Cincinnati took a lead in the top of the 9th and then saw Kansas City tie things up in the bottom of the inning with a 2-out solo home run that sent the game into extras. After the Reds scored in the top of the inning the real fun began as Ricky Karcher came out for his big league debut and walked the tightest of tight ropes to strand the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position for a save in his first ever Major League game.
|Cincinnati Reds (32-35)
|Kansas City Royals (18-48)
|W: Farmer (2-3) L: Hernandez (0-4) SV: Karcher (1)|
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
The first inning did not go the way of the Cincinnati Reds. Matt McLain singled and was followed up by a single off of the bat of Jonathan India. McLain tried going first to third, but an absolutely perfect throw from MJ Melendez got him at the bag in a bang-bang play. A ground out could end the top of the inning.
In the bottom of the inning Luke Weaver got two quick outs and was ahead 0-2 on Melendez, but he singled on the third pitch and that got the Royals rolling. Bobby Witt Jr. walked and then Michael Massey doubled them both in as Kansas City took a 2-0 lead. They would add to their lead in the 2nd inning after Drew Waters walked, moved to third on a single, and then scored on a sacrifice fly. Cincinnati would get that run back when Stuart Fairchild led off the 3rd inning with a homer that made it 3-1.
In the bottom of the 5th the Royals got a leadoff walk from Nick Pratto and then a single from Salvador Perez. Luke Weaver was able to retire the next two batters, though Pratto moved to third on a fly out. That’s when Cincinnati made a call to the bullpen to bring in Alex Young to face off against Michael Massey and it paid off as he picked up a strikeout to end the inning.
Luke Maile led off the top of the 6th with a double off of the wall in center. TJ Friedl followed up with a double of his own to drive in Maile and make it a 3-2 ballgame. Matt McLain hit a high chopper to shortstop, which allowed Friedl to move up to third as the throw beat McLain to first. Jonathan India hit a grounder past a drawn in infield for an RBI single to tie the game up.
In the top of the 7th Will Benson lined a ball into the gap in right-center and tried to turn it into a triple, but the Reds didn’t learn the first time and tested MJ Melendez once again and they paid for it as the relay throw easily beat Benson to the bag. That may have been crucial as Luke Maile walked and TJ Friedl had a bloop double but both would be stranded on the bases and the game remained tied up.
Fernando Cruz took over for the bottom of the 7th inning and he made easy work of the Royals top of the order as he picked up two strikeouts in a perfect inning. In the top of the 8th it was former Reds closer Aroldis Chapman coming into the game to face the middle of the Cincinnati order. He would strike out the side, though it certainly appeared that Elly De La Cruz should have gotten a walk on the final pitch of his at-bat.
Casey Legumina took over for Cincinnati in the bottom of the 8th inning and walked Bobby Witt Jr. to start the inning. After a strikeout, Edward Olivares single into left to put runners on 1st and 2nd. That would be it for Legumina as the Reds called on Buck Farmer from the bullpen. Maikel Garcia lined out, but Witt Jr. tagged up and moved to third on the play. Olivares stole second base to put two men in scoring position, but Farmer took care of business by striking out Drew Waters to keep the game tied up and send it to the 9th.
Cincinnati began the top of the 9th inning with a single from Tyler Stephenson off of new reliever Scott Barlow. TJ Hopkins came on to pinch run for Stephenson and then Will Benson walked. Stuart Fairchild laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over and the move paid off as pinch hitter Kevin Newman hit a sacrifice fly to plate Hopkins and put the Reds up 4-3.
When the bottom of the 9th inning began it was Buck Farmer back to the mound and there was no action in the bullpen for Cincinnati. He got two ground outs to start the inning, but he threw a change up in the middle of the plate and Salvador Perez hit it 421 feet into the stands to tie the game up. A lazy fly ball would end the inning but the damage was done and onto the 10th it went.
The 10th inning began with TJ Friedl on second base as the Reds free runner. He moved over to third on a broken bat ground out to first base. Jonathan India battled for a 9-pitch at-bat and on that final pitch he grounded the ball to third and Friedl took off to the plate and was called out. Cincinnati quickly challenged both the fact that Salvador Perez was blocking the plate and that Friedl was potentially safe anyways. After the review there was no blocking of the plate, but the out call was overturned as the replay showed Friedl got his foot to the plate before the tag to give the Reds a 5-4 lead.
Ricky Karcher trotted in out of the bullpen for the bottom of the 10th inning to make his big league debut. He had an ERA of 9.27 and 34 walks in 22.1 innings for Triple-A Louisville this season. MJ Melendez began the inning on second as the Royals free runner. Five pitches later Bobby Witt Jr. found himself on first base after a walk. Nate Eaton then took over as a pinch runner for Melendez.
Michael Massey tried to bunt twice, with the second attempt being the luckiest foul ball he’s ever had in his life because the 98 MPH fastball from Karcher would have him him in the face if it didn’t hit his bat first. Two pitches later he flew out to center and neither runner could advance. That mattered little as both runners stole a base on the next pitch to put the tying and winning runs in scoring position. After badly missing the strikezone twice, an automatic strike was called for a pitch timer violation on Edward Oliveras. He then popped out for the second out of the inning. That brought Maikel Garcia to the plate. Karcher battled to a full count before getting Garcia to fly out to left field to end the game and pick up a save in his big league debut.
Key Moment of the Game
Curt Casali’s bottom of the 10th inning. He made numerous catches on pitches nowhere near the strikezone that could have advanced runners for Kansas City in the inning.
Notes Worth Noting
Ricky Karcher is the first Reds pitcher to be credited with a save in his big league debut. That comes with the asterisk that the save wasn’t something that existed until 1960, though. If we go back before that it has happened two other times – with the last being from Art Jacobs in 1939.
Tyler Stephenson picked up two more hits and is now 11-30 (.367) in the last eight games.
Elly De La Cruz saw his 6-game hitting streak to begin his career come to an end.
Elly De La Cruz is the 1st player to have 4 SB & 4 RBI in their first 7 career games since Vince Coleman in 1985.
Coleman won NL Rookie of the Year that season. pic.twitter.com/EZXWhRFrmj
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 13, 2023
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds vs Kansas City Royals
Tuesday June 13th, 8:10pm ET
Brandon Williamson (0-0, 5.40 ERA) vs Jordan Lyles (0-10, 6.84 ERA)