It wasn’t easy. And it wasn’t pretty. But the Cincinnati Reds headed to Kansas City to begin this week and walked off of the field on Wednesday night with a 3-game sweep after committing four errors and needing two pitchers in the 9th inning to hold on for a 7-4 win. It was Cincinnati’s 5th victory in a row.
|Cincinnati Reds (34-35)
|Kansas City Royals (18-50)
|W: Lively (4-4) L: Lynch (0-3) SV: Diaz (17)|
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
Ben Lively found himself in trouble in the bottom of the 1st inning when he gave up back-to-back 2-out singles to MJ Melendez and Bobby Witt Jr. that also included an error that put them at second and third base. He got out of the jam by striking out Michael Massey to end the inning. In the top of the 2nd inning Spencer Steer got the Reds rolling with a 414-foot solo home run.
Kansas City would get a little rally going in the bottom of the 3rd. Nick Pratto led off with a double and came around to score on a single by Bobby Witt Jr. that tied up the game. That single led to runners on second and third with one out, but Lively worked his way around both runners to escape with just one run allowed.
That turned out to be big because the Reds went to work in the top of the 4th after Matt McLain bunted for a single to lead off the inning. Three pitches later Jonathan India hit a bloop double into shallow left field that clanked off of the glove of a diving left fielder and allowed McLain to score on the play and give Cincinnati a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the 5th the Reds started playing home run derby. Stuart Fairchild hit a 1-out solo home run. Matt McLain came up with two men on and two outs and hit a 428-foot 3-run home run that made it 6-1. Jonathan India then followed with a solo homer of his own to extend the lead to 7-1.
Kansas City would get to Ben Lively in the bottom of the 6th. Edward Olivares led off with a single and would come around to score on a 2-out double from Dairon Blanco that cut the Reds lead to 7-2. Cincinnati went to the bullpen from there, bringing in Alex Young to face lefty Nick Pratto and the move paid off as he would ground out to end the inning.
Young returned to the mound to begin the bottom of the 7th and gave up a triple off of the wall in center to start the inning. A ground out followed to bring in the run and made it 7-3. Michael Massey walked to follow and Cincinnati then went to the bullpen and brought in Buck Farmer. He’d give up a single, but work around two men on by getting Nicky Lopez to ground out to end the inning with no further damage and hold onto a 4-run lead.
Fernando Cruz pitched a shutout bottom of the 8th inning for the Reds. Cincinnati went quietly in the top of the 9th, setting up Daniel Duarte for the opportunity to close out the series with three outs before giving up four runs. After getting a ground out to start the inning he gave up a single and a walk before getting a grounder to third that Kevin Newman threw over the head of Spencer Steer at first, bringing in a run and placing runners on second and third.
That was enough for David Bell who called on Alexis Diaz to try and lock things down. Instead he hit the first batter he saw to load the bases. Diaz did what he does, though. He locked in, struck out Freddy Fermin and then got a grounder to short to end the game and seal the Cincinnati Reds sweep.
Key Moment of the Game
Alexis Diaz coming in and closing out the game, stranding the bases loaded in the 9th.
Notes Worth Noting
Cincinnati is now 34-35 and just 1.5 games out of first place in the National League Central.
Matt McLain is now hitting .328/.379/.516 through his first 28 big league games.
Alexis Diaz picked up his 17th save in his 17th opportunity. He lowered his ERA to 1.61 on the year. Diaz now has 50 strikeouts in 28.0 innings in 2023.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds vs Houston Astros
Thursday June 16th, 8:10pm ET
Andrew Abbott (2-0, 0.00 ERA) vs TBA