The Cincinnati Reds are in must-win mode as a loss today would have eliminated them from playoff contention. They wasted very little time getting to work and two Joey Votto home runs backed a good start for Reiver Sanmartin in his Major League debut as the Reds beat the Pirates by nearly the same amount as the Bengals beat the Steelers yesterday, winning 13-1 as they pounded out 17 hits on the day. The win guarantees a winning season for Cincinnati as they moved to 82-75 on the year.

Final R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates (58-98) 1 6 2
Cincinnati Reds (82-75) 13 17 0
W: Sanmartin (1-0) L: Overton (0-1)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Offense

It turns out that the third time is the charm. Or at least that’s how it worked out for the Reds against Pirates starter Connor Overton, who had faced Cincinnati twice in the last two weeks and had kept them off of the board for 4.0 combined innings. The Reds went to work early. Jonathan India singled to lead off the bottom of the 1st and Max Schrock doubled to put two on for Nick Castellanos. He followed up with a sacrifice fly to put Cincinnati up 1-0. Joey Votto followed up with his 34th home run of the season to make it 3-0. Singles from Eugenio Suárez, Delino DeShields, and Tucker Barnhart then made it 4-0.

Three innings later it was more of the same, but this time against reliever Cody Ponce. Jonathan India doubled to lead off the inning and moved to third on an error. India scored on another sacrifice fly from Nick Castellanos. Joey Votto followed up with another 2-run homer, this one nearly leaving the stadium as it landed a few rows from the top of the stadium in right-center. Hawkeye estimated it at 466 feet. Eugenio Suárez followed up with his 29th homer of the year and it was 8-0 before the Pirates had a chance to react.

Cincinnati wasn’t close to being finished, yet. In the 6th inning they got some more help from the Pirates as another error led to Jonathan India reaching base to lead off the inning. After Max Schrock singled it was time for Nick Castellanos to do some more damage. The Reds right fielder picked up RBI 3, 4, and 5 with a 3-run homer to center – his 33rd homer of the season – making it an 11-1 game. In the next inning Jose Barrero was hit by a pitch and Jonathan India didn’t appreciate it, so he hit a baseball 440 feet into left field to make it 13-1.

The Pitching

Reiver Sanmartin was making his big league debut today. You never really know how that’s going to work out until the guy gets out there and actually does it. And for Sanmartin, it went quite well. At least for a while. The lefty held the Pirates off of the board through four innings, but Pittsburgh got on the board in the 5th after Anthony Alford doubled to lead off the inning and later scored on a wild pitch.

Cincinnati’s offense gave manager David Bell plenty of leeway in letting Sanmartin go. In the 6th inning the Pirates got a leadoff single, but Wilmer Difo was erased on a ground ball double play. But Pittsburgh then got a single, double, and a walk against the lefty to load the bases in an 8-1 game. That was enough for Bell to see and he went to the bullpen to bring on Art Warren. He got the job done, striking out Anthony Alford to end the inning and strand the bases loaded. That put a final stamp on Sanmartin’s line in his debut: 5.2IP, 5 hits, 1 earned run, 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts.

With an 11-1 lead, Justin Wilson took the mound for the Reds in the 7th inning and tossed a hitless inning. Cionel Pérez took over in the 8th and the lefty took care of business as he fired out a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts. Dauri Moreta took over for the 9th inning with a 13-1 lead and had plans on keeping it there.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds vs Chicago White Sox

Tuesday September 28th, 8:10pm ET

Riley O’Brien (MLB Debut) vs Reynaldo Lopez (3-3, 3.16 ERA)

59 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    Just checked back in after mowing the yard. Watched the video of RoY pounding that one out. 4-hit day for him … that’s the way to finish strong.

    Nice win, guys!!

  2. CI3J

    Too bad they couldn’t have spread some of these 13 runs around to those other games they played the Pirates.

    The Reds are realistically eliminated as of now. Truly sad how a team which had two viable MVP candidates (Casty and Winker) as well as two viable ROY candidates (India and Stephenson) and was 12 games over .500 a little over a month ago could somehow still miss the playoffs. David Bell got extremely lucky in that he was forced to play India due to injuries, and that Casty and Winker had career years to keep his team afloat despite his baffling decisions on playing time/bullpen/pinch-hitting.

