Graham Ashcraft was outstanding in his first ever start at Great American Ball Park, pitching into the 7th inning without allowing a run, and the offense pieced together five runs as the Cincinnati Reds came out on top of the San Francisco Giants 5-1 to open their 3-game series.

Final R H E
San Francisco Giants (24-20)
1 6 1
Cincinnati Reds (15-30) 5 9 0
W: Ashcraft (1-0) L: Rodon (4-4) SV: Warren (3)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Offense

After stranding a runner in each of the first two innings of the game, the Reds got the offense rolling in the 3rd. Alejo Lopez led off with a single, stole second, and then scored on a Matt Reynolds double to take a 1-0 lead. Tyler Stephenson would single in Reynolds later in the inning to make it 2-0. Two innings later it was Brandon Drury doing the damage as he clobbered a solo homer – his 8th of the year – into the left field seats to extend the lead to 3-0.

The 8th inning started out about as strange as one could imagine. The Giants called on Jake McGee to begin the inning. However there was a problem with that – Jake McGee, who was activated from the injured list earlier in the day, was not on the lineup card. That made him ineligible to play and San Francisco had to bring in someone else. Jose Alvarez came on and things didn’t go his way. Tyler Stephenson led off with a single, and after a force out, Alvarez hit Mike Moustakas with a pitch, Albert Almora drove in a run on a double to make it 4-1, and then he walked Alejo Lopez to load the bases. That’s when Nick Senzel did what he seems to do more than anyone alive – he swung and hit the catchers glove, resulting in catchers interference, Senzel getting first base and an RBI to make it 5-1. That was all they’d get, but it was all they needed.

The Pitching

Graham Ashcraft’s first three pitches of the game were 99.4, 100.1, and 101 MPH. That was a sign of things to come from the big righty on the night. In just his second career start, Ashcraft fired 6.1 shutout innings on four hits and two walks. He threw just 92 pitches on the night before turning the game over to Alexis Diaz in the 7th and holding a 3-run lead. Diaz got out of the inning, stranding a runner on first base.

Diaz returned for the 8th and walked the first batter of the inning and then gave up a single to put runners on 1st and 2nd. He got a pop out to follow, but was replaced by Art Warren who promptly gave up a single to load the bases and then hit Joc Pederson with a pitch to bring in the Giants first run. Warren clamped down and induced a ground ball double play to end the inning with Cincinnati holding onto a 3-1 lead. He returned for the top of the 9th and retired San Francisco in order to pick up the save.

Key Moment of the Game

Art Warren may have allowed only run by a Red in the game, but he also stranded the bases loaded in the top of the 8th inning of a 2-run game.

Notes Worth Noting

Tommy Pham may be looking at a suspension after he reportedly slapped Joc Pederson in the face during batting practice. Major League Baseball is investigating the incident.

Nick Senzel’s catchers interference was his 4th of the season and the 10th of his career.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

San Francisco Giants vs Cincinnati Reds

Saturday May 28th, 4:10pm ET

Alex Wood (3-3, 4.82 ERA) vs TBA

49 Responses

  1. ci3j

    Don’t look now, but the Reds are only half a game behind the Royals.

    It’s actually possible the Reds might NOT have the worst record in MLB by Memorial Day. After that start, who would have thought that possible?

    • Andy

      12-12 in May now, after losing the first 4.
      Chance to have a winning record for the month.

  2. David

    Ashcraft had his heavy, sinking fastball working.
    About the same results as in AAA ball. He is really hard to square up on and hit.

    I think, barring injury, that he has seen the last of AAA ball. He’s here to stay.

    • MK

      Just have to wonder who goes when Minor, Lodolo, and Overton are healthy as well as if there is ever a Dunn sighting. I agree Ashcraft deserves to stay. This just confirms to me Mahle and Castillo are history.

    • Grand Salami

      Ashcraft isn’t worried about stats. He’s pitching to win. That’s mature.

      He looked like a 30 year old out there. Don’t see how he needs AAA at all.

  3. ChrisInVenice

    Nice win. Is wendelstadt’s strike zone always that big? A few of the highest & lowest called strikes I’ve ever seen.

    • JB WV

      I was glad to see Joe West retire after bumbling through the last few years. Time for Wendelstadt to do the same. Ridiculous balls and strikes last night

      • MK

        Country Joe has a podcast that is pretty entertaining.

    • Mark Moore

      I’d wager that, as a “veteran” umpire, he refuses to learn and adjust if he reviews his stats at all. From the phantom HBP onward, he was terrible back there last night.

      Poster boy for the robo-zone in my opinion.

  4. DaveCT

    Ashcraft looks like his intangibles are off the charts. He just exudes it.Put him, Greene and Castillo at the top of the rotation. The rest will sort itself out.

