A strong start by Tyler Mahle and a 3-run 8th inning by the Reds offense helped Cincinnati beat the Cleveland Guardians 4-2 on Thursday afternoon and sweep the series in northern Ohio.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (11-26) 4 8 0
Cleveland Guardians (16-19)
2 3 1
W: Cessa (2-0) L: Stephan (2-1) SV: Santillan (2)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Offense

Cincinnati’s offense only managed three singles through the first four innings and couldn’t get a run on the board. But Tyler Naquin tied the game up at 1-1 with a solo home run in the 5th inning. That’s where the score remained until the top of the 8th. Once again it was Naquin getting things going as he led off with one of three straight singles in the inning. Naquin would score on the single by Kyle Farmer, and then pinch runner Matt Reynolds scored when Albert Almora Jr. laid down a sacrifice bunt and reliever Trevor Stephan threw the ball away. TJ Friedl then followed up with a sacrifice fly to plate Farmer and the Reds had a 4-1 lead. That was all of the runs they would need on the day.

The Pitching

Cleveland went 1-2-3 in the 1st inning, but they got to Tyler Mahle in the 2nd when Owen Miller doubled to lead off the inning, moved to third on an infield single, and then scored on a sacrifice fly to grab a 1-0 lead. That would be all that Mahle would give up as he didn’t give up a hit the rest of his outing before exiting in the 7th inning with one out after walking Amed Rosario. Luis Cessa came in and walked Franmil Reyes to put two men on with the game tied up at 1-1, but he got himself out of the game with a fly out and a ground out to keep the score there.

After Cincinnati scored three runs in the top of the 8th, the game was turned over to Alexis Diaz. The rookie struggled to throw strikes and walked two batters in a row after getting Austin Hedges to ground out to begin the inning. Jose Ramirez then singled in a run to put runners on the corners with one out. That led to a pitching change and Tony Santillan came in and shut things down with a double play to end the threat and hold the Reds lead at 4-2. He came back out for the 9th and needed just eight pitches to retire Cleveland in order and pick up the save.

Key Moment of the Game

Tony Santillan coming into the game in the bottom of the 8th inning with two men on and one out of a 4-2 game and getting a ground ball double play to end the threat.

Notes Worth Noting

Tyler Naquin was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Ohio Cup series. He hit three home runs in the four games between the two teams. Both teams were swept at home.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds vs Toronto Blue Jays

Friday May 20th, 7:07pm ET

Luis Castillo (0-1, 5.59 ERA) vs Hyun Jin Ryu (0-0, 9.00) ERA

59 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    Tony was in great form today. Naquin turned in a fine performance. Hoping Farmer isn’t too sore. Would still prefer to NEVER see a glove on the hand of Mr. Moose again unless there is an impending disaster.

    Off to Toronto and (hopefully) welcome back Joey!

    • TR

      Mr. Moose alternating in the DH slot works for me.

  2. David

    The way of the bullpen.

    Diaz was tough Tuesday night.

    Tonight, he just didn’t quite have it.
    But Tony Santillan did.

    Wonder if Tyler Naquin is Brandon Phillips, redux? The Indians (sic Guardians) couldn’t find a place for Brandon, and the Reds got him for about nuthin’. Ditto Tyler. I saw Tyler Naquin play a lot of AAA ball for the Columbus Clippers, and always thought he was a pretty good player. He was faster then, but he is a little bit bigger and stronger now.

    • greenmtred

      Diaz has great stuff, but Tuesday and today, he lacked command. Don’t forget the two walks and wild pitch on Tuesday. It worked out then, but it nearly bit him and the Reds in both games.

      • TR

        For now Diaz lacks command of the strike zone. I feel much better with Santillian.

      • David

        Indeed, command of the zone. I know it is tough for fans to watch, but these guys are trying. It’s not for lack of effort (even during the losing streak).
        But now the execution is better (they have won 4 out of their last 6), and surprisingly, Bell looks like a better manager.

  3. Doc

    Looks as though Mahle might have, temporarily at least, learned something from watching Overton. Just 4 Ks and only 2 BB, yet minimal number of hits allowed. If you don’t put them on then they can’t score.

  4. LDS

    Naquin continues the pattern of players hitting well against their former teams

  5. Roger Garrett

    It’s the same with all pitchers and that he must throw strikes..Diaz,Tony and Warren all have good stuff with movement.Don’t need to throw any of them under the bus just need to watch them closely and react to what’s going on when the game is on the line.Bell did the right thing today and I liked the fact he left Diaz in to face Ramirez on Tuesday and again today.Just have to pick spots to see what happens sometimes.Nobody has hit Diaz and when he throws strikes nobody will.Tony pocked him up and got them in order and quick in the 9th after the DP in the eighth inning.Baby steps as somebody said during the game

  6. Old-school

    Not able to watch the game but glad to see Mahle do well. The guy is a proven innings eater with good K numbers and at least last year was Cy young on the road.
    Naquin homer, Almora pressuring the defense with bunt, Farmer clutch hit and good work by Cessa and Santillan. I dont have a problem with getting a good look at bullpen arms as long as Bell adjusts as Roger says when its obvious some one doesnt have it that day.

