staring both teams right in the face. Bell used I believe our entire bullpen after 9 innings. Nick doesn’t hit that HR, we are starting directly at using emergency relievers, while the Nationals will be using actual pitchers.

    This is where, just like how many said with Baker, I believe we don’t this game “in spite of” Bell’s actions with the relivers.

    I just wonder how many games Bell costs us because of his use of the pen. I believe it did definitely costs us game. Sure, not so much in running out of relievers. But, in the sense that when we get a reliever have a clean inning, why take them out when everyone knows that the pen is a glaring weakness for us? I mean, I see no advantage with this strategy. If we are blowing the other team away, I see the other team being able to potentially come back because we may stick in a bad reliever. If we are being blown out, we may never be able to get back into the game. If it’s a close game, we may never end up being able to stay in the game OR we may be heading for extra innings with few relievers.

    I’m not necessarily saying we should always expect our relievers to go 2+ innings, like a “long man” or something. For, I can also understand that we want to make sure our relievers get some time, like pitch once every 2-3 games, also. But, games exactly like this one, where our starter gets pulled early, but it’s still a close game, could easily see extra innings coming. The manager needs to be cognizant that we may need relievers for extra innings.

    That’s possibly the only thing I liked about Baker, that he had no problem keeping a reliever in for 2 innings, more only if needed, like having a “long man” in the pen.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      I mean, if one considers the numbers. . .

      A starting rotation may go, on average, 5 innings these days (?). For a 9 inning game and an 8 man bullpen, if each pitches one inning at a time, that means they are going to be pitching in 81 games a season, every single reliever. I don’t believe you want the bad relievers to be pitching this much in a season. And, I believe, for many relievers in general, that’s too many games. 81 innings I could see, but every reliever. And, 81 games, every reliever?

      And, this is “on average”. Some games, the starters aren’t going to be going 5 innings, possibly 2 or more games in a row. Or, the extra inning games. That means at least 1 reliever is going to be used both games, as well as possibly the games before and after these games I described. I’m describing overuse for a reliever because of having to be used several games in a row.

      I can understand, “Just bring up a minor leaguer when we need a break.” I have no problem with that. Those times will come anyhow. But, given Bell’s strategy, I believe those times will be “more likely/more often” to come. It’s not that we want to have to go to the minors. I believe we should want to have to stay away from doing that. What I’m describing, I believe we would be less likely/less often having to do that

      • greenmtred

        You have to consider the actual pitchers available in the pen this year. It is better now, but for a good part of the season, Bell had no real choice and had to have ineffective guys pitch. One inning limits the damage they can do, and limits–but doesn’t eliminate–the fatigue factor for the better pitchers.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        That’s exactly my point. When you know the pen is your weakness, and you have any one of them (good or bad pitcher) have a clean inning, why take them out? You keep them in the game for another inning.

        I mean, if we could rely on any one of them to have a clean inning, then sure, 1 inning at a time, possibly.

        Let’s put it this way. If Farmer just had 2 doubles in 3 innings, and it’s still a close game, would you pull him for Blandino? Of course not! Farmer is going good. Allow him to stay in there.

  10. Hotto4Votto

    Was out last night, and didn’t stay up to finish Friday night because I had to work early. But good to see the Reds have continued to fight, as they have all season. Regardless of the poor finishing month, it’ll be good to see a winning record.
    Farmer has rebounded to have a strong September, after seeing his OPS drop to about .700 (which I consider the mendoza line for OPS) he’s boosted it up with some strong performances of late. Good for him as he’ll end up with a decent overall season. As I’ve said many times, he’s easy to root for. I could see him excelling at a utility role next season where he plays regularly around the infield and possibly LF. He’d help against lefties for sure.
    Gutierrez has run out of gas, but hopefully that won’t taint the strides he’s made this season. This season was always going to be long for many players after last year’s truncated season. I would imagine the toll is especially high for pitchers, and possibly even higher for rookie pitchers who wouldn’t have pitched much in September in any minor league season.
    Some pieces to be excited about in the near future. Some reasons to frustrated (mostly with FO/ownership). Hopefully they’ll have a much much better offseason this winter.

