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Sal Romano excellent in 7 IP, Reds rally late to top Cubs 4-2

Jose Peraza’s big 2-run pinch hit turned the tides late.

San Diego Padres v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

A Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher allowed just 2 ER in a 7 inning outing against the Chicago Cubs, who just so happened to win the World Series just last year. He was a rookie, too - imagine that!

Sal Romano’s Thursday night outing was exactly the kind of August outing we’ve all been hoping to see from young Cincinnati starters. In this transition year, it wasn’t at all outlandish to expect Romano, Robert Stephenson, Cody Reed, and the like to struggle and get hit hard early. That’s how these things work, usually. But what we’ve all been waiting for is to see, as the season wears on, whether they can take their lumps and find ways to improve, and so far, Romano appears to be the rookie who has been managing to find a way to do just that.

His final line: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K on exactly 100 pitches, and the outing lowered his season ERA under 5 to 4.96 - a rather monumental achievement on this particular staff. Congrats, Sal, and here’s to seeing a continued strong finish to the season.

Honorable Mentions are due to: Jose Peraza, who chipped in with a huge 2-run pinch hit double to put the Reds in front; Joey Votto, who singled, doubled, and drove in a run; Eugenio Suarez, who singled, walked twice, and scored; Michael Lorenzen, who K’d 3 in his IP; and Raisel Iglesias, who nailed down his 24th save of the season.

Key Plays

  • Ian Happ opened the scoring ledger in the Top of the 2nd, as the former University of Cincinnati star lifted a solo dinger into the first few rows in the RF seats off Romano to put the Reds in an early 1-0 deficit.
  • The Reds leveled in the Bottom of the 4th, however. Zack Cozart ended up on 2B when his grounder down the 3B line went under the glove of Kris Bryant, and Votto followed by looping a single down the RF line to drive in the run. Game tied, 1-1.
  • Bryant doubled with 1-out in the Top of the 6th, and after getting a 2nd out by inducing an Anthony Rizzo pop-up, the Reds chose to intentionally walk Happ after he’d reached a 3-ball count. That brought Javier Baez to the plate, who promptly smoked a Romano fastball into LF for an RBI single that left the Reds trailing, 2-1.
  • A Cozart single in the Bottom of the 6th was followed by a double off the LF wall by Votto, but Cozy was thrown out at home on a great relay throw to negate the scoring chance. The Reds later loaded the bases and chased Jake Arrieta, but Brian Duensing got Jesse Winker to ground out to end the threat. Reds still trailed, 2-1.
  • So, Cincinnati entered the Bottom of the 8th trailing 2-1 with Pedro Strop on the mound. That turned out well, however, as they managed to mount a 2-out rally. Adam Duvall began things with a single into LF, and he moved all the way to 3B on Scooter Gennett’s double into LF. That brought Suarez to the plate, who was intentionally walked after Strop reached a 3-ball count on him, and Peraza then responded with a pinch-hit 2-run double to the wall in left-center to put Cincinnati back in front. Later, Strop chucked a bouncy wild pitch, and Suarez scooted home to put the Reds ahead, 4-2.
  • After that, Iglesias managed to make quick enough work of the Cubs in the Top of the 9th, and the Reds went home with a 4-2 win.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • It was revealed on Thursday that catcher Stuart Turner will leave the team tomorrow and head back to Louisiana as he and his wife are expecting their first child to be born over the weekend. That normally wouldn’t cause a huge roster ripple, but with Tucker Barnhart and his wife also expecting a child in the coming days, the Reds are hoping they can juggle things to not have both of them inactive at the same time.
  • A catcher will be added to the roster when Turner is placed on paternity leave, though the Reds haven’t announced which player that will be. Chad Wallach is probably the best combination of “highest rated prospect” and “has AAA experience,” and while he’s struggled in AAA this year (.678 OPS), I believe he’ll have to be added to the 40-man roster prior to this winter’s Rule 5 Draft anyway should the Reds want to protect him. So, it could well be him.
  • The Reds will welcome the Pittsburgh Pirates to town for a 3-game weekend series that will begin on Friday. Ivan Nova and Robert Stephenson will get the starts for their respective teams in that one, with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.
  • Tunes.