The Cincinnati Reds left the tying and winning runs on second and third base in the 9th inning on Saturday night, coming up just short in a 4-3 loss to Toronto as the Blue Jays evened up the series at one game for each squad.

Final R H E
Toronto Blue Jays (68-56)
4 9 1
Cincinnati Reds (64-60)
3 6 1
W: Bassitt (12-6) L: Williamson (4-3) SV: Romano (30)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

After little action in the 1st inning, Toronto got moving in the 2nd when Alejandro Kirk singled with one out. Santiago Espinal then singled with two outs before Daulton Varsho bunted for a single to load the bases. Whit Merrifield then stepped up to the plate and hit a liner towards right field but Joey Votto leapt and snagged it for the final out of the inning to strand all three runners.

Two innings later the Blue Jays didn’t miss on their opportunity. Cavan Biggio started a 2-out rally with a single into right. Santiago Espinal walked to put Biggio in scoring position and Daulton Varsho came through with an RBI single to put Toronto on top 1-0. Whit Merrifield and Bo Bichette followed up with RBI singles of their own as the Blue Jays built a 3-0 lead.

Their lead didn’t last very long. TJ Friedl led off with a home run into the seats in right field. Matt McLain then followed with a walk. Elly De La Cruz then tripled in McLain, and when the throw to the infield got by the cutoff man, De La Cruz took home to tie the game up.

The tie didn’t last long as Davis Schneider homered with one out in the 5th inning to put Toronto back up by a 4-3 score. That’s where the game stayed without much action again until the bottom of the 7th when the Reds got back-to-back 1-out singles from Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Tyler Stephenson. Henry Ramos would ground into a force out, moving Encarnacion-Strand to third in the process. Stuart Fairchild then walked to load the bases, but a strikeout would end the Cincinnati threat.

Toronto would threaten in the top of the 9th, getting runners on the corners with two outs, but they couldn’t cash in to add to their 4-3 lead. Joey Votto would then lead off the bottom of the 9th with a walk and he was immediately pinch run for by Noelvi Marte, who was making his Major League debut. Christian Encarnacion-Strand followed with a line drive single into right field to move Marte up to second base. Tyler Stephenson would hit a shallow fly ball into right field that wasn’t deep enough to move any of the runners for the first out of the inning. That brought Henry Ramos to the plate. On the first pitch the Reds pulled off what appeared to be a double steal. The call was challenged at third base by the Blue Jays and the call returned as called on the field. Ramos, would strike out, leaving the game up to Stuart Fairchild. He would ground out on the first pitch he saw, ending the game and evening up the series at one game for each club.

Key Moment of the Game

The at-bats by Henry Ramos and Stuart Fairchild in the bottom of the 9th with a runner on third and they failed to get him in.

Notes Worth Noting

The stolen bases in the 9th inning by Noelvi Marte and Christian Encarnacion-Strand were the 1st of the career for each player.

Brandon Williamson allowed more than two earned runs (four in 5.2 innings tonight) for just the second time in his last nine starts.

Fernando Cruz (1.1 innings), Alex Young (1.0 inning), and Derek Law (1.0 inning) held the Blue Jays hitless out of the bullpen.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Toronto Blue Jays vs Cincinnati Reds

Sunday August 20th, 1:40pm ET

Hyun Jin Ryu (1-1, 2.57 ERA) vs Hunter Greene (2-4, 3.93 ERA)

66 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    Here’s to a strong return to the stage for Hunter Greene. Feels like we really need it before we head to the West Coast.

    Fun game tonight despite the heartbreak. Key moment notations are 100% accurate. Complete failure to launch/execute when needed.

    • Melvin

      Some of these guys act like they’re just learning how to play baseball. Benson with a boneheaded play in not running to first last night. Ramos swinging like he’s in a HR derby with two strikes when only needing to make contact to tie the game in the 9th inning. smh There really is NO EXCUSE for the players or the coaches for that stuff to go on. It happens on a regular basis. Just warm cuddly friends is not good enough. Tonight’s game is over. Gotta win tomorrow.

