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Reds blow lead late, lose to Pirates 3-2 on walk-off sac fly

This sucked.

Kansas City Royals v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

In a game that defined whether the Cincinnati Reds would win their series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, there was no proven ace on the mound. No Sonny Gray, no Trevor Bauer, no Luis Castillo.

Instead, the Reds turned to their bullpen to gut this one out, with Tejay Antone on the mound for the bulk of it. Fortunately, the unheralded Reds hurler responded in a big, big way.

Antone used his 97 mph fastball and sweeping breaking ball to keep the Pirate bats mostly quiet in his 5 IP, scattering 5 hits and 2 walks in the process. He fanned 6, was tagged for a lone run, and generally was in great control throughout his 82 pitch outing.

Unfortunately, the offense petered out and the back of the bullpen blew it. This was precisely the kind of game that has defined this season so far.

Key Plays

  • The Reds scattered a few baserunners early, but didn’t actually cross the plate until the Top of the 3rd. That came after leadoff on-base machine extraordinaire Joey Votto coaxed a walk of Pirates starter Chad Kuhl, and dinger-crushin’ arby-eye machine extraordinaire Nick Castellanos backed him with a 2-run blast over the wall in left-center. Reds led, 2-0.
  • Pittsburgh scratched a run back in the Bottom of the 3rd against Antone, and did so with some 2-out action. Adam Frazier poked a 2-out single into LF, moved to 2B on a wild pitch, and later scored on a single into CF off the bat of Bryan Reynolds. Reds led, 2-1.
  • After rescuing the Reds from the near-disaster pitched into by Michael Lorenzen in the Bottom of the 8th, Raisel Iglesias came back to the mound for the Bottom of the 9th to try to close this one out. He did not. He allowed a trio of singles before recording an out, the last of which level the scored at 2-2. An eventual sac fly into RF allowed Cole Tucker to sprint home for the game-winner, and the Reds farted away yet another opportunity in a 3-2 loss.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • Of all the sucky losses that have sucked hard over the years, this is one that perhaps sucks the most.
  • It’ll be an off-day Monday for the Reds, but on Tuesday they’ll begin the stretch that will ultimately decide their season. First up is a 3-game set in Chicago against the Cubs, with Tuesday’s series opener starting a stretch of 10 games in 9 days against the Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, and again vs. Pittsburgh. Tyler Mahle is scheduled to start Tuesday in Wrigley, with first pitch set for 8:15 PM ET.
  • Tunes.