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Reds get strong pitching, still fall to Brew Crew on walk-off, 3-2

Cincinnati Reds v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

The list of expected Reds big-leaguers we have yet to see in spring training continues to grow smaller and smaller by the day, and that continued on Wednesday when Zack Cozart was placed in the lineup in the 2-hole, playing his typical shortstop role. Cozart immediately showed just how excited he was to finally get that first plate appearance, using his first swing of 2017 to launch a no-doubt solo bomb to left-field, just the third the Reds have hit as a team in the first six games of the spring. The bats on both sides were relatively quiet on a bright sunny day at Maryvale Baseball Park, especially so after the first inning, so even a 1-for-3 game like Cozart’s stood out when that one hit was a moonshot. For that, Cozart gets a trophy.

Honorable mentions go to Eugenio Suarez, who was 1-for-2 with an RBI double and a walk; Rookie Davis, who walked one and struck out two in two scoreless innings, Sal Romano, who allowed three hits and struck out one in two scoreless innings; Jackson Stephens, who worked around two walks and a hit to pitch two scoreless of his own, and Keury Mella, who pitched a scoreless inning of work as well.

Key Plays

  • Cozart’s bomb got this one started off on the right foot. Reds led up top 1-0.
  • Lisalverto Bonilla got the start on the bump for Cincinnati, and things got off to a rocky start. Keon Broxton led the game off with a dinger on the first pitch Bonilla threw, which was followed up with a double down the line by Jonathan Villar and an RBI single by Scooter Gennett. Hernan Perez then worked a walk before Domingo Santana got called out on strikes for the first out. One more walk and two more strikeouts later, Bonilla was finally out of the inning. Brew Crew led 2-1.
  • Tony Renda singled to begin the top of the third, to bring up one on and one out for Billy Hamilton, who laid down a nifty bunt to the right of Brewers pitcher Jacob Barnes. Barnes made a terrific play, however, moving to his right and firing an off-balance strike to first base to get the lightning-quick Hamilton flying down the line. The Reds came out of the inning empty, down 2-1.
  • The Reds knotted things up in the top of the fourth, and did so against a legitimate major league arm. With Neftali Feliz making his spring debut, Scott Schebler began the inning with a jam-shot single to center, and came around to score when Suarez lined a double to left field. Suarez moved to third on a grounder by Jesse Winker, but was stranded there to end the inning. Tie game, 2-2.
  • Both offenses slid into a lull for a few innings in the middle, thanks in some part to a pair of nice outings by Reds farmhands Romano and Stephens, each of whom pitched two scoreless frames.
  • The Reds appeared to have something cooking in the eighth when Aristides Aquino and Patrick Kivlehan each smoked singles to left with one out with Phil Ervin coming to the plate. But, during Ervin’s plate appearance, Aquino broke early for third on a stolen base attempt, and Brewers right-hander Aaron Wilkerson threw to third instead of going to the plate. Aquino was tagged out in the ensuing rundown, with Kivlehan advancing to second. Ervin would go on to work a nice walk, but Joe Hudson popped out to end the inning. Game still tied, 2-2.
  • The Brewers started working Ariel Hernandez early in the ninth inning, with Mauricio Dubon leading off with a walk and then advancing to second on a wild pitch. Ryan Cordell reached on an infield single, then reached second on defensive indifference to set up two in scoring position with nobody out. Two batters later, Lucas Erceg singled to right to send the Brewers home with a walk-off 3-2 win.

Me watching the Reds start the spring 0-6

Other Notes

  • Jackson Stephens’ curveball is pretty.
  • Today’s Red Report dug into what could be ahead for Eugenio Suarez, if you’re so inclined to read up on that.
  • Wick hopped on the Baseball By Dummies podcast for their Reds season preview, if you’d like to give that a listen as well. C. Trent Rosecrans is on the first half of the show, and there’s a lot of good stuff, including an anecdote about multiple scouts comparing Nick Senzel to David Wright. That’d be dope.
  • The Reds will be back to chase that elusive first win tomorrow at 3:05p.m. EST, against the dreaded Chicago Cubs. Amir Garrett will get the start on the mound against Rob Zastryzny.
  • Tunes.