The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
The blown 5-run lead in Wednesday’s 11-9 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers was deflating in its own right. So, when all signs pointed to the Cincinnati Reds losing late to the Chicago Cubs despite having rallied back from down 4-0 in the very next game, it’s safe to say we were shaking all fists at the cursed Baseball Gods.
It’s a very, very good thing the Reds have Eugenio Suarez on their team, however.
Suarez stepped to the plate with a runner on and the Reds down a run in the Top of the 9th, and promptly mauled a meatball from Cubs closer Steve Cishek into the cool May air, sending it nearly 450 feet to flip the scoreboard and give the Reds a very well-earned, much-needed win over their NL Central rivals.
Suarez finished 2 for 5 with those 2 ribbies, part of a day that finally, finally saw the middle of this should-be potent Reds lineup click on most cylinders for the first time in forever. More on that below...
Honorable Mentions are due to: Yasiel Puig, who cranked a massive homer, singled, and drove in 3; Matt Bowman, who fired 1.1 perfect IP in his first action as a member of the Reds; Wandy Peralta, who bailed the Reds out of a big jam in his 1.1 scoreless IP; Jesse Winker, who singled, doubled, was plunked, walked, scored, laughed, loved, chewed gum, waved to someone, and drove in a run; Raisel Iglesias, for slamming the door for the save; and Joey Votto, who singled, doubled, walked, scored twice, and finally hit a ball damn hard for the first time all month (even though that one was caught at the warning track).
- Kyle Schwarber led off the Bottom of the 1st with a 449 foot meteoroid that is officially a meteoroid and no longer just a meteor because it exited Earth’s atmosphere and is now threatening to slam into other celestial bodies in our solar system. Reds trailed immediately, 1-0.
- The next time the Cubs lineup rolled into the batter’s box it was even worse. Not from Schwarber, per se, as he merely walked after taking a 2-strike pitch that very easily could’ve been a called K. That put him on for Kris Bryant, whose dinger over the wall in left-center was therefore of the 2-run variety. Fortunately - fortunately? - that cleared the bases, which meant that when Anthony Rizzo followed with a moon-shot dinger it was only an additional run. Reds baseball...catch the fever. It was a 4-0 game.
- In the face of Chicago crushing the ball for runs, the Reds dinked their way to one off Kyle Hendricks in the Top of the 4th. Votto dumped a soft looper into shallow left-center and hustled it into a double, and after Winker was plunked on an inside fastball, Puig fought off a single into CF that brought Votto around to score. Derek Dietrich later walked to load the bags, but Hendricks got a soft groundout from Jose Iglesias to escape further trouble. Dern. Reds trailed, 4-1.
- Puig’s big fly made this one tremendously more interesting, and it came in the Top of the 6th when Hendricks left an 87 mph meatball out over the plate. Puig didn’t miss any of it, pounding a 431 foot blast over the CF wall - one that purchased the Reds a pair of runs since it came right after Winker’s single into CF. Reds trailed, 4-3.
- The Reds made some equalizing hay in the Top of the 7th with a 2-out rally against reliever Brad Brach. Votto and Eugenio Suarez began things with a pair of singles, and Winker followed with an RBI double to level the score at 4-4.
- Unfortunately, the Cubs clutched the Reds as they have so often done in recent memory. Rizzo began things in the Bottom of the 8th with a single into RF off Amir Garrett’s lethal slider, and he later swiped 2B when the Reds were basically paying him zero mind. A walk to Victor Caritini then brought pinch-hitter Willson Contreras to the plate - and a pitching change to David Hernandez - but that merely resulted in an RBI single that plated Rizzo and left the Reds behind, 5-4.
- Fortunately, the Reds clutched right back in the Top of the 9th. Votto opened the inning with a clutch walk, and was replaced on the bags by Michael Lorenzen. That didn’t really matter one bit, though, as Suarez made whomever was on 1B moot by hitting a 2-run dinger way the hell over the CF wall to put the Reds ahead, 6-5. Thanks to Raisel Iglesias, that’s exactly how this entertaining as all hell game finished.
- Each of the early dingers surrendered by DeSclafani traveled in excess of 420+ feet. He has also now allowed 13 homers this season in just [insert depressingly small number] innings. 48.2. That’s the number.
- Speaking of which, Disco exited after just 3.2 IP with the bases loaded and Schwarber again at the plate. Fortunately, Wandy Peralta bailed him out of further damage, but Disco’s final line was once again not a good one: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB (including to the pitcher), 2 K on 76 pitches.
- Saturday will feature another matinee matchup between the Cubs and Reds, as the start time is again set for 2:20 PM ET. It will feature Tyler Mahle starting for Cincinnati opposite Yu Darvish for Chicago.