The new Joey Votto era began with a bang as the Reds first baseman homered, singled, and walked in his first game back from shoulder and biceps surgery. Votto’s single was a 2-run, go-ahead hit in the 6th inning and it helped lead Cincinnati to a 5-4 win over the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.
|Colorado Rockies (29-46)
|Cincinnati Reds (38-35)
|W: Young (1-0) L: Gomber (4-7) SV: Diaz (19)|
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
Brandon Williamson, who the Reds weren’t even saying was going to for sure start the game less than 24 hours earlier, worked a quick top of the 1st inning. Kevin Newman made sure his counterpart wasn’t going to do the same as he clobbered a home run to lead off the bottom of the inning to put the home team up 1-0.
In the second inning it was time for Joey Votto to step to the plate for the first time in 10 months.
— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) June 19, 2023
Votto would line out to center, but Nick Senzel had his back and followed up with a solo home run – a 415-foot shot into left center – that put the Reds up 2-0.
Colorado would get on the board in the top of the 4th inning when Elias Diaz hit a homer into the upper deck down the left field line to cut the Rockies deficit to 2-1. Jorge Alfaro followed up with a double, but Brandon Williamson picked up a strikeout of Nolan Jones and got Brenton Doyle to pop up to avoid any further damage in the inning and hold onto a lead.
Joey Votto came back to the plate to lead off the 5th inning and he was ready to hand out a souvenir, hitting the first pitch he saw 10 rows deep into the seats in right field to extend the Cincinnati lead to 3-1.
Cincinnati’s lead didn’t last all that long. The Rockies got back-to-back singles to lead off the 6th against Brandon Williamson. The Reds went to the bullpen and called on Buck Farmer, but he allowed an RBI single and an RBI double to the first two hitters he faced and the game was tied up at 3-3 and there were still no outs in the inning. Farmer then walked Nolan Jones to load the bases. With two men warming in the bullpen, David Bell opted to stick with him to face Brenton Doyle and he picked up a strikeout for the first out of the frame. Farmer then struck out Coco Montes. Colorado then called on Mike Moustakas to come off of the bench to hit for Connor Kaiser. The Reds countered by calling on Alex Young to try and get an advantage in a lefty-lefty showdown. It didn’t work as the former Red worked a bases loaded walk to put the Rockies up 4-3. A ground out would follow to end the inning.
Mike Moustakas helped get the Reds offense moving in the right direction in the bottom of the inning by making an error on a Jonathan India grounder. The next play was another grounder to Moustakas and this time Elly De La Cruz beat the throw for an infield single. That led to a pitching change. It didn’t make a difference because Jake Bird came in and walked Spencer Steer to load the bases. That brought Joey Votto to the plate with the bases loaded and he singled into center to plate India and De La Cruz and gave the Reds a 5-4 lead.
Fernando Cruz took over for Cincinnati in the top of the 7th inning and he needed just 13 pitches to send all three hitters he faced back to the dugout. In the bottom of the inning the Reds tried to get a 2-out rally going after Matt McLain was hit by a pitch and Jonathan India singled into center. That brought Elly De La Cruz to the plate but not before the pitching coach headed out for a chat with Daniel Bard. Whatever he said worked as he got De La Cruz to ground out to second base to end the inning.
When the 8th inning began the Reds called on Lucas Sims to take the mound. He began the inning by hitting Jorge Alfaro to put the tying run on base. That would be the only runner to get on as Sims locked in and retired the next three batters. Spencer Steer singled to lead off the bottom of the 8th inning. Joey Votto then walked, but he was pinch run for by Will Benson after he got down to first base. Jake Fraley grounded into a force out, putting runners on the corners against Brad Hand with one out and Tyler Stephenson coming to the plate.
Fraley stole second base on the first pitch to Stephenson, leading to a mound visit from the catcher. That lasted long enough for the manager to slowly walk out to the mound and make a pitching change mid at-bat. Justin Lawrence came in and threw two strikes to send Stephenson back to the dugout for the second out of the inning. The Rockies intentionally walked TJ Friedl to load the bases and face Kevin Newman. It was a move that paid off as Newman grounded out to strand three and send the game to the 9th.
Alexis Diaz entered the game in the 9th inning and he immediately gave up back-to-back singles to Mike Moustakas and Jurickson Profar, giving the Rockies runners on the corners with no outs. Diaz would rebound and strike out Randal Grichuk and Ryan McMahon. That led to Diaz versus Elias Diaz with the game on the line and Diaz came out on top, getting Diaz to ground out to Elly De La Cruz to end the game. Cincinnati picked up their 9th consecutive win and Diaz remained a perfect 19-for-19 in save opportunities.
Key Moment of the Game
Joey Votto’s 2-run single in the bottom of the 6th inning that put the Reds up for good.
Notes Worth Noting
Joey Votto was the only Red to have two hits in the game. He was the only Red to reach base three times in the game. Welcome back.
Joey Votto hit a HR in his first game of the season tonight.
He's now homered in his season debut for the 4th time in his career, tying Hall of Famer Tony Perez for the most HR in player's season debut for the Reds since 1900. pic.twitter.com/iTY4GnvoAe
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 20, 2023
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Colorado Rockies vs Cincinnati Reds
Tuesday June 20th, 7:10pm ET
Kyle Freeland (4-8, 4.48 ERA) vs Ben Lively (4-4, 4.07 ERA)