      • CI3J

        The players “love playing for Bell” because he does not hold them accountable when the fail to execute the fundamentals.

        Although I do wonder how much Barrero and Hopkins “love playing for Bell”…

      • Melvin

        Seemingly the players don’t get held accountable by Bell and Bell doesn’t get held accountable by the owners. Very tough to win consistently in a situation like that. These awesome rookies are the only reason we have a chance.

      • RedlegScott

        I agree with both of you guys. These youngsters need a manager who talks softly and carries a big stick, not a bench buddy. Players should execute or ride the pine. The same standard should be held to Bell.

      • Oldtimer

        The Reds have 11 rookies. They ARE just learning to play MLB.

      • Melvin

        Buddy the things they are messing up on have been taught since their Little League years. No excuse.

  2. RedlegScott

    Williamson not particularly sharp, but the pen was great in keeping the Jays in check. Obviously, that clutch hit wasn’t there. Correct me if I’m mistaken, but since the break, it really hasn’t been our pitching that’s failed us, it’s been the hitting. Tonight, we had one strong inning and that was it. Fraley’s absence is looking even more notable of late. Hopefully, Greene rights the raft tomorrow, but we need the offense to back him up.

    • Rob

      1st Half vs 2nd Half is entirely different from a hitting perspective. Scary part is which is more representative going forward? Steer 285 vs 260. Stephenson 275 vs 230. Friedl 310 vs 275. India 260 vs ? Senzel 250 vs 200. Votto ? vs 205. I dont have the answer and I certainly didnt expect it. But it is a real data point. Yes, I do think starting pitching is improved with Lively, Williamson, and Abbott giving us alot of 6 inning starts. Bullpen I think is down probably due to fatigue (and first half short starts). Think we lost 3-4 7th-8th inning leads in August already. Rarely happened in the first half. Reverse those 3-4 games and things start looking more rosy. All in all, I think we need to exercise some caution and prudance in judging the offense going forward. Besides health, we may need a couple of imports going forward …. especially C and RH OF.

  3. Melvin

    “Correct me if I’m mistaken, but since the break, it really hasn’t been our pitching that’s failed us, it’s been the hitting.”

    By and large that is exactly correct. If we would have been hitting post all-star break as we were in June with this pitching we would have a considerable lead in first place.

    • Roger Garrett

      Yep and thats what will get us in or keep us out of the play offs.Its going to be all up to the young guys.Votto is a one trick pony right now so unless he mashes well he is of no use.

    • RedlegScott

      Or even close to June’s hitting, Melvin. Today was another game with double-digit strike outs and that missing clutch hit. If we don’t get some hot sticks going, we’re in trouble. Fairchild, Ramos, Stephenson, and lately Benson all struggling won’t cut it.

  4. Melvin

    I would like to see India and Fraley come back even if they can’t run well just for pinch hitting purposes. Our bench is not very strong at the moment.

      • Melvin

        Thanks for the info. Unless I heard wrong I thought Fraley said in an interview tonight that he’s pushing to come back with the reassurance that he can’t make his toe worse until surgery in the off season.

      • LDS

        He did. He thinks or has been told that a full break vs. the partial fracture now both require surgery and have similar recovery times. That may be true but I sure wouldn’t chance it. And I doubt he’ll run the same with a fractured foot.

  5. Roger Garrett

    Ramos for Benson in the 7th turned out to be huge.Ramos up twice with two on and well did not do so good.Easy to second guess but Romano even with two on and no out had the advantage over the 3 hitters he was going to face.Not sure how or what else could have taken place.Tyler of course had the key at bat but we know and they knew who was up next.It is what it is but a rookie just called up hitting twice with 2 on down 1 is just not ideal.

