A 10th-inning balk called on Tampa Bay Rays reliever Matt Wisler gave the Cincinnati Reds a 2-1 “balk-off” win over the Tampa Bay Rays before 26,529 at Great American Ball Park.

Final R H E
Tampa Bay Rays (45-38) 1 5 0
Cincinnati Reds (30-54)
2 4 0
W: Kuhnel (1-1) L: Wisler (2-3)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

In the bottom of the 10th inning, Nick Senzel led off by sacrifice-bunting pinch-“ghost”-runner Mark Kolosvary to third. Albert Almora Jr. walked. With pinch-hitter Tyler Naquin waiting on a 1-2 pitch from Wisler, home plate umpire Edwin Moscoso came out from behind the plate and signaled a balk on Wisler. It appeared that Wisler moved his gloved hand in a way that Moscoso believed was a violation prior to delivering the pitch to Naquin, prompting Moscoso to signal Kolosvary home with the winning run.

In the post-game show, former Reds pitcher Sam LeCure said he didn’t know what Wisler did that prompted the balk call.

The Reds would not have been in a position to win on the balk call if not for a standout defensive performance by shortstop Kyle Farmer.

In the top of the 10th with runners on first and third and nobody out, Tampa’s Yandy Diaz hit a roller to shortstop Kyle Farmer, who threw home to catcher Michael Papierski for the tag and the first out of the inning — a fine play by both Reds defenders. Joel Kuhnel then jammed Wander Franco from here to Fort Thomas, and the broken-bat pop was caught on the fly by Farmer at the second-base bag for an inning-ending double play as Tampa’s Josh Lowe had strayed a bit too far off the bag.

It was Cincinnati’s third walk-off win over the past six days. The bizarre ending somewhat overshadowed a sterling pitching performance by starting pitchers Luis Castillo and Shane McClanahan.

The Offense

In the bottom of the third with his team trailing by a run, Brandon Drury worked the count to 3-0, and then:

Home run number 18 on the season set a new career-high for Drury, which will happen on each additional longball he hits through September.

Senzel’s two hits paced the Cincinnati four-hit attack.

The Pitching

Castillo was again dominant, allowing only four hits, a walk, and a run in seven innings. On the TV broadcast, announcers John Sadak and Barry Larkin talked about the major improvement Castillo has made in his fastball since last year. Major league hitters are batting more than 100 points less against that pitch this year. You add that to his trademark changeup and slider, and you have a pitcher who has been amazing to watch over the past month-plus.

Major league scouts certainly are seeing and thinking the same, as contending teams ponder trade offers for Castillo. If he continues to pitch like this over the next three weeks, the Reds’ front office should hold out for the kind of offer that they can’t say no to. Castillo has more than a year of team control left, and giving that up for some borderline prospects would be silly.

Alexis Diaz made his first appearance since mid-June after coming off the injured list earlier in the day. He was a bit wild, but made big pitches when it counted, as all three eighth-inning outs came via the strikeout.

Hunter Strickland retired the first two batters in the ninth but walked the next two hitters to make things problematic. But he got out of it by inducing a flyball to right field by pinch-hitter Francisco Mejia.

Kuhnel got the win for his one scoreless inning, with a little help from his friends as described at the beginning of this article.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Tampa Bay Rays at Cincinnati Reds

Saturday, July 9, 4:10 p.m. ET

Drew Rasmussen (5-3, 3.30 ERA) vs. Hunter Greene (3-10, 6.01 ERA)

56 Responses

  1. LDS

    Trade Castillo while he’s hot and demand the sun and moon in return.

    • Tar Heel Red

      Certainly listen to offers and demand a king’s ransom, but in the end I hope they don’t trade Castillo. Number one starters are too hard to come by. If Nick Krall is mandated to trade a starter, IMO they would be better served dealing Mahle

      • Doc

        I agree. The top teams are always trying to acquire aces, so why are the bottom dwellers always so willing to get rid of them?

        Rhetorical question, knowing that it is the gross imbalance among teams, markets, revenue and the unwillingness of MLB management to correct the situation to make the overall product better.

