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Brandon Finnegan returns to mound, Reds down Cleveland 7-6

He shook off some rust, and Jesse Winker hit a ball a billion feet.

Cincinnati Reds Photo Day Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Brandon Finnegan was far from perfect in his first Cactus League outing of the year, but merely being on a mound for the Cincinnati Reds is important enough for him at this juncture. After shoulder issues limited him to just 13 IP for the Reds in 2017, seeing him back and healthy - and flashing his full mix of pitches - was great to see on Tuesday against Cleveland.

He threw 30 pitches in his 2 IP, allowing just 2 hits in that time - one a homer to Francisco Lindor, the other a ball off his glove on a comebacker - while fanning and walking one batter each. It’s the first step for him on his path back to a spot in the Opening Day rotation, and all told it was a pretty solid one.

Welcome back, Brandon.

Honorable Mentions are due to: Jesse Winker, who homered, singled, scored twice, and drove in a pair; Scooter Gennett, who homered and singled; Scott Schebler, who doubled twice and drove in a run; Ben Revere, who tripled and drove in two runs; Zack Weiss, who fired a perfect inning with a K; and Brian O’Grady, who bashed a solo homer.

Key Plays

  • Lindor led off the game with a laser of a dinger over the LF wall off Finnegan, and the Reds were down immediately, 1-0.
  • Gennett poked his homer in the Bottom of the 2nd off Carlos Carrasco, taking a fastball on the outside of the plate and slicing it just inside the LF foul pole for an opposite field solo shot. Game tied, 1-1.
  • Jason Kipnis entered having homered in five consecutive spring games, and with Kevin Shackelford on the mound for the Top of the 3rd, he made that six consecutive games with a dinger, a 2-run shot after Lindor had walked in front of him. Reds trailed, 3-1.
  • Winker jumped into the dinger game in the Bottom of the 3rd, turning on a Carlos Torres hanger and launching it way, way, way over the RF wall. It was a solo shot, too, and the Reds trailed, 3-2.
  • Lindor had homered as a righty off Finnegan earlier, and in the Top of the 4th off Raisel Iglesias he dang near homered as a lefty. Instead, it was a double off the wall in deep CF, and it scored both Roberto Perez and Giovanny Urshela after their single and double, respectively. Reds trailed, 5-2.
  • The Reds rallied back in the Bottom of the 5th off lefty Shawn Morimando. Brandon Dixon and Jose Peraza led off with back to back singles, and both came in to score on Revere’s triple to the wall in CF. Revere then scooted home on Winker’s single into RF to tie things up, but the Reds weren’t yet done. Eugenio Suarez walked, Scooter singled, and that left the bases loaded for Schebler, who lifted a sac fly into LF to plate Winker. Reds led, 6-5.
  • O’Grady’s homer came in the Bottom of the 6th, a solo shot to RF that gave the Reds an insurance run. Reds led, 7-5.
  • Jesus Reyes fired a scoreless 7th inning, but turned over a pair of baserunners to Barrett Astin with 2-outs in the Top of the 8th. Astin got in on the hands of Drew Maggi, but his jam-shot managed to drop in behind 2B, and that allowed Greg Allen to score from 2B. Reds led, 7-6, and that’s how things ended.

Other Notes

  • Billy Hamilton was originally slated to leadoff for the Reds and play CF, but he was scratched before the start with an injury to his left index finger, the Reds announced.’s Mark Sheldon later confirmed it as a “sprained” left index finger, and that Hamilton is day to day.
  • Michael Lorenzen pitched for the Reds in a “B” game against the Texas Rangers earlier today in Surprise, but there’s been absolutely zero word on how he looked.
  • The Reds will travel to Glendale to take on the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday. Homer Bailey will get another start, with first pitch set for 3:05 PM ET, and rumor has it you might be able to watch it on Maybe.
  • Tunes.