The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Eugenio Suarez blasted yet another 2-run dinger, singled, and is now hitting an incredible .315/.405/.590 on the season, with 19 dingers and an NL-best 68 runs driven in. If the Cincinnati Reds 3B doesn’t hear his name called tonight in tonight’s All Star selection show, well, it just might be time to bust out your pitchforks and storm the Bastille.
Congrats, Geno, and keep on swingin’ that fiery hot dinger bat - especially if your manager decides to ask you to bunt, for some reason.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Billy Hamilton, who walked, singled, scored twice, swiped bags, scrambled brains, yelled ‘BATTERRRR, BATTTTERRRR, SWING!’ while on the bases, lost his helmet a time or four in full sprint, pestered Lester, and showed us a big ol’ fun good time of baseball; Adam Duvall, who blasted a mammoth solo homer to extend play; and Jose Peraza, who singled twice, walked, swiped a bag, and ribbied.
- Luis Castillo struggled with command early, and often, unfortunately. He threw his 48th pitch of the game before recording his 4th out, and he’d allowed 2 runs already at that point. After escaping a jam in the Bottom of the 1st, he opened the Bottom of the 2nd by walking Kyle Schwarber, allowing an Ian Happ single, and then serving up a 2-run double to Addison Russell via meatball over the plate. Reds trailed early, 2-0.
- Billy ball pestered Jon Lester for the first time in the Top of the 3rd, as Hamilton’s 2-out double and eventual steal of 3B preceded Jose Peraza’s RBI-single (though Peraza was thrown out trying to make it an RBI-double). Reds trailed, 2-1.
- Joey Votto walked in front of Suarez in the Top of the 4th, and as has happened so often in those cases this year, Suarez bonked Votto in - this time with yet another 2-run dinger, this one a laser over the LF wall. Reds led, 3-2.
- Castillo again ran into trouble in the Bottom of the 4th, however. A leadoff double by Schwarber was followed by another Happ single that put runners on the corners, and Schwarber later scored on a Russell ground-out. Game tied, 3-3.
- Billy put Lester in a corner once again in the Top of the 5th, coaxing a 2-out walk off the Chicago ace. He then took off to steal 2B, and after the throw by Willson Contreras skipped into CF, Billy raced all the way around 3B and came home on the play, scoring when Albert Almora’s throw home short-hopped Contreras and kicked away. Reds led, 4-3, because HAVOC.
- Speaking of HAVOC, it bit the Reds in the ass, too, this time in huge spot in the Bottom of the 7th. Michael Lorenzen had pitched rather well prior to allowing a 2-out single to Almora, which prompted Jim Riggleman to turn to LOOGY Kyle Crockett to face Jason Heyward. That didn’t work, however, as Heyward singled into RF to put runners at the corners. Riggleman then turned to David Hernandez, who got a grounder off the bat of Javy Baez, but that trickled past Peraza into CF, somewhow, allowing Almora to score and tie things. Unfortunately, Billy simply flipped the ball back towards 2B, where Peraza was still on his knees, and by the time Scooter Gennett picked up the ball Heyward had already turned on the jets to come home, and he beat the throw easily as the Reds napped their way into trailing 5-4. Ugh.
- Fortunately for the Reds, Duvall stepped up largely in the Top of the 9th, belting a high fastball from Brandon Morrow about a billion feet into the LF stands for a solo dinger, tying the game at 5-5.
- Drama unfolded against Jared Hughes in the Bottom of the 9th. David Bote poked a 1-out single into RF, and he moved into scoring position when Hughes hummed a wild pitch all the way to the backstop against Almora, who eventually singled to put runners at the corners. The Reds then brought their defense in, which allowed Heyward to reach 1B on a slow grounder as Votto fielded it, threw home, and forced the runner on 3B to stay put and load the bases. Baez then grounded to Scooter, who fired home to get the force-out - which was upheld by replay - before Hughes allowed a laser off the bat of Anthony Rizzo that fortunately went right to Billy in CF to end the inning sans damage. To extras they went...
- Jackson Stephens took the mound for the Bottom of the 10th, walked Willson Contreras to lead off, and then bounced a wild pitch to allow the runner to move to 2B. A strikeout and intentional walk of Happ later, and Stephens got a slow grounder to Votto at 1B that looked to be a clear out, but Votto bobbled it as he stepped on 1B as he tried to transfer it to his throwing hand to keep the runner at 3B, and review overturned it to keep the bases loaded with 1-out. Stephens then walked Bote on a 3-2 pitch to force in the winning run, and the Reds lost, 6-5.
- How Baez’s ball got through the infield and past Peraza in the Bottom of the 7th, I do not know. Either he reacted slowly or took a bad route, but that’s a ball he at least has to knock down - even if getting a throw to 1B was out of the question. Of course, Billy absolutely has to be more aware in scenarios like that, too.
- Castillo’s final line was once again ugly: 4 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K on 83 pitches.
- The Reds had Jose Peraza on 2nd with nobody out and the 2-3-4 spots due up in the Top of the 8th...and Jim Riggleman had Tucker Barnhart lay down a bunt. Despite having seen a handful of would-be late-game bunts not pan out, he had Tucker Barnhart bunt. Tucker bunted, as the #2 hitter with nobody out in a 1-run game, and pitcher Carl Edwards promptly fielded it and nailed Peraza at 3B. This is all so, so incredibly daft.
- As a side note, Dilson Herrera made his Reds debut as a pinch-runner for Tucker immediately after the buntpocalypse.
- The Reds will head to Cleveland later today, and Monday they’ll begin a three-game series against their Ohio rivals. Anthony DeSclafani will get the start with hopes that he won’t get pulled at 80 pitches and have his bullpen allow inherited runs to score (again), and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland starter Mike Clevinger. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM ET.