    Santillan was a top prospect and needs a lot of rope. Hes big strong with a good fastball and slider.

    Bell has done a good job of late adjusting and taking a limited lineup and trying to manufacture runs.

    I followed only peripherally. What were the comments about Moose and defense referencing?

    Dodgers without Kershaw. Twins lost Paddack to Tommy John. Odorizzi carted off for the Astros. Mets without Scherzer for 2 months. Phillies with Harper only Dhing with an elbow for a while and the Phillies now the worst defense in the history of MLB. More injuries to come. Castillo if dominating could bring a haul. Mahle if he continues to get back to his baseball card could bring back some very good prospects and Naquin and Cessa might have some value as well.

    • JB

      They moved Moose over to 1st after they had Reynolds run for Moran. Ground ball hit to Moose and he couldn’t get it because he is slow and has a bad glove. He is not a first baseman period.

    • DaveCT

      Santillan has the makings of a very good late inning guy. He’s got that little bit of mean streak. Or looks like it. My type of reliever. Same with Diaz.

  7. Redsvol

    Doug did a great job of pointing out 2 plays that often go overlooked. Almora sacrifice bunt putting pressure on the defense and leading to a run. And Friedls sacrifice fly. 2 winning plays that small market teams need to make habit forming.

    • VaRedsFan

      It’s not a small market thing. It’s just smart baseball.

    • DaveCT

      Almora is looking like a great guy to keep around. He knows his game.

  8. Mark Moore

    A note of interest to everyone who knows our Reds’ history …

    Matt Carpenter has been released from his MiLB contract and is now a free agent. I do believe the stars are now aligned for him to join our Reds, right?

    Gee … I hope not … but … WWWJD (what would Walt Jockety do)??


      We already have 2 left handed hitting first basemen! Pass!

    • JB

      Lord please no. Somebody lock Jocketty in a closest, fast.

    • DaveCT

      Dude was hitting well in the minors working his way back. He’d be a good DH.

  9. Kevin H

    A better perspective after a win. Alot of the guys Reds are counting on are young. Pitching and position players. Remember Senzel played 3 years in college and only been in big leagues for three years. So he is still young in terms if development. India same thing. Stephenson, then Burrero. So I feel future is bright

    • David

      So bright, ya gotta wear shades! 🙂

      The potential is there, but at the present, a lot of that is still potential.
      I know we are all looking for a silver lining to this lousy start of the season.

  10. Klugo

    And still 15 games under .500. Fifteen. On May19. Unbelievable.

    • LDS

      Even more unbelievable – looking at the standings, w/L over the last 10 games, the Reds are tied with the Giants for the best record in the NL and only one game behind the Yankees for the best record in MLB. And they are still deep in a hole. Even 4th place looks far, far away.

    • Doc

      Played .700 ball over the last 10. If they keep that pace the rest of the way, they finish with 98 wins.

      Not possible to keep that up, you say? Didn’t stop people from looking at their start and projecting 25 wins for the year!

      • LDS

        Never bought into the 25 wins scenario but 90+ losses still feels likely, with maybe a fourth place finish.

      • Tom Reeves

        I always love how fans can be super negative about the team but then expect players to be above any negativity and always perform at their best. Why should we expect players to keep a winning mindset when we perpetuate negativity?

      • Joey Red

        So you actually believe Reds players read comments here?? And that it adds to their own negativity? That’s a stretch. This is a great site for fans but I don’t think Reds players hang out here.

      • Tom Reeves

        No, I’m saying we seem to expect something out of players we’re not willing to do ourselves. And then we complain when the players don’t do what we’re not willing to do.

      • LDS

        The fans are the consumers. The players are the product. The team is the brand. Simple as that. When the product sucks, the brand isn’t reliable, the consumer shops elsewhere or complains that the product was better in the past. New Coke anyone?

      • LDS

        Not dehumanizing at all. The players elected a sport where fans have and should have an expectation of winning. They are paid more PER GAME than many fans make in a year. They aren’t there to be pampered, pitied, or treated as prima donnas. They are there to win games. When they don’t, they and the team’s management and ownership are open to criticism. The difference between the real world and professional sports is that most of us can’t get away with mediocrity and failing to deliver results. Pro athletes can and do.