  5. GreatRedLegsFan

    The 2023 starting rotation may perfectly showcase five homegrown pitchers in Green, Lodolo, Ashcraft, Williamson and Abbott, remarkable.

    • SteveO

      Williamson came over in the trade with Seattle

    • Doc4uk

      I think Connor Phillips makes it up to the Reds before Abbott. He will be promoted to AA soon.

      • MK

        Phillips a couple years younger than Abbott.

  6. GreatRedLegsFan

    With the upcoming return of Jake Fraley a roster move will be made to either option Aquino or Almora. So far it looks like Almora will remain and Aquino will have to continue working his hitting out down in Louisville.

    • Jim Walker

      Or Fraley will just be optioned to AAA. The team has played its best ball of the season without him. He had weak stats himself when injured (OPS/OPS+> .441/19). He does not have veteran props and creds on his side. The only thing he really has going for him is that he was painted as a major return piece in the Winker/ Suarez trade.

      • Jimbo44CN

        I hope you are right Jim. Aquinos value as a defensive outfielder alone outweighs Fraley.

    • Grand Salami

      Aquino looks so much better already. Even a bad night looks like a normal MLB bad night and not overmatched.

  7. Jim t

    Nice home debut by GA. Really like the young pitching the reds are assembling.

  8. TR

    After a rough start, a Red’s ‘team’ is emerging. Almora, Jr. is what is needed in the outfield, especially defensively.

    • LarkinPhillips

      I love him as a platoon/4 OF for the Reds. Or just a holding spot until Nick Senzel is hurt again.

  9. Reddawg2012

    As of Saturday morning:

    Brandon Drury: .239/.313/.493, OPS .806, wRC+ 120, BABIP .255
    Eugenio Suarez: .211/.299/.440, OPS .739, wRC+ 115, BABIP .274

    Just found this interesting.

    • scotly50

      Saurez 66 strikeouts
      Drury 33 strikeouts

  10. Mark Moore

    I stayed up too late, but the win was worth it. Kept engaged the whole way. I shuddered like many of us when Warren came on with runners on base, but he wriggled out and was fine with a clean start to the 9th.

    Good way to start a series against a much better team. Ashcraft really did the job.

  11. RedsGettingBetter

    Ashcraft has proved right now his quality showed in the minors previously. He did it against two of the most heavy lineups in baseball. He puts in evidence how he has been underrated as a top prospect since last season he began his way to success…Furthermore, he could keep the level of good outings Connor Overton had started filling great that rotation spot while Overton comes back.
    Vlad Gutierrez was announced as the starter today. I prey to God he could perform well and go deep in the game…

  12. LarkinPhillips

    It’s still early, but I really am liking the Winker/Suarez deal (despite Suarez being my favorite player). Williamson and Phillips seem to be good adds and losing Suarez’s contract will look better and better. I hope the Reds can swing a similar return minus Fraley for a deal with Moose and Mahle or Castillo at the deadline. It will be interesting to see what come of Justin Dunn as well. I still hate the sonny gray deal though.

    • scotly50

      I don’t think the Miley fiasco will ever make sense

  13. SultanofSwaff

    Assuming both stick in the rotation all season, who finishes with better numbers– Greene or Ashcraft?

    • greenmtred

      I think it’s interesting that Ashcraft, who certainly qualifies as a power pitcher, seems willing to pitch to contact and is, as a result, pitch-efficient. Early days, yes, but I really like what I’m seeing.

  14. MBS

    I wish I could have watched the game, but Ashcraft seemed to preform really well. I’m curious if the hits he gave up were grounders.

    • Mark Moore

      All singles per the box score. He pitched a gem.

    • Jim Walker

      The two in the 4th were recorded as “line drives” to the outfield(er).

      Both the others were groundballs, one of them an infield hit to the edge of the outfield grass at SS. Farmer went down stepping and reaching back across his body to play it, and after getting up, his throw was late. It certainly looked like calling it a hit was correct.

      • MBS

        Thanks guys, a ground ball inducing pitcher is exactly what we need. Similar velo to Greene but keeps the hits on the ground!

  15. Roger Garrett

    Just play and pitch younger players.Its just worth it to find out what they can do.We should we tired of older one dimensional players or older bull pen pieces.

  16. Steven Ross

    Since the Reds ignominious start of 3 & 22, they’ve gone 12 & 8. Yes, still 15 games under .500 but only 3.5 behind the Cubs & Pirates. Celebrate small victories.

    • Mark Moore


      When small victories is what you have, celebrate them. Even if you are forced to stay up past your bedtime.

  17. Earmbrister

    Had to Gameday this game, after thoroughly enjoying the TV broadcast of the Cubs beatdown, albeit a day later via recording. Both were satisfying.