    • Doc

      Why haven’t the other teams’ pitchers run out of gas? Cardinal staff seems to be doing well.

      People want to blame it on throwing harder, so why does Miley run out of gas?

      If throwing hard causes one to run out of gas, how did Nolan Ryan AVERAGE more than 300 innings annually for 10+ years straight?

      I believe the answers have a lot more to do with contracts, caution, five man rotations and probably a lot of other things than long season and throwing hard.

  11. Grand Salami

    I think this team can have a near .500 record for September which obviously wasn’t enough to get it done but I can’t call it meaningless.

    They aren’t mathematically eliminated and they look like they are giving it their best.

    Bell should have shut Gutierrez down last start. He will get injured.

    • Tomn

      “Bell should have shut Gutierrez down last start. He will get injured.”

      + 10000

  12. Beaufort Red

    I was a huge critic of Suarez but I wonder now if we should have just stuck with him. Moustakis gave us absolutely nothing and actually hurt us defensively. With Suarez you never know a players psyche and what flips the their switch. Just wondering , even if Moose loses weight and gets in shape what do we do? Suarez will be our 3rd baseman next year unless he’s traded. Don’t see it. Moose has no value. I’ve always said the difference between large market teams ( large payroll) and small market teams ( smaller payroll) is two fold. Naturally the large can spend more money for free agents and more lucrative contracts. I think more importantly, they can afford to swallow bad contracts and cut bait and release the player or make a less than desirable trade and.pick up most of the remaining contract. Disappointed in what could have been a magical season but overall enjoyed a fun season. Would be nice to win at least 85 games.

  13. Bet on Red

    wow, the SD Padres were eliminated last night. We all are disapointed about the reds but the fact we out lasted them should not be sneezed at. The reds goa oviously should be WC 2 but if not. Be the last NL team eliminated. Prove that if not for the STL (i still swear they are cheating somehow) 15 game winning streak fluke, it would have been us

  14. Doc4uk

    Moustakis will be DH next season against RH and likely Aquino against LH unless we find someone to replace him.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I know there will be some who disagree, but relying on Aquino in 2022 would be a mistake. I don’t need to see any more.

      • TR

        Aquino has had his chance. The Reds should move on.

    • Steven Ross

      Correct me if wrong but Moose has $16m due next year, $18 mil the following year then either we pick up $20 mil or exercise a $4 mil buyout. In other words, we’re stuck with him unless someone picks up part of his salary. Fat chance.

      I would flat out tell him to loose 20 pounds. He’s at the age now where injuries are more frequent and he takes longer to return. Drop the weight. It will help.

  15. Tampa Red

    Question for the board:

    Will all of three relievers added at the trade deadline, Wilson, Givens and Cessa, be free agents at the end of the year?

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Wilson’s contract has a $2.3 million player option, $7.15 million club option or $1.15 million buyout for 2022. Spotrac says If 2022 player option is declined, it converts to a $7.15M club option ($1.15M buyout). If 2022 player option is exercised, a 2023 club option kicks in at the MLB Minimum Salary + $500,000. I would think Wilson would take the $2.3 million option.

      Givens will be a free agent.

      Reds have Cessa under contract control for two more years. That looks like a great trade if he continues on the track he is now.

      • Jim Walker

        Glad you made it through the chain of precedence on all those options. Every time I’ve started. I’ve run out of mental energy in the middle of it. 😉

        If this is the correct precedence, it seems Wilson would take the $2.3M especially with the labor uncertainty about what comes after the settlement. Although, I suppose if a person was a real pessimist about the CBA and at a point where they might be ready to get on with the rest of their life (Wilson is 34 and has made ~$23m in salary thru 2021), they might just force the club to fork over the $1.15M buyout and be done with it.