    • Rick

      Even with his issues I’d prefer Siani replacing Ramos. He’d add speed and defense and might run into a hit here or there.
      We just needed a choked up liner over the infield by Tyler or Ramos. Players have to take ownership of situational baseball upon themselves. It’s obvious that it’s not being taught.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Sorry, but Ramos was an easy out in a critical situation. YOu guys all talk about all these other guys, but personally I would rather see Alejo Lopez. Contact hitter, great utility, somewhat fast and can hit for average. Ramos is unfortunately living up to his reputation, which is a good minor league player, but not ML. And I don’t hate the guy or anything, just looks like he is what he is.

  6. Mark A Verticchio

    For all the positives this year they are still only 4 games over .500 and are in the playoff chase because everybody else has also played right around .500. I still believe with better fundamentals this team would be 10 over and in much better shape.

  7. Roger Garrett

    Just to be clear I am not knocking Ramos nor Bell.Ramos is not any different then most of these young guys.First at bat swings on first pitch and grounds out.In the ninth he goes down on 3 straight at 98 or better.Bell thought he was the best option in both cases so we play on.

  8. RedsGettingBetter

    I don’t know but the game depending on Ramos and Fairchild ABs in the ninth is something ugly…

    • Jim Walker

      IMO Stephson failing to advance the runner belongs in that mix too. Ramos did not get the job done; but, it is an entirely different PA if the guy is standing at 3B with 1 out and fresh count on the batter versus not at 3B until after the batter is down 0-1.

  9. Redlegs1869

    I’d add that failed AB’s by Stephenson, Ramos, and Fairchild were all key moments. Honestly. Who on here felt confident with those three coming up with runners on? Stephenson? Nah. Just glad he popped out instead of grounding o to another DP. He’s lost. No timing. No power. No opposite field hitting as he used to do. Totally lost. Maybe it’s the injuries. Time will tell. Ramos? Bless his heart. He’s showing why he’s a career minor leaguer. Too big a moment for him. Fairchild? He’s good an offensive highlight once per month. Throw in a scuffling Votto (yeah he hits some homers and walks some, I know), a now struggling Benson, Elly maybe giving one highlight every couple weeks between boatloads of K’s, no India, no Fraley, and where are the rims gonna come from? Young guys will get better. We just don’t have enough bullets I’m out gun. Too many blanks in the revolver. Kudos to Kennedy last night and Williamson tonight for keeping us in the game.

    • Rednat

      Good post. We really struggle to score run’s especially at home

    • Rick

      I had 0% confidence In those 7, 8, & 9th place hitters. And Stuey loves that down and in rollover pitcher’s pitch anyway with his weird batting mechanics.

    • DataDumpster

      Yep. Bell makes a good call for the double steal and it seems the game was nearly in the bag or at least tied. Agree with the original post about having no confidence in the next 3 hitters. Wasn’t Maile or anything else available to pinch hit for any of those guys? I guess if there isn’t a handedness angle, it doesn’t seem to happen with Bell. Again, with the pitching holding the game in balance, the win cannot be secured. Where would this team be without all the young pitchers holding their ground?

      • Jim Walker

        They didn’t the runner to 3b until Ramos was down 0/1 in the count. It is still on him to get the guy home but it is an entirely different scenario if Ramos comes to the plate with the tying run already at the plate.

  10. Redsvol

    Doug’s game recap tells the story. Mainly hitters not executing with runners in scoring position.

    Decently pitched game. A lot of hitters with zeros in their stat line but Toronto played well too.

  11. Rednat

    A type of game that I remember winning consistently at riverfront stadium. Not so much at gabp. Just not enough hitting

    • TR

      No doubt a tough game to lose, especially with runners in scoring position representing the tying and winning run with one out. It happens with all teams, occasionally. These are exciting times in Reds land. It’s nice to see 40,000 plus in the ball park.

    • doofus

      Whenever there was a need for a key hit to score someone, “Dawgie” Perez would deliver. Those were the days.

      This team does not seem to deliver with RISP. Depending upon Ramos and Fairchild to deliver in the clutch highlights the lack of depth on this squad.

