Fresh off of a dismal 1-hit, 1-run outing on Saturday afternoon, the Cincinnati Reds entered play on Sunday riding a 10-game home losing streak, the longest for the club in some 35 years. Their manager had just been tossed in a fiery exchange the day before, Jonathan India was a late scratch, Kyle Farmer was absent with a busted wrist, Tyler Stephenson had a mustache, and aside from Tyler’s mustache everything seemed to be just about as miserable as could be around these parts.
(I say that after they started the season 3-23, mind you.)
Sunday’s game saw Charlie Morton put a hurtin’ on the Reds from the start, too. He was perfect through the lineup twice, yielded only a Joey Votto walk and Max Schrock single on the day, and kept the Reds lifeless through his 7 scoreless frames. And after Marcell Ozuna’s monster homer off Luis Castillo, it looked as if Atlanta’s 1-run might well be the only one needed on the day.
Thankfully for the Reds, however, Castillo battled his way through 7 IP of 1 ER ball, and it gave the Reds a chance to finally do something, anything against the Atlanta bullpen. As it turns out, they did just that, cranking out four consecutive hits off Colin McHugh in the Bottom of the 8th to flip the scoreboard, with each of Albert Almora, Jr., Nick Senzel, Matt Reynolds, and pinch-hitter Brandon Drury socking rocks, the latter of which plated a pair of runs to give Cincinnati a 3-1 lead.
The Reds bullpen, though, was still going to need to make its mark, and it did what it so often does - get rocked. Hunter Strickland was greeted with a leadoff homer by Ozuna to begin the Top of the 9th, and after somehow finding a way to get a pair of outs, Michael Harris launched an absolute snotrocket into the sun deck beyond the RF wall to tie the game at 3-3. Strