The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
We’re still not sure if Sonny is short for Sonathan, Sonald, or Asonzo, but the fact remains that Sonny Gray has been on some kind of pitching heater for awhile now. Fortunately for the Cincinnati Reds, that included today’s outing against the Atlanta Braves that for a time looked like it would be enough to help the club earn a well-deserved series split. Unfortunately, the bullpen threw that into chaos before some clutchy hits that you can read about down yonder.
Gray provided 7 innings of scoreless ball, scattering 4 hits and 4 walks against 7 strikeouts in his 110 pitch outing. And considering home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez was completely making up his strike zone as he went along, that’s some damn cromulent work, Sonny.
Joining Sonny with some dap on the day is catcher Tucker Barnhart, who clubbed a massive 3-run dinger to put this on ice, and that came on the heels of a game in which he’d already walked twice and scored a run. It was the second huge hit of the series for Tucker, and this one, at least, gave the Reds a victory.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Josh VanMeter, who walked twice, swiped a bag, and scored a run; Joey Votto, who walked twice; Julio Teheran, who was the Atlanta pitcher primarily responsible for walking all these dudes all the time and allowing them to score runs; and Jose Iglesias, who chipped in with a double, a pair of singles, and a run scored.
- Barnhart coaxed a 1-out walk off Atlanta starter Julio Teheran in the Top of the 3rd, and a well-placed bunt by Gray moved him up a bag. That put the fleet-footed catcher in scoring position for Winker’s subsequent single through the shift into RF, and the Reds led, 1-0, even though they eventually left the bases loaded that inning.
- The Reds got another run in the Top of the 4th, and it began with a breaking ball off the ankle of Derek Dietrich. He then scooted to 3B on a double down the RF line off the bat of Jose Iglesias, and Barnhart was intentionally walked to load the bases and set up a potential double play with Gray aboard. Gray, though, dropped another well-placed bunt down to allow Dietrich to motor home, and the Reds held a 2-0 lead.
- Cincinnati worked its way to another run in the Top of the 5th. VanMeter managed a 2-out walk, and promptly swiped 2B behind the back of the very deliberate-to-the-plate Teheran. That put him in scoring position for Nick Senzel, who did his part with an RBI single smacked into RF. Reds led, 3-0.
- Lucas Sims took the mound for the Reds in the Bottom of the 8th, and promptly left a breaking ball over the plate against Josh Donaldson, which not a wise thing to do. Donaldson ripped it into the LF seats, and the Reds lead was down to 3-1.
- With Raisel Iglesias having pitched on each of the last two days, interim manager Freddie Benavides turned to Amir Garrett to try to close this one out, and that went awfully, unfortunately. Garrett walked Freddie Freeman before serving up a 2-run dinger to Ronald Acuna, and later served up a single into LF to Ozzie Albies before mercifully being replaced by Robert Stephenson. Bob Steve almost threw the game away, but managed to get out of a jam at 3-3, and to extra innings the Reds went.
- New Braves closer Shane Greene hasn’t exactly had the kind of start any Braves fan would want, and that was on display in a big way in the Top of the 10th. The Reds pounded a trio of singles off of him - one negated by a 6-3 double play - but he then served up a 3-run tater to Barnhart, who smashed it into the RF seats to give the Reds a 6-3 lead they would not relinquish, as Hernandez merely allowed a solo homer to Tyler Flowers in the Bottom of the 10th. Reds won, 6-4.
- Derek Dietrich got his first start since July 17th in this one. So, of course he was hit by a pitch.
- It’s back to Cincinnati for these Reds later today, and on Monday they’ll open a series against Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels. LA is set to activate lefty Patrick Sandoval for his first career big league start, and while that’s a lovely thing for him, it’s hopefully a lovely thing for the Cincinnati bats, too - he’s the owner of a 5.71 ERA in 80.1 IP between AA-AAA so far this year. The Reds, meanwhile, will send ace Luis Castillo to the mound, with first pitch set for 7:10 PM ET.
- Mike Trout. GABP. Tomorrow. Mike Trout.