    • LDS

      Generally, I’d agree but I think he’s an FA after next season and the Reds aren’t forking over big bucks for a 31 year old ace regardless. So, go for the gold now. It’s not like the Reds are winning any time soon.

  2. Old-school

    Great baseball game and good win for the Reds.

    Fun Friday. Castillo was special. Farmer a great inning. Senzel good.

    Important to note Votto and Moose are now basically irrelevant and have been for a while.

    • CFD3000

      I am optimistic that Votto will not remain irrelevant. He hit quite well from the time he returned from the Covid list until his back flared up a few days ago. There’s half a season left. I expect him to make a significant contribution on the offensive side – assuming he can stay healthy of course.

      • Bet on red

        Plus 1000, Votto is and has been more relevant then Barreros. Moose on the other hand is an 16 million dollar paperweight

  3. JayTheRed

    I can honestly say too many underestimate Farmer on this site. Guy has been solid the past 2 seasons overall. He’s not a big star but he is solid for sure at SS. His effort is so appreciated daily.

    • JB WV

      Agree. Would the Reds get anything worth the value of Farmer in a trade? A guy that can play multiple positions well, has turned into a good hitter, and plays with attitude. He’s a keeper.

    • Tar Heel Red

      Agree with JayTheRed 100%. Farmer is constantly maligned on this and other websites and I have never understood why

    • TR

      Farmer is outstanding. He’s not a star but he gets it done.

      • Tom Reeves

        Farmer is the type of player who’s going to end up on a championship team. He has a persistence that is infectious. LA totally jacked up his career (forcing him to be a catcher) and the Reds almost continued it. He didn’t quit and he absolutely earned his role. Personally, I’d extend Farmer a couple of years because I think this team will need his leadership. But, if we don’t, he’s going to end up on a championship team – I can feel it.

    • Luke J

      I like Farmer, but I mean, he’s been an ok hitter and is below average defensively (he’s solid when he can get to balls, but his range is very sub-par). Shortstop is a premium position where if you aren’t an elite hitter, you need to be a standout defender. And you prefer both at that position. So Farmer is an ok filler at short, any team that wants to compete needs someone better there. Do the Reds have someone better? Probably not at the moment given Barrero’s struggles to return from injury and De La Cruz still a ways away, but Barrero IS an elite defender, so you can get away with less offense. If he starts hitting AT ALL, he should bump Farmer. It’s not that we don’t want Farmer to play, just not at short.

      • Still a Red

        I think I’d take Farmers range and bat at this point over an excellent fielding SS batting .200. we’ve had those before and they don’t really help all that much.

  4. CFD3000

    Weird game, but some excellent performances, especially Castillo, Drury (off an almost unhittable pitcher), and a clutch Farmer in the 10th. But in the bigger picture I’d like to point out that this week the Reds beat Charlie Morton and the defending World Champion Braves, Max Scherzer and the first place Mets, and Cy Young favorite Shane McClanahan and the playoff bound Rays, along with a 1 run allowed bullpen game yesterday afternoon. All that without Tyler Stephenson or Joey Votto. I find that encouraging. Go Reds!

    • TR

      Despite the record, the potential is there for a good Red’s team.

  5. Indy Red Man

    Always wondered why Castillo’s fastball got hit hard at times despite being top 5 NL in velocity. I think he would get the ball down which is not optimal with his velocity. Work up in the zone like Strider and they can’t get on top of it. Hate to lose him, but it is what it is. Absolutely can’t miss if you move him

  6. Rednat

    I THINK this offense can really start to explode once Stephenson comes back. I think Senzel has to move up to the leadoff spot. Move India down towards the end of the line up.

    Also I am a supporter of Bell, I just wish he would utilize the bunt and running game more. It was almost like he was embarrassed or ashamed to have to explain to the media why he had Senzel bunting today. also Almora wasn’t even being held on first base after the tenth inning walk. he could have walked to second base on a steal.

    I would just like to see much more aggressive play calling by Bell. Like he said , wins and losses don’t matter at this point so you might as well try to generate some entertaining plays

    • Redsvol

      Totally agree here Rednat. When you have a team that struggles to hit and score runs you have to be creative. You can’t wait for the 3 run homer and you also can’t worry about occasionally running into an out due to a mis-executed hit and run or steal. Those are the breaks. You just have to know who you can count on to execute those plays and who you can’t.