      Will CES be the next “Dawgie.” I do not know why, but he reminds me of Tony Perez.

      Please excuse my Sunday morning rant.

      • Jim Walker

        Agree there is something about CES that brings Tony to mind. CES doesn’t hold his bat the same or address the pitcher the same but there is something in his body language and the way he carries himself.

  12. LT

    Bottom of line up was our strength a couple months back but it’s a weak link now. I think this is where India and Fraley being out hurts us because we have to move Steer up. Steer, Benson and TS/Mail was money during the two magical months of May/June. Batting 7,8,9.

  13. LT

    Fish lost twice and SF also lost. We lost ground to Brewers and Cubs. Arizona is rising from ash, on a food winning streak.

  14. Rick

    Looking forward to seeing Marte starting at 3b tomorrow. And really ecstatic in seeing Greene back Sunday!
    Hoping for Antone & Lodolo not to much farther behind Hunter.

  15. old-school

    Frustrating loss for sure but Reds have a knack of winning some tough series at home against good teams. They won home series against the Dodgers and the O’s and padres and Dbacks so need a win today and they get a series against a playoff team.

    In the big picture, its been announced that Marte is the every day 3b going forward with Elly and McLain every day SS/2b and Steer flexing to LF some and job share at 1b/DH with CES and Votto. Watching a young lineup play everyday is refreshing, even if they struggle. Krall said October 2022 that the roster will look radically different by October 2023 and it’s here in August 2023. This will help identify needs for 2023 as well.( outfield bat at the minimum and lefty bat at DH not named Votto.)

    Go Reds

  16. Mark

    A new starting catcher is a need going forward TS is not the answer any longer.

    • Redlegs1869

      I agree that his time is almost up. I’d guess the try to resign Maile while they give Stephenson one final look. But with what we’ve seen them do with struggling players like Senzel, Myers, Akiyama, and Moose, TySteve is on a shorter leash. And he knows it.

      • Pete

        Catching appears to be the weakest link in the organization. There is nothing yet at the upper levels that may help. For whatever reason they don’t believe Chuckie Robinson can succeed at the major league level. We should trust her judgment at this point. I don’t foresee a lot of trades in the off-season, but a trade for an upgrade at backstop is certainly very possible.

  17. Doc

    When one objectively thinks about where the team is, with the exception of Votto our starting lineup at present is eight players who are rookies, or are just barely out of rookie status. Our pitching staff is similarly composed, and for the last two months has not included the two #1 draft picks. It is remarkable that this team continues to hang in there. Whether they make the playoffs or not, the fact that they remain in the hunt, and won their 62nd game a month or two earlier than they did last year despite fielding a team that last year was in AA to AAA is an incredible turnaround. Whatever happens the rest of this year is the whipped cream and cherry on top of the sundae. Too bad so many commenters here don’t seem to appreciate all the good that is taking place.

    • Pete

      For many only time will offer perspective. But your observations are right on the target. This is only the beginning of the beginning.

    • Redlegs1869

      +100. But we fans always want just a bit more.

    • Indy Red Man

      Because that’s not how competition works.
      They’re here and no guarantees they’ll get back. Cease, Kopech, and Giolito with Roberts, Jimenez, Anderson, and Abreu. The White Sox were supposed to have a bright future and how’d that work out.
      Poor coaching and they didn’t play the right way. Yeah I’m very optimistic about this young core, but you build it the right way by high baseball IQ and competing under pressure

      • Indy Red Man

        Moncada too. The WS were supposedly can’t miss

      • Pete

        It’s not exclusive to the major league club, however. The whole system has taken such a giant leap forward as to be almost incomprehensible. Just going to have to show patience. I will guarantee you that when we look at the 26 man roster going into the opening day of next year, we will be salivating with anticipation. What more could a baseball fan ask for to start a new campaign? This is a precursor what we are experiencing at the moment.