  11. Old-school

    Elly De La Cruz with his 8 th error

    Move him to CF

    • MBS

      Elly would probably be a very good OF with his wheels and arm. If Siani is also truly back on track, those 2 could cover a lot of ground in the OF.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      With all of the shortstops (Barrero, McLain, Minier) in this system, de la Cruz is not going to make the bigs with the Reds at shortstop.

      • old-school

        Read Doug’s articles on his other sight. I was interested in Minier but after reading about him and watching him run the bases after his home run, its obvious he’s not a shortstop or an athlete. Might be a good hitter

      • doofus

        And Ricardo Cabrera, Jose Torres…

  12. Eddie

    Huge fan of Tyler naquin. Ppl bashed him when he don’t do well but he been very good since he been in the reds uniform. I hope he stays with us. He emotional player n good homerun hitter n strong wrist power

  13. Votto4life

    I’m sorry, but I just don’t get the optimism.

    The Reds are 15 games under .500 on May 19th. They lost any chance they had of competing by the end of the season’s first month. They have been out scored by 62 runs, nearly 20 runs more than any other team.

    It’s easy to play “loose”, when you get off to the worst start in franchise history and are 12.5 games from first place before Memorial Day.

    Just another lost season, in three decades of lost seasons.

    • Tom Reeves

      I’m enjoying seeing young players develop. I like how this team has fought back.

      No one likes how it started but considering the off season moves, I’m not surprised the team lost a bunch of early games. In the long run, that might be a blessing in disguises because now the Reds can make development decisions. The only place to fix this is in the present and the future. We can’t go back and fix the past.

      • Jim t

        Tom I agree with you. Actually I think the next 2 seasons will be development years. Lots of spots will be available as well as big salaries falling off the books.

      • Joey Red

        For long time fans like myself going back to the late 60s we have seen this countless times. “Wait two years” has been the Reds motto for 30+ seasons. Success is always just around the corner. And also the young players you enjoy watching won’t be here if they become legitimately good players. They will be trading pieces for yet another rebuild. That’s because Cincinnati is “small market” so good players are too expensive to keep. It’s like an old movie that repeats over and over again.

      • TR

        The Red’s organization is what it is. I see this year and next as a mini-rebuild. I think the future is positive with the emphasis on pitching. To be competitive starting in 2024 the Red’s need an offensive leader or two like they had the last couple years.

      • Jim t

        Tom while ownership made some horrrible moves causing a historically bad state to the season, injuries and Covid also played a part in our bad start.

        Joey it’s tough to compete as a small market. Teams like the Yankees and and Dodgers can afford to offer contracts to players that will continue to pay the player long beyond his glory days. Unfortunately that is the economics of Baseball. Also you have owners who refuse to invest their profits back into the product on any level.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      @Votto4life — I am with you. My interest in this team is for them to win, not to perpetually watch, in essence, player development at the big-league level. It’s fun to watch them win consistently as they have over the past two weeks, but the only way to truly recover from a 3-22 start is a very, very long winning streak. I don’t think this team has that in them. I hope I’m wrong.

      • greenmtred

        I can’t disagree, Tom: Development in perpetuity wears thin. But I’m willing to hang in a bit longer. The Reds do seem to have an unusual number of promising young players in the pipeline and maybe–just maybe–the stars will align and they will make a serious run at the WS during what time remains to me. What’s the alternative? I’m very unlikely to switch teams this late in life. 50+ years of Reds fandom is a hard habit to break.

      • Jim t

        Couldn’t agree more greenmtred. I have 50+ years as a fan of the reds myself.

      • Tom Reeves

        Tom M – the economics of this franshice.

        We’re among the 7 lowest teams in attendance and only one of those teams currently has a winning record (Tampa). But if we did what Tampa does to compete (constantly churn players to eek out the most value), fans would go nuts. Cincinnati fans get attached to players.

        I don’t think the Reds get out of player development mode until the economics of MLB change. If the team does well in player development, this franchise might compete 3-5 years out of every 10. That’s the reality what we’re living.

        I’d rather we win every year too. Heck, we’d all love that.

    • greenmtred

      It might be easy to play loose, but I’d think that it would be at least as easy to get really discouraged and stop trying very hard. I’m not optimistic about this being a winning season, but when they play hard and are competitive, it’s worth watching.

  14. ryan

    The problem is wasting huge amounts of money on stiffs like Jeff Samardszja, who made well over 200 million for being an average (if that) pitcher. Kudos to him anyway for choosing baseball over ten concussions in the NFL

    • Old Big Ed

      I bet that Jeff Samardzija has to Google how to spell his own name.

      • Doug Gray

        Ed, he actually just always wears his own jersey so when he needs to spell it, or tell someone else how to spell it, he has easy and quick access.