    The Reds have a winning record now despite Bell, not because of him. This is the most talented team the Reds have fielded in a decade. It’s really a shame that they don’t have a better manager who can get the most out of this talent. The Reds honestly should have been a playoff team.

    • Kevin H

      He had no bullpen to use. Bell used who was down there. That’s on upper management. Also who could of seen the Cardinals win 16 in a row. 16…. The decade just started and they have now 2 winning seasons. From 2010-2020. The best team was 2012. Enjoy the ride man.

      • VaRedsFan

        True and not true. When Hembre and Company were going good for about a month, He would use the Garretts, Dolittles, and other gas cans in close games, only to put it out of reach…ONLY to have the better relievers come in anyway AFTER the horses were out of the barn. He did it twice when the pen was in good shape after Brach came back and blew 2 games, when Cessa was the guy to go to. Cessa came in after the games were blown

    • RedsFanInFL

      Last 3 games not included – reds went 7-16 during their slump. 10 of those loses came against Cubs, Pirates, Nationals and Tigers. If Reds win 5 of those 10 games (and go 12-11) Reds are only 1/2 game behind the Cardinals. We have a real playoff race and a meaningful last week of baseball. Something Reds fanshaven’t experienced in awhile

    • TR

      The Reds took the season series from the Cards, then they went on a franchise win streak with the Reds losing 8 straight series. Too much to overcome but it looks like the Reds will finish with a winning record.

    • Hotto4Votto

      Well, if they had two viable MVP candidates, then they have three. Votto’s overall numbers are right up there with Winker and Castellanos. His current .950 OPS leads the Reds, and has been up there with them for a while. He leads the team in walks, HRs, and is just behind Winker in OBP and one RBI behind Castellanos.
      None of that is to take away from the seasons Castellanos and Winker have had. They’ve been fantastic. It’s just to bring to light how good Votto’s season has been and when we talk about the Reds it’s really been a big 3 driving the offense with help from two very good rookies.

      • Alan Horn

        You nailed it. I would add with zero help from the bulk of the bench and 3B until recently. Looking back. The BP prior to the deadline, the choices of players for the bench all season and 3B for 5 of the six months of the season keep us from having a much better record. Some early poor pitching by a starter or two also contributed as well as the starters not getting past 5 innings often. The BP and bench problems were on all levels of roster management.

    • RedsFanInNM

      The Reds have a winning record despite upper management and ownership. Bob is the one that tightened the purse strings which lead to not having a viable bullpen most of the year, not to mention the lack of a shortstop until Farmer stepped in. I don’t blame Bell for any of it and I hope that some money gets spent on the pen going into 22

    • greenmtred

      You should balance the “luck” of India against the bad luck of losing Winker, Senzel, Votto and Castellanos (for awhile) and Suarez falling off the table until Sept. There’s talent on the team, and there were very significant weaknesses. We keep reviving a very old argument.

    • AC

      This team is not talented. No shortstop or center fielder, no bullpen. India outperformed anything he did in the minors to this point. Factor in Moose and Suarez being zero, and Senzel contributing nothing, I’d say Bell got more out of this group than can be expected.

      • Indy Red Man

        Not even close to being true. For one the Reds have one of the better rotations in baseball. Naquin also has a .809 ops and Farmer has been pretty decent overall. Our rotation was better then the Cards and Farmer has been better then DeJong. Bader might be slightly better then Naquin, but its close. Their bullpen fell apart too although better then the Reds.

      • greenmtred

        Of course they lost Naquin, too. I agree that they have talent, but a bad bullpen and injuries to their three best hitters and third base disappearing for most of the season are a lot to overcome.

  3. OkieRed

    At a boy Suarez, get hot now that the season is over…where was this 2-3 months ago…good note, some Reds (India, Votto, Farmer, Castellanos) finishing the year out strong…Farmer has had an outstanding year…not sure what the future holds for him but he has not been the problem this year…hopefully, things will go better next year…I’ll always root for the Reds, but some things definitely need to change.
    Thanks Doug for all the hard work. It is greatly appreciated!

