The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
The Tampa Bay Rays dispatched the Philadelphia Phillies earlier Friday.
While the St. Louis Cardinals split their doubleheader with the Milwaukee Brewers, though that was all the help Cincinnati Reds needed if they could simply beat the Minnesota Twins on Friday night, as that trio of scenarios could combine to form one giant playoff GoBot in the Reds favor.
Believe it or not, that’s exactly what happened.
The Reds, once buried at 6 games under the .500 mark earlier this month, completed their storm-back, locking up a playoff berth of some variety with their win this evening. In the process, they cemented their first non-losing season since 2013, too.
There is still stuff to play for, as they could continue to climb as high as the #5 seed before this is all said and done - I believe - but this at least locked up the fact that their season will not finish on Sunday.
The Cincinnati Reds are playoff bound, folks. Enjoy the ride.
- Though Tyler Mahle managed to pitch in, and out, of trouble in the Bottom of the 1st, the top of the Twins order finally got a run off him their next time up in the Bottom of the 3rd. Well, sort of. Max Kepler singled to open the frame, and he scored on a double by Ehire Adrianza, who was getting his first PA of the game after replacing Josh Donaldson, who exited early with a calf cramp. Michael Lorenzen was summoned early, and he got out of the inning, but the Reds trailed, 1-0.
- The Reds got that back, and a bit more, in the Top of the 4th. Joey Votto coaxed a leadoff walk off Twins starter Jose Berrios, and that had him on-base for Moose’s 2-run tater over the wall in CF. Reds led, 2-1.
- It was an add-on inning in the Top of the 5th off Berrios, one that began with Galvis clubbing a solo shot over the wall in RF. Shogo later followed with a double down the LF line, and he scored when Nick Castellanos yanked a ball into LF, too. Reds led, 4-1.
- Miguel Sano coaxed a walk off Lorenzen in the Bottom of the 6th, and he was on 2B when David Bell went to the bullpen for Amir Garrett. Garrett surrendered a single into LF by Marwin Gonzalez to plate Sano, and the Reds lead was 4-2.
- Lucas Sims tossed a brilliant 7th inning, but had a pitch miss up and in against Byron Buxton to open the Bottom of the 8th that caught the Twins CF in the helmet. Buxton dropped immediately, and replays confirmed it hit him in the helmet, though fortunately it appeared to be more of a glancing blow than a direct hit. Buxton was pulled from the game, but left under his own power, while Sims was pulled by David Bell in favor of Raisel Iglesias immediately. A bloop off the bat of Jorge Polanco somehow fell in between Shogo and Eugenio Suarez in shallow LF after, and that put a pair of runners in scoring position with just 1-out. Raisel Iglesias, though, was nails to get out of the jam, and they headed to the 9th up 4-2.
- Moose kept right on crushing in the Top of the 9th with his solo blast, while a Jesse Winker walk then followed. Bell pulled Winker for pinch runner Jose Garcia, and that proved large when Garcia motored 1B to 3B on an infield single by Nick Senzel. Galvis then followed with an RBI single into RF, while Twins reliever then walked the bases loaded before Shogo stroked an RBI single into CF. It was then 7-2.
- Wade Miley was tasked with getting the final trio of outs in this one, and get them he did. Reds won, 7-2, and officially clinched a spot in the postseason.
- Mike Moustakas crushed a huge homer, then went right back to the well to crush another. Freddy Galvis did, too, as part of his 3-hit evening. Shogo was nails. Michael Lorenzen and Tyler Mahle combined to fire 6 innings of 2 ER ball, and Sims and Iggy backed them up tremendously. Hot damn, they’re all stars tonight for Nuxy, who’s surely smiling large at this one.
- For what it’s worth, Sims seemed pretty shaken up after Buxton was hit in the head with his pitch. Hopefully, Buxton ends up totally fine, and it’s something Sims can move on from quickly.
- There’s still baseball to be played this regular season, and that’ll feature a Reds/Twins matchup on Saturday, too. Seeding, people! It’ll be a 7:10 PM ET start tomorrow - an hour earlier than today, for the record - with Luis Castillo scheduled to face off against Michael Pineda, for now. Who knows if they’ll shuffle their rotation between now and then, or not.