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Bullpen wrecks Reds day in 5-4 loss to Diamondbacks

Oof.

Pittsburgh Pirates v. Cincinnati Reds Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images

The first of Joey Votto’s two hits on the day came in the Bottom of the 1st inning. That it came with the bases loaded was fortuitous, as it drove in a pair of runs on a day in which Tyler Mahle and the Cincinnati Reds appeared willing to hold the Arizona Diamondbacks in check.

Unfortunately, the bullpen.

The Reds turned a 3-1 lead over to Tony Santillan for the save opportunity in the Top of the 9th, at which point in time the proverbial shit hit the proverbial fan. Walks, errant throws, and a series of timely pokes into the outfield by the Diamondbacks flipped the scoreboard completely, and when the dust settled the Reds were staring up at a 5-3 deficit they could not overcome - even though Matt Reynolds and his 9th inning solo homer brought them within a run prior to their 5-4 loss.

Votto’s 2-run double served as the biggest hit the Reds could muster on Thursday afternoon, and for that he earns the Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game on a day that wasn’t even as big as the many he’s had since returning to the Reds lineup on May 20th. In that time, he’s returned to being the Joey Votto we’ve long come to adore, an extra-base machine socking homers and doubles with a particular proclivity. He added a single in the Bottom of the 8th, for good measure, and his climb towards pushing his season average back over the Mendoza Line (and his career average back over .300) continues.

The 3-run 1st inning stoked the fires for Mahle, who fanned 10 members of the Diamondbacks on the day. He scattered 3 hits (while another hit banged off the pole down the LF line for a solo homer) and walked a pair in his 105 pitch outing, a solid start in GABP in what’s hopefully becoming a new trend of him pitching well there as well as on the road.

Had the 9th inning implosion not rubbed every inch of positivity off the sheen of this game, I’d wager we’d all be much happier remembering just how well Mahle carved his way through the Arizona order on the day.

All told, it added up to a series split with the snakes, a deflating way to head into a two-city road trip.

Tony Graphanino (link)

Other Notes

  • The other frustrating news of the day was that Tyler Stephenson exited the game early after a foul ball hit him in his right (non-glove) thumb. The hope is that it’s merely bloody and not broken, but the timing could not have been worse seeing as he was all set to sock about 12 homers this week. Albert Almora Jr. exited mid-game, too, while Nick Senzel remained sidelined with a lower back strain for the second consecutive day.
  • Speaking of hitting the road, the Reds head to St. Louis for a weekend series before jetting to Phoenix to run this series back against the Diamondbacks to start next week.
  • Friday’s series opener against the Cardinals will see Luis Castillo take the mound once again. He’ll be opposed by St. Louis rookie Andre Pallante, who is getting the start despite having spent the bulk of this season as a reliever (17 of his 18 appearances). So, look for an early hook for him and a lot of bullpenning tomorrow evening. Pallante will toe the rubber for the first pitch at 8:15 PM ET.
  • Colin Moran was called-up prior to the start of today’s game with Jared Solomon heading to AAA in return. Moran started at 1B on the day, which allowed Joey Votto to get a bit of rest as the team’s DH, time-off he used to shave in the middle of the game.
  • Tunes.