  4. Allan

    Ahhh! Now they start hitting and beating the teams their suppose to beat.
    Glad to see them winning again but unfortunately too little too late. ??

  5. Jim t

    Doug loved that you worked in the Bengals spanking the Steelers yesterday into your recap. Love to beat them as well as the Pirates. My dislike for them goes back to the big red machine days.

  6. MBS

    Moreta and Sanmartin are making their cases for a role with the Reds in 22. If Sanmartin can be effective out of the pen, that would be huge.

    • Hotto4Votto

      Sanmartin does have some experience relieving in the minors, so at least it wouldn’t be completely new to him. I’ve kinda wondered how Riley O’Brien would do out of the pen as well. It’ll be interesting to watch his start/debut. Definitely some names to add to the equation for next season.

      • Alan Horn

        Same here on O’Brien. Of course, you are taking a chance with 3 rookies(Moreta, Sanmartin and O’Brien) all in the pen. If Greene or Lodolo step up, I have thought about Gutierrez in the pen also. That all depends on whether we lose Castellanos. If so, we likely will have to trade one our starters for a right handed hitting outfielder. It is not like we don’t have options for next season. I would hate to trade Castillo, Gray, Mahle or Miley as they all would like bring us a draft choice fairly soon as well as solidify our starting staff in the mean time..

      • Hotto4Votto

        You never truly know what you’re going to get from rookies, let alone relievers in general. So, yes, you are taking a chance. At the same time the Reds relied on several rookies to help them throughout this season in India, Stephenson, Gutierrez, and Santillan. But a guy like Hendrix fell flat. Hopefully the bullpen will have some better options next season, and maybe all three of those guys won’t need to be relied on heavily, but would be around for depth.

  7. Jim t

    I hate that this season is coming to a end. Loved the character and effort displayed regardless of the situation put forth by the players and coaching staff. Had a nice blend of veterans and young players that always seemed to have each other’s back. Perfect example was the India post game interview. He talked about how tight this group was and how much he learned. It was much watch TV for me and the wife at game time. Looking forward to next year.

  8. TR

    A good debut by Sanmartin. It looks like the Reds have made a nice mini haul in pitchers from the Yankees with Cessa, Wilson and Sanmartin.

    • Doc

      And Gray, since he and Sanmartin came in the same deal.

  9. Jim t

    It’s amazing how Votto has changed his hitting approach at this point in his career. Can he duplicate his production next year at his age? I really feel that will be a big part of how the team will finish next year

    • Alan Horn

      I agree Jim. At his age anything can pop up, but this year has been beyond awesome.

    • VaRedsFan

      You’re right. It was all about approach change. He earned that huge contract by the potential he showed in 2010 MVP season. He revived that type of production in 2017 (2nd in MVP), then for some unknown reason, changed everything. the stance, the choke up, the inside out half swing, the check swings. He wasted the better part of 2 seasons experimenting with this. Finally, in 2021 he got back to mvp-like numbers. He’ll be fine next year if he stays in doing damage mode.

      • Jim Walker

        I suspect the changes in 2018/19 were about Votto realizing he had aged and could no longer consistently win protracted plate appearances by spoiling pitchers’ pitches until he got a mistake pitch or was walked. Also, the rise of the shift, particularly as it impacted LH batters probably played a significant role.

  10. Scott C

    Samartin looked sharp and pitched quickly a la Wade Miley. I hope this will mean that we really made out in the Sonny Gray for Shed Long trade. I remember a lot of fussing about giving up Long who by the way has a -0.4 WAR. One start does not make a career but he looked good and in control. (Caveat it was the Pirates)

    • VaRedsFan

      Sanmartin didn’t have to throw a pitch for the Reds to win that trade by miles.

  11. Old-school

    Has geno Suarez recaptured his trade value? His contract is not that bad and he has name recognition and some franchises with no chance of winning and deep pockets( colorado rockies) might bite. Moose has Zero trade value.