      • VaRedsFan

        Agree with Indy.
        There’s never a time you should settle for mediocrity in competition.
        Your goals should be:

        World Series
        NL Champs
        Win division
        Win a playoff series
        Make playoffs

        While finishing .500 or a little better might look great compared to last year, that’s a very low bar to leap over.
        Aim higher folks.
        Stop being complacent.
        Demand excellence.
        Society today has become so soft.

      • Melvin

        “Aim higher folks.
        Stop being complacent.
        Demand excellence.”

        You got it.

  18. JB

    Why is Hopkins on the team? If the Reds are just looking for him to pinch run then bring up Siani. Siani is on the 40 . If the Reds are going younger with all the rookies ,then why is Ramos getting Reps? Hopkins should at least be getting some starts and playing time to see if he is a part of the future. He has had 27 at bats. We know what Fairchild is. He is a 5th outfielder.

    • Indy Red Man

      Can Hopkins play CF? That might be part of it? I’d try him since nobody else is running with it. Ramos & Stuey have a good eye, but don’t hit enough. Senzel wasn’t hacking it either.

    • Jim t

      At this point in the season I’m playing the guys I think give me the best chance to win. When we are eliminated from the post season races then you can be a bit looser with the lineup. To this point I give the coaches a high grade with playing the youngsters and staying competitive.

  19. doofus

    An excerpt from a C. Trent Rosecrans article about last night’s game from the Athletic. The last sentence had me laughing.

    “Down a run, Votto led off the ninth against Toronto Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano with a four-pitch walk.

    On the bench, Reds center fielder TJ Friedl looked at athletic trainer Tomás Vera and asked if Marte was fast. Marte is the team’s top prospect, but he didn’t exactly have the hype around him getting to the big leagues as Elly De La Cruz, who was the top prospect in the game when he debuted in June.

    Vera looked at Friedl and said, “Well, I think he’s faster than Joe.””

  20. VaRedsFan

    I’m excited to see Marte play today.
    However, I don’t think he should be handed the keys to all future starts at 3B, as Bell stated in an interview. Can they let him succeed a little first.
    If a player is going to be great, or good even, he doesn’t need the “everyday starter” label to relieve performance pressure.

    • Pete

      Perhaps it isn’t Bell’s decision??

      • Jim Walker


        Agree, suspect Bell was told Marte was not brought up to sit and watch.

  21. Jim t

    Very interested to see how Greene looks today. Our rotation on paper looks very good.

    Now it’s time to produce. The bullpen has looked better recently as well. Let’s score some runs and win this division.

    • Redsvol

      It is time for Greene, lodolo and ashcraft to start producing. Those 3 were in starting lineup in April and most of may and team did not do well. Of course much of that was due to failure of hitting but it’s a team game.

      I’ve been very encouraged with the progress of Williamson, Ashcraft and Abbott. I’m a bit concerned that lodolo’s absences are going to cause him to chronically be behind in the development vs service time curve before he gets expensive.

  22. Pete

    Lineup posted:

    Fairchild – rf
    McLain – 2b
    De La Cruz – ss
    Steer – lf
    Votto – dh
    CES – 1b
    Marte – 3b
    Friedl – cf
    Maile – c

    Toronto starting pitcher: Ryu (LHP)

    • Grand Salami

      Don’t love Votto in there at all. Even if he’s slumping Stephenson probably the better choice for a lefty. If Votto plays against a lefty he should be moved down

      • Pete

        If Joey Votto returns for the 2024 season and I believe he will, I predict he will be more difficult to overcome than David Bell. The base running and fielding are bigger issues to me than even the spotty hitting. It would be nice if he only was the designated hitter in the future.

      • Jim Walker

        My 1st thought was the same as yours but when I checked, since August 1, Votto has an OPS of 1.400 vs LH pitching vs TS at (a not shabby) .930.

        Votto is more likely to reach base or get an extra base hit but also more likely to K.

    • Melvin

      Nothing against Fairchild but we have our worst hitter in the lineup leading off and getting the most ABs
      . smh Sheesh We are in a pennant race trying to win Mr. Bell.