It was not the end to the homestand that the Cincinnati Reds were looking for.
After Joey Votto had smacked a 3-run homer to flip the scoreboard in favor of the good guys on Sunday, the St. Louis Cardinals rode a 7-run 4th inning to steal a game of this series and sink Cincinnati to a 3-6 start to the second half of the season.
Sonny Gray bore the brunt of that, unfortunately, marking the second straight start of his that’s gone sideways in a hurry. He was ultimately tagged for 8 ER in just 3.1 IP, and that pair of poor consecutive outings has skyrocketed his season ERA to an unsightly 4.50. Naturally, the bullpen put together a pretty damn impressive outing once Sonny left the mound, continuing the frustrating trend of failing to get good outings from both the starters and relievers more often than not these days.
There were some perks, however. Votto also walked twice (and was robbed of another on a BS third strike call) as he continued his resurgent ways. Tyler Stephenson was on-base five times, Jesse Winker had yet another multi-hit day against Cardinal pitching, and Max Schrock poked a 2-run double as he returned to the Reds roster after injury. Jeff Hoffman’s first outing as a reliever had him looking cromulent. Hell, the Reds even managed to load the bases in the Bottom of the 8th with nobody out, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate three times, though they didn’t even manage to score a single run, somehow.
Before there was even time for anguish there, Nolan Arenado homered to make it 10-6 and the game was kaput.
Anyway, it’s off to Chicago to face a Cubs team that could be in the middle of a serious tear-down during the series, with the trade deadline just days away. Anything short of a series victory in the 4-game set would leave the Reds in danger of falling out of their playoff hunt completely. Fortunately, they’ll give the ball to Wade Miley for the series opener in Wrigley, and they’ll get the chance to tee-off on Kyle Hendricks.