    Id get younger and cheaper trade geno and then Sonny gray for a CF and let Senzel Play 3b and Barrero SS and India 2b with Farmer playing once a week at all 3 and prepared to play every day if/when one gets injured

    • Alan Horn

      I am on the fence on Geno. I assume you are trading Gray if we lose Castellanos (likely). I wouldn’t count on Senzel staying healthy. I agree on everything else. You have Schrock and Lopez. Lopez is unproven at the ML level but he wasn’t given a chance. I hate to move India off 2B, but you could move him to 3B and choose from Schrock and Lopez at 2B. What we absolutely can’t have next season is all the hitting holes in our lineup.

      • Jim Walker

        Agree that Senzel is tarnished fools’ gold at this point. Count on him for nothing. Be overjoyed at what if anything he is able to add.

    • MBS

      If his “trade value” is recaptured, why would you ant to trade him. 2 years ago he was our best hitter, and if we do lose Castellanos, he’d be our top right handed power bat. If he hasn’t recaptured it, then maybe he moves into a reserve role. Tough pill to swallow if that’s the case.

      • Old-school

        Because hes 30 and very slow and below avg defensively and expensive and team needs youth and speed and energy and defense and obp

        Rockies could pay him and play him

      • Alan Horn

        You make a good point on Suarez. If he is indeed back, we will need his RH bat more than ever next season if Castellanos leaves. In my opinion he still plays pretty good defense. I have seen most games on TV this season. In fact, Suarez, Farmer, India and Votto have all played pretty decent defense across the infield this season. The team as a whole has played acceptable defense in my opinion this season. The offense is a whole different story as well as the BP prior to the trade deadline. If Suarez is indeed back with the bat, his 10 million a year salary seems like a bargain. Of course, that is a big if. The only weakness on defense I see is that neither catcher throws out many base stealers. That may be on the pitchers, but Barnhart has a fairly weak arm. Stephenson is tall and lanky which doesn’t lend to a quick release.

    • Doc

      So are you saying we should trade the one with value and keep the one with no value? How do you improve your team by keeping the player of no value while getting rid of one with value. Sounds bass ackwards to me.

      • greenmtred

        Agree that the defense has been acceptable or better this year. The offense, even with the late-season slump, still ranks near the top of the league in most categories. But losing Castellanos would make that look different next year, absent significant additions to the roster. We certainly can’t assume anything approaching full-season production from Senzel or, to a lesser extent, Winker.

      • old-school

        As you said, the player has no value and therefore Moose is untradeable.
        Suarez might have some value and allow the team to get younger and faster and free up payroll for another position or extension.

      • Jim Walker


        With Winker, at least they know what they are going to get as long as he can stay on the field; and, it is worth trying to work with/ workaround because he always seems to make it past the AS break.

        Senzel just hasn’t even been that reliable offensively. We can talk about his stance being changed and all that. However, the fact remains he is a career 78 OPS+ player with barely a .300 OBP when he has been on the field.

    • TR

      As it has been stated, Suarez has a reasonable contract and name recognition. Should the Reds take a chance on another season of a below .200 batting average with 30+ homeruns? I don’t think so. This offseason is the time to trade Eugenio. The Reds need a young, talented centerfielder and, if Senzel is still around and injury-free, he should be at third base and not in the outfield. If the Reds go young, they’re on the right road for next year and the future.

  12. Old-school

    Stats and records are in a new world order

    5 years ago most teams tried. In 2021 1/3 of teams dont remotely try and another 5 are apathetic

    It impacts win totals absolutely and player stats. I wouldnt go hog wild over 83 wins when the pirates and Cubs and Nats and marlins and 9 others are actively trying to lose and starting AAA lineups

    Never in MLB have their been 1/3 of teams who try to lose 90 games

    • Alan Horn

      I have never been that much on comparing stats other than in a general way. How can you compare modern day player’s stats with players of yesteryear? You have 162 games versus 154 games per season. Travel was by train and now it is by airplane. You have PEDS which have infiltrated the game currently. A good player was/is good in all eras. That is about as far as I can take it. The modern players have better training techniques. The schools have better training techniques also but it sure hasn’t produced a better student. Individual work ethic and drive enters into the equation for all eras.

    • Doc

      The Reds were 12 over .500 before the other teams tanked. I’d be proud of that for a team widely predicted to not reach .500.

