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Reds blow 3-run lead in 9th inning, lose to Cubs in extra innings


David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

With the World Series champion Chicago Cubs and ace Jon Lester rolling into town on Friday, it was easy to preemptively dismiss the Cincinnati Reds and journeyman Tim Adleman in this one.

That would've been the wrong thing to do, however, despite the eventual result in the win/loss column.

Adleman struck out 7 and allowed just 2 ER in his 6 IP, and added a 2-run double to his ledger as a hitter in an outing that he'll surely remember fondly for years. Considering he was bypassed as a starter based on his rough Cactus League outings and carries little to no former prospect status, it's easy to see why Adleman consistently gets overlooked. However, he keeps finding ways to be effective when finally given the chance, and it's hard to envision him not being tasked with at least another start as the Reds sort out their beleaguered rotation going forward.

Honorable Mentions are due to:  Eugenio Suarez, who had a 2 hit evening that included a double, run scored, and a walk; Tucker Barnhart, who went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored (and also walked); Drew Storen, who fired a scoreless inning in relief; Zack Cozart, who doubled in a run and scored; and Adam Duvall, who homered and stole a bag.

Key Plays

  • Adleman had largely cruised through the first few innings, but he left a meatball over the plate against Jason Heyward in the Top of the 4th, and the Chicago RF mauled it halfway up the seats for his first dinger of the season. Reds trailed, 1-0.
  • The red-hot combo of Suarez and Cozart got the Reds level in the Bottom of the 4th, as the two hit back to back doubles off Jon Lester to bring the score to 1-1. Not to be outdone, after the Cubs chose to walk Tucker Barnhart intentionally to bring Adleman to the plate, Cincinnati’s pitcher smoked a 2-run double to the wall in left-center to bring in both runners. Reds led, 3-1.
  • Javier Baez wasn’t about to let the Reds run away and hide with that lead, however, and he promptly smoked a solo homer over the wall in left-center in the Top of the 5th to bring the Cubs back within a run. Reds led, 3-2.
  • Duvall made mincemeat of that run in the Bottom of the 5th, however, when he hit an opposite-field dinger of his own off Lester to put the Reds ahead, 4-2.
  • A walk to pinch-hitter Patrick Kivlehan ended Lester's evening in the Bottom of the 6th after Barhart had already reached via single, and back to back walks to the unlikeliest of Cincinnati walkers - Hamilton and Jose Peraza - by Justin Grimm walked in a run to play add-on. That left Joey Votto at the plate as the rain came down, but while he cracked a laser on a 3-2 pitch, it went right at the CF. Still, the Reds led, 5-2.
  • After that, Michael Lorenzen pitched in, through, and around danger on seemingly every pitch in Top of the 8th, yet he was still tasked with pitching the Top of the 9th. After he managed to jam Kris Bryant with 2-on in the 9th to escape damage, he served up a meatball to Anthony Rizzo that got destroyed over the RF wall to tie the game, 5-5.  Gah.
  • In the Top of the 11th, Robert Stephenson came in to pitch for Cincinnati, and things went for him as they have in recent appearances. After Albert Almora looked thoroughly confused in each of his previous appearances, Stephenson walked him after having him down 0-2 in the count. It haunted, as those things do, after Kyle Schwarber singled to move him to 3B and a sac-fly from Bryant to LF brought him in. Reds trailed, 6-5.
  • After that, Wade Davis made quick work of the Reds, and the good guys lost, 6-5. Blergh.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • Tonight's loss ensures the Reds will have a losing record on this 10 game homestand.
  • It rained through over half of the game tonight, which is never fun in mid-April.
  • Before tonight's game, the Reds placed reliever Tony Cingrani on the 10-day DL with an oblique injury, which further depleted the team's pitching depth.
  • To fill his roster spot - at least for the time being - the Reds called up OF Phillip Ervinthough that may well just be in a cup of coffee role akin to Jesse Winker's last weekend. We'll see, but Ervin has been off to a hot start with AAA Louisville.
  • The soon-to-be Red Devin Mesoraco had another solid start in his rehab stint tonight, as Doug Gray noted.
  • What a disappointing way to lose.
  • Cody Reed will finally get a start for the Reds on Saturday after his kick-ass start to the year from the bullpen. He’ll be opposed by former Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta - who no-no’d the Reds almost exactly a year ago - with first pitch set for 1:10 PM ET in Great American Ball Park.
  • Tunes.