  16. Doc4uk

    Moreta, Sims, Perez, Cessa, Garret, Hoffman, Santillan, and one free agent pick up likely our bullpen in 2022. Don’t see them keeping Lorenzen or Givens at this point. Castellanos and Barnhart also likely gone. Not sure about Miley Depends on whether they think Lodolo and Greene or SanMartin are ready and if they are committed to Gutierrez. If they are then Castillo and Gray and Mahle plus two of the above. Take the ten million owed to Miley and the seven million owed to Barnhart and invest in a good replacement for Castellanos if will not take an extension of three years at 22 million .

    • Chris Holbert

      I am not 100% sure Greene or Lodolo will be in the rotation at the beginning of the year. Lodolo did not pitch that much, had injuries, and was average at AAA, and Greene was good, but not quite MLB ready

      • Doc

        Agree. I said the same thing a week ago when folks were calling for these two to be called up, despite Greene having been shut down for the year and Lodolo having only thrown about 70 professional innings total over the last two years.

    • Bob Purkey

      If you don’t keep Miley, he will probably sign with another NL team and as a LHP will beat the Reds 4 times next year!

    • Jim Walker

      I think they keep Miley or at least roll the option with the intent of keeping him unless somebody makes a crazy otherworldly trade offer for him. However, his personal catcher is probably going to have to work for (much) less or move on.

      On the other hand, that $17M+ due to the two above in 2022 might be enough to add onto Castellanos salary to keep him around 2 more years.

    • Tampa Red

      It’s not my money but if it was, NO WAY I let a durable, decent hitting, Gold Glove catcher walk over $7.5 million, nor do I let Wade Miley walk over $10 million.

      • Jim Walker

        Barnhart’s former tandem mate, Curt Casali, after being non-tendered by the Reds signed for $1.5M with the Giants to be Buster Posey’s backup this season. That’s the scope of the job open with the Reds next season.
        Having seen Barnhart and Casali work side by side for ~2 seasons, there is no logical way Barnhart is worth $5M+ more than Casali for a single season.

      • Old-school

        Reds need 2 capable catchers and with the DH presumably coming, Stephenson and Barnhart make a good tandem. The DH gives Stephenson a chance to hit in 150 games and and play some first base with Votto grabbing some DH time too. Ideally , you sign Tucker to a 2 year $ 6 million contract and a catching tandem combined at under $ 4 million AAV is solid. Injuries happen so need (2) everyday catchers and Stephensons bat and the DH give the Reds insurance a and way to keep both.

        Every team needs a strike throwing lefty that keeps opposing teams off-balance after facing Castillo and mahle. That said, Alex Wood was a 1 year solid option in 2019 that blew up at $9 million and never pitched due to injury. Miley is finishing the season on the IL and spent 2020 injured as well. I dont see the Reds risking $10 million.

        Prediction is the Reds dont pick up either option but try to find a way to keep Tucker on a 2 year AAV friendly deal. What else are they going to do during rain delays if they cant show Tucker cooking in the kitchen?

        Reds were willing to non-tender Archie Brady and not pay him $6 million despite trading for him for just 4 weeks of roster use , a handful of appearances and losing 2 prospects. They also gave away Iglesias to cut payroll. Reds are cutting salary anywhere and everywhere.

      • Jim Walker

        OS> A good look at the situation but it needs to come with an unmistakable acknowledgement that Stephenson is option 1A/1B and TB is option 2.

        The biggest issue with keeping Barnhart as the backup catcher is the Reds are deep in LH hitting DH options (Winker, Votto, Moose) which means the best opportunity to use TS as a DH will be versus LH pitching. And do they want the LH hitting Barnhart taking plate appearances vs LH pitching?

        Stephenson appears to be handedness neutral at the plate which given the overall LH hitting bias of the team, it might make more sense to have a RH hitting backup catcher.

      • Redsvol

        Tampa – all due respect, but if it was your money, you would definitely let TB walk over 7.5M$, As Jim said, we could have someone of Casali’s capability for 6M$ less. I love Tucker but he’s not a big enough difference maker to justify his option. Hopefully they come to an agreement on an extension for 2-3M$ per year.