    • Alex

      Your dead on old school. The Yankees traded Justin Wilson’s 2 mil to stay under the luxury tax, the yankees did that. The steinbrenner era of winning at all costs is long gone. The other affect of so many teams openly not trying is it’s pushing even more talent to the teams that actually want to win.

      The private equity era of ownership is here. Squeezing every last dime out of a dying game in 25 cities while 5 or 6 teams try each year.

      The only season most ownership groups care about is the off season. And it’s not cause of the hot stove, it’s too find new and exciting ways to cut costs and slash payroll. Expect the reds to be on the forefront of this exciting new brand of baseball!!!! Trading good prospects to get rid of contracts? Bet on it. Playing a bad player everyday cause he is being paid? Bet on it. Making no effort to retain FA, bet on that for sure. And if we are lucky we will culminate the off-season with big Bob crying poor and saying hope was the strategy!!!

      Why don’t the kids watch baseball? Who wouldn’t want to watch a sport that more resembles a college math class than a game? All the while you get to listen to old white guys talk about gate receipts and liquidity of assets! Woo hoo!

      • A

        You are right on about the sport resembling a college math class. The Reds were a perfect example. Too much left or right match ups. Too much double switching. Too much over coaching while the SB and bunt (at least successfully) has left the game. Too much playing for the HR and no small ball or manufacturing a run.

  13. GreatRedLegsFan

    The way the roster is shaping out, 2022 should look as follows: Stephenson, Votto, India, Suarez/Moustakas, Barrero/Farmer; Naquin, Senzel & Winker. If Senzel is not able to fully recover, at least to man CF, then Barrero will be switched to CF and Farmer will continue as the everyday SS. After such a monster campaign, I foresee Castellanos optioning out his contract, Moustakas won’t go anywhere (sunk cost contract, $32MM/2 years left) and Suarez’s contract still has some value ($30MM/3 years left), specially if Castellanos split. Other than that, rotation and bullpen both have a better outlook, specially if Lorenzen is resigned. Hopefully, Reds will be more lucky in term of injuries next season.

    • wkuchad

      Major props to Farmer for what he did this year, but I want Barrero starting the year at SS. It’s time to find out if he can be a major-leaguer. Farmer’s role will be safety net for SS if Barrero doesn’t work out and as a super-sub. Farmer should start somewhere against all lefties and occasionally against righties.

      • Alan Horn

        I agree with the stipulation that if Barreo isn’t hitting a month or so into the season he gets sent down and Farmer is the full time SS. Barreo still hasn’t shown he can hit ML pitching. He was rushed last season(no AA or AAA) and not given a chance this season, so we will wait and see.

  14. Michael

    So here is the question. Does Votto finally win the silver slugger. Somehow he did not win in 2015-17. Looking at NL first base guys the only comp seems to be Freeman with an ops of 902 and 31 homers. In theory Con, Muncy, Goldschmidt could catch fire late and make it closer but I see it as those two guys.

    • wkuchad

      If the season were to end today, Votto should be a lock for the silver slugger, and it’s not really a close call.

      However, that’s coming from a huge Reds/Votto fan, so…

    • CFD3000

      He should, but oh the irony. In 2010 he was MVP but didn’t win the silver slugger. In 2017 he was 2nd by a whisker, to an outfielder, and again didn’t win. This year he should be top 10 in MVP voting, but surely not top three and probably not top 5, but will likely win his first. Though if history holds it will somehow be Max Muncy taking home Votto’s award!

  15. AMDG

    Before we get too excited about Suarez finally hitting the baseball this past week, after hitting only 0.184 over the previous 190 games…

    … It should be pointed out that almost everybody on the Reds has been hitting well since mid-September:

    Friedl 0.471
    DeShields 0.462
    Suarez 0.448
    Votto 0.381
    Barrero 0.375
    India 0.375
    Farmer 0.353
    Castellanos 0.333
    Stephenson 0.333

    • Jim

      This is great that we are putting up really good numbers at the plate sense mid September, but let’s not get too confident, because you know what teams and pitchers we have been playing. But it is a good conference booster for next year.

      • Alan Horn

        Agree and the fact Suarez is hitting anybody is hopefully a good sign going forward. The fact that his bat has rose from the dead (especially the last month of the season) is possibly a good sign that age hasn’t caught up with him yet.