      Senzel – coming on and needs to play 150 games this year – I don’t care if his ops is .600 the rest of the way, let him play and figure it out.
      Farmer – extend him at a reasonable contact. We need 1 veteran in the clubhouse who will be here a few years after the trade deadline and he should be it.
      Drury – if we can’t get a good prospect for him, try to extend him. Dude plays 5 positions and deserves some security from some team.

      Team has 3 walk-off wins in last 7 days. That is encouraging. They are learning how to win tight games. Bullpen pitching better. Injured, starting-caliber players returning at a rate of almost 1 per week soon (Stephenson, Dunn, Fraley, Mahle, Overton). Things finally looking up and should continue to look up rest of year. Will be sad to see Castillo go but that is the correct decision.

    • TR

      Give Senzel as many times at the plate as possible by having him in leadoff position. It seems to me he has physically filled out a bit and is determined to be a leader. I never agreed to moving Senzel out of the infield to centerfield, but he’s doing a good job in that tough position.

      • Randy in Chatt

        I like the idea of moving Senzel to the top of the order for more at bats. An added bonus would be the boost in confidence from the Reds because of his improvement and how that would affect him. I think that would only add to his development. Confidence is a HUGE thing for players at this level.
        Not worried about India moving down and that affecting his confidence. He seems to not lack in that category, especially about being the reigning ROY. I think he’d understand moving down in the order a bit.

      • Still a Red

        In the past, Senzel has not been that effective batting lead-off. Maybe different now if in fact he’s found a groove that transfer to hitting No. 1.

    • Luke J

      Why would it matter if Almora moved to second in the 10th. There was a reason he wasn’t held on. His run didn’t matter. In a 1-1 game, the runner on third ends the game. That seems like asking a manager to be agressive for the sake of being aggressive with no real point. And we need less managerial moves with no real point from Bell, not more.

  7. GreatRedLegsFan

    Great game, pitching and defense combined to keep the game tied until that weird ending. Agree with comments above about India, he still seems uncomfortable at the plate, perhaps a lineup change would be good upon Stephenson’s return.

  8. GreatRedLegsFan

    Drury is on pace to a 40 HR & 100 RBI season with strong peripherals, including a .126 OPS+, not bad for a minor league signing on a $900K contract, who’d tell!

  9. Doc4uk

    Bring up McGarry and let him play 1B until he proves he can or cannot hit at the MLB level. He would be a definite upgrade on both Votto and Moose. Also bring up Fairchild and trade Pham .

    Farmer should be groomed to be a player manager and keep Benavides as his bench coach. New pitching coach is needed for sure. Votto should serve double duty as the hitting coach

    • Doc4uk

      Also time to bring up Williamson and DFA or trade Minor. Again he will do just as well or better . Dunn should be placed in the Bull Pen in a week or two.

  10. Mark Moore

    I was watching the game at the Chicago Midway airport. Was able to stick with it all the way until Naquin’s AB in the 10th. I missed the “balk off” moment when I’d pushed it as long as I could and they had closed the plane door for pushback. I’ll have to go watch the last couple of pitches, but this has to go down as one of the weirdest wins we’ve seen.

    What a performance by Castillo, Farmer, Senzel, and others.

  11. Jim Walker

    The Reds have played a string of mostly interesting games which feel almost exciting until the reality of their current situation intrudes. Aside from Jonathan India and Nick Senzel, who on the field as position players figures in the team’s future? Yeah, I know, Tyler Stephenson will be back soon, so maybe there is the beginning of a core group.

    Kyle Farmer may have a role to play as a latter day poor man’s Ben Zobrist. Same for Brandon Drury. But both these guys are at or pushing to the upside of 30 years old with performance profiles that say they are in the 90 range of OPS+ and wRC+, i.e. 10% below league average as offensive players. They are role players, not core pieces; and, given their ages, certainly not building blocks.

