The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
There was a time when we thought Jesse Winker had taken away a chance for the Cincinnati Reds to get back into this game. Trailing 2-1 in the Bottom of the 7th, Winker led off with a double that he tried to turn into a triple, and was tagged out at 3B in the process. Not the way one tries to dig out of a late deficit, obviously.
Well, Winker did his best to make up for that in the 9th, however, as he spanked a 101 mph fastball from Emmanual Clase into CF to level the score, his third hit (including multiple XBHs) on the day.
Winker gets nod number one, while Tyler Stephenson - who stepped up to walk it off with a single in extras - gets nod number two, as a pair of former 1st round picks for the Reds came up huge in the clutch.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Sonny Gray, who at times looked much like his normal self in his admittedly limited season debut (4.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K on 71 pitches); Tucker Barnhart, who singled and socked a dinger; Joey Votto, who singled twice, walked twice, TOOTBLAn’d, and TURNED A DAMN TRIPLE-PLAY; and the Cincinnati Reds bullpen, who combined to throw 5.2 innings of scoreless ball in impressive fashion.
- The Reds dented the scoreboard first again in this one, and it came in the Bottom of the 2nd. After Jonathan India nearly took Cleveland starter Triston Mckenzie deep with a flyout to the warning track in CF, Barnhart stepped in after him and popped one over the wall, a solo shot that gave the Reds a 1-0 lead.
- Amed Rosario scored on an Eddie Rosario triple into the RF corner in the Top of the 3rd, one that unfortunately took an odd bounce on the wet ground in GABP that likely gave the Cleveland baserunners an extra bag. Game tied, 1-1.
- It could have been a bit of rust from Sonny in the Top of the 4th, but whatever it was cost the Reds a run. Despite sitting pretty with an 0-2 count, he left a meaty fastball over the plate against Andres Gimenez, and it was deposited into the RF seats to put the Reds in a 2-1 hole.
- Max Schrock hit what very much should’ve been the game’s final grounder in the Bottom of the 9th with 2-outs, but it went directly under the glove of 1B Josh Naylor to give the Reds a breath of life. Winker then followed with a 2-out ribbie into CF that scored Nick Senzel, who was running for Schrock, and the game was heading to extras tied 2-2.
- After Sean Doolittle kept Cleveland off the board in the Top of the 10th despite a runner starting on 2B, Eugenio Suarez tagged and moved to 3B in the Bottom of the 10th on Tyler Naquin’s sac fly into CF. An intentional walk of Jonathan India followed, and Stephenson then put this one in the win column with a walk-off RBI single. Reds won, 3-2!
- After Senzel took over on the bases and scored the game-tying run in the Bottom of the 9th, Nick Senzel stayed in the game...as the Reds 3B. It marked the first time he’d played the position in the bigs despite spending almost all of his MiLB (and college) time at the position.
- Tejay Antone, Jose De Leon, Amir Garrett, Lucas Sims, and Sean Doolittle comprised the Reds bullpen arms who breezed through Cleveland’s lineup today. They yielded just 2 H in their 5.2 IP, fanning 8 against just 2 walks. Just brilliant stuff today.
- It’ll be Shane Bieber firing heaters to Reds hitters on Sunday. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner woke up today the MLB leader in IP, K, and K/9 so far in 2021 play, too, so it’ll be quite the tall task for Cincinnati to keep their offense humming. Of course, the Reds will have Wade Miley on the bump looking to keep his brilliant start to 2021 going, so there’s an on-paper pitching duel scheduled to begin at 1:10 PM ET Sunday. I predict a 9-8 game, then.
- Comeback Tunes.