    I can’t remember in my lifetime a Reds team that was so awash in pitching talent. The starting rotation is getting better and better, and half of the rotation is on IL. We still have Minor, Lodolo, Dunn, and Overton to look forward to. Plenty of depth and plenty of trade capital, with more pitching in the pipeline.

    Lots of bullpen help on the IL as well with Antone (sorry TJ, but there isn’t a starting spot for you), Sims, and Wilson currently sidelined.

    A perennial problem has turned into a real strength. Trade a Castillo or a Mahle for a stud corner outfielder and get Barrero and India back on the field and suddenly you have a real contender.

    Am I getting ahead of myself? Perhaps. But I don’t need to squint nearly as hard to see a real baseball team coming together.

    • Mark Moore

      Watching Senzel go with pitches of late has been a treat for me. I know many will cite his “injury-prone” nature, but keep in mind this season was COVID-related. I’d still probably prefer him back at 3B, but we’ve got some depth in the Minors around the horn, so maybe his value is in his glove and ability to read the CF position.

      Definitely a fun game. Debbie approved … 🙂

      • Earmbrister

        Deb!!! I’m a huge Senzel fan. Much like I defended Winker when some got down on his injured nature, I see immense potential for Senzel. Yeah, at some point potential has to be converted into production, but I have to believe we’re nearing the payoff. I’ll politely disagree (loved that from Steve? above) on a position move. Senzel has grown into the CF position, and if his bat comes around he provides tremendous value at CF (much like TS at C). And he single-handedly won the game vs the Cubbies with his D. That said, where has Barrero been playing in AAA? Hoping he’s up soon and the everyday SS, with Farmer sliding to 3B.

        This is becoming almost enjoyable.

      • Jim Walker

        @Earmbrister> I believe Barrero has played exclusively at SS on defense. There may have been 1 or 2 games he only DHed.

      • Earmbrister

        Thanks Jim. I knew someone here would have a ready answer.

    • Roger Garrett

      Nope you got a good eye and it is coming together.It could come sooner then what I believe which in 2024 but the Reds will have to make some moves they aren’t accustomed to doing and that is release players they owe money and play younger players.Barrero and India make us so much better because they are more then one dimensional players and we haven’t seen a better outfield on defense then what started last night’s game.Its not my money but if it was Moose and Pham get released today and Farmer becomes the super sub playing 3 or 4 times a week.Joey,India,Barrero and Drury along with TySteve and add Naquin to the outfield play the rest of the way.Plenty of playing time for 4 outfielders and with the DH it adds 400 at bats as well.Still may lose 100 but we will find out some things and go into next year with a better idea of the holes needing to fill.

      • Earmbrister

        If they get healthy, it’s hard to see them losing 100 anymore. Too much pitching and they haven’t even got much, if anything, from Senzel, Votto, and India.

        They should be in 3rd place soon enough without too much good fortune.

        I agree, we could be looking to contend in 2023.

    • Indy Red Man

      I keep forgetting about Justin Wilson. He was throwing 96 mph bullets earlier. Harder then he was throwing last year. 3.2 with 7 Ks….thats 7 out of 11 hitters Kd.
      We could really use him although he’ll be 35 in August.

  18. Jimbo44cn

    Sandak will drive u nuts with his inane babbling on about useless stupid stats
    Sorry just had to vent

  19. Indy Red Man

    Man we need a Yonathan Daza type on the Reds. He’s going to be another DJ LeMahieu. Doesn’t try to overswing just hits line drives everywhere. He’s now hitting .371 including .371 on the road. Thats actually a weird mathematical trick?

  20. Kevin H

    Apparently I missed some fireworks and good pitching lastnight. My weekend to work.

    Following the Big three I will call them. Lodolo, Ashcraft, and Greene to me can form a great 3 man rotation. I know they have Abbot and Williamson in high A ball if I am not mistaken. The reds pitching is looking bright, however as we all know a team needs pitching depth. So to me that is why you keep at least Mahle or Castillo.
    Various opinion’s on the how a bullpen should be used. I think if Warren, Satallian, and Hoffman can keep solid numbers to go along with Diaz that is solid. I like what Kuenl and Solomon have done as well. Cesa has struggled. My long winded point is the pitching is looking brighter and brighter.

  21. Grand Salami

    Loved the Stephenson ‘single’. We were at the game and my 8 year old is team catcher so he’s dialed in. Check swing contact that turns into a pretty effective bunt. Stephenson may be one of the fastest catchers in MLB and forces a scoop toss from 2nd that results in high throw. More importantly the silly wanna be BP play let’s Lopez(?) score from third on another late and high relay. It was perfect small ball. Not something the Reds have been known for in at least 20 years.