    At least, barring injury, the starting pitching looks promising and would move beyond that ranking if either Luis Castillo or Tyler Mahle are extended instead of traded.

    • Rednat

      I agree Jim it is a small core right now. And while all 3 may become good players, likely none will be all star caliber. I disagree with you about Farmer and Drury. There just aren’t that many good hitters out there in the league right now so I doubt they could find anybody better to replace them over the next few years. Hope they stick around

      • SOQ

        Agreed on the core and keeping Farmer and Drury as veteran balance. They are a heck of a lot cheaper than Votto and Moose–and are producing. Plus their versatility allows the team to bring up Barrero @ Short and others.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Jim, good comparison of Farmer to Zobrist. His ability to crush lefthanded pitching (.380 / .444 / .704 / 1.148) is new this year and a welcome asset to any team. As a shortstop, you can count on him to make the routine plays 99 percent of the time. But this year’s advanced analytics indicate Farmer should ONLY play against lefthanders: 210 wRC+ vs. lefties, 58 wRC+ vs. righties. For his career, the numbers are 128 and 71, respectively.

  12. SteveaReno

    This is very rare and unusual thing to happen, and the media has not grasped that. The win against this very good team was sorely needed no matter how unusual.

  13. Jim t

    @jim, agree with your core group. Hopefully added to that would be a couple of more pieces over the next 2 years from the minor leagues. MaGraary, EDLC, Barrera, McClain and Allen. With Votto and Moose coming of the books after 2023 ownership should have enough payroll to add a piece or two.

    If that happens I would like to keep our pitching enact. I understand not trading Castillo and MHle is risky but I really feel trading off our quality players has never worked and I don’t think it will now.

    • Doc

      Trading quality players is a dilemma. You invest in them for 3-5 years to get them to the bigs, then you invest in them for another 2-3 years for them to reach their potential, and all you get for that investment is 2-4 years of production before they are off to somewhere else, either traded because you think you have to, or FA. Given the union strength we are not going to see a uniform payroll throughout the league, nor we will see a system of franchise player designation, nor anything else that will balance the scales. The penalties for going over the salary ‘cap’ are a joke when the several teams are rolling in revenue and can just write a check. Those penalties are just a way for MLB administration to be funded.

      Instead of the draft pick for losing a free agent, it might be better if the team losing the free agent gets its choice of any non-26 man roster player from the team who signs the free agent, but fat chance the union agrees to that. We’re stuck with a product that sucks for the less well-heeled teams, of which the Reds are one.

      • Jim t

        @Doc certainly agree that the economics of baseball need addressing. But it takes to sides to make a deal. Union and owners. A wise man once told me that if a organization has a union it probably deserves a union. As a fan who has followed baseball since the late 50’s I have seen the players scrap and claw for every inch. Salary, player movement and service time.

      • Still a Red

        I’m afraid the Reds newest strategy is get ’em young, bring ’em up when they’re 22-23. Keep ’em 5 and trade ’em and hope you get a good 22 year old in exchange. Maybe you keep a little stash around to fill in a hole (ala Pham). No more extended contracts.
        I do think losing a free agent, especially to one of the rich teams, deserves some compensation. I thought getting an extra early round pick was a good compromise. I guess the side have ’til July 25 to come up with an alternative.

  14. Jim Walker

    Those Louisville Bats won another game last night. The not as good news is that Tyler Stephenson is at or near golden sombrero territory. He had 3 K’s last night and 4K’s the night before. A person can’t help but wonder if his previously injured thumb is bothering him or whether he is just worn down from playing every day after a month or so of no game action. Then again, maybe it is some of both?

    Stuart Fairchild went 0 for 1 but kept his Louisville OPS >1 by taking a couple of walks. Today’s hint for the Reds front office is when they start pitching around a guy at AAA, maybe it is time to get him up to MLB before his timing loses its edge from not having pitches to hit or he starts swinging at bad pitches out of frustration.

    The biggest story of the game was the work of lefty starting pitcher Brandon Williamson, part of the return in the Winker/ Suarez salary dump. Williamson allowed just 1 run on 6 hits (4K/1BB) over 6 innings.

    • JB

      I for one would like Fairchild up but he won’t play here until after Aug 2nd. I have no problem I that right now. Showcase everybody you can and trade them for something. Then get the kids up .

    • Earmbrister

      I’m not worried about Ty Steve long term. The timing will return and despite some injuries I’d keep him at C. His bat is elite at C and merely average at 1B.

      I’m not sold on Fairchild, but in a lost season you can probably find some ABs for him. Trade Pham, but will he still get regular ABs in MLB? Why was Fairchild available on waivers and why has this team and others moved on from him?

      Williamson has had a rough year. Hopefully he has turned the corner. Too early to say if that was a good trade, but the early returns are promising.

      • greenmtred

        There’s the issue of durability, for one thing: Ty Steve shows the potential to be an elite, Votto-style hitter, and he’d have less wear and tear at first base. The other issue is positional hitting expectations: I’d think that the point is to get as many good hitters in the lineup as possible. Does it really matter if the first baseman is a high OBP doubles machine if there’s power elsewhere? And, anyway, which good-hitting player would Stephenson be blocking if he moved to first?

      • Earmbrister

        Green, how many good or great hitting catchers are out there? A half dozen? Maybe? Johnny Bench is elite at C, he’s average at 3B.

        How many good or great hitting first baseman are there?

        That’s why I like Senzel in centerfield. His hit tool is average in the infield, but could be well above average in CF.

        Gotta look for whatever edge you can find.

  15. Steven Ross

    From day one. I’ve backed Farmer 100% by asking critics: what’s he done wrong? The answer is nothing.

    Thankfully, being old school & not a fan of analytics, the bunt by Senzel was the right move. Pretty sure he did that on his own because Bell isn’t that creative.

    • Still a Red

      Yeah, but you gotta be able to put a good one down.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      My only qualm with Senzel bunting was that takes the bat out of the hands of the hottest hitter on the team, and leaves it up to Almora (slumping), Papierski, or Votto or Naquin as pinch-hitters. It all worked out. 🙂

      • Kevin ah

        Very valid point. I am a fan of bunting, hitting and running, and steals. Do you ask your hottest hitter to bunt and it worked, but as you mentioned you do take the bat out of his hands.

      • JA

        Sorry to disagree. It’s called small ball. It works, often. Specially when need one run only to win.
        Don’t need a hit to score from third with one out… there’s 13 ways to get that run, it’s said. One of the rare’s one came last night.

    • greenmtred

      More likely that he understands that bunts, while fun, produce fewer runs than just letting the hitters hit.

  16. Old-school

    Farmer is a like-able player who competes and plays hard and seems to be a great teammate and good guy.

    Farmer is a solid back-up MLB shortstop. He’s a better MLB utility player and he’s a fabulous RH bat against lefties. For a team that was so poor in that area in 2021, he’s a welcome relief in the lineup when the opposing team starts a lefty.

    That’s where the good news ends unfortunately. Farmer is a terrible hitter against RH pitching with little power. In 200 PA as a righty, Farmer has 0 home runs and a mere 9 doubles. There’s really no other way to interpret his stat lines.

    Against lefties: .380/.444/.704/1.149 ISO .324. WRC +210
    Against righties: .223/.291/.274/.565. ISO .050. WRC + 58

    Farmers career wRC+ against righties is 71.

    Against lefties, Kyle Farmer is a cross between Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds

    Against righties, he’s 42 % below league average hitting, which is in the neighborhood of the worst seasons of Billy Hamilton, Jose Peraza, and Tucker Barnhart ( wRC + 55).

    No, I don’t want Farmer’s bat in the lineup against righties

    • MBS

      I feel like you could do this exercise with 80% of batters. Very few batters have even splits. Just using Farmers righties #’s, his BA is above Votto, Moustakas, and in striking distance to Almora, Reynolds, and Pham. I left off India, Solano, Schrock just because they haven’t played much, but they’d be on the list of who is equivalent to Farmers weak side.

      So yes Farmer is not great, but he’s not nearly the biggest problem with the team. In fact he’s one of the few positives.

  17. SteveO

    Stephenson back in the lineup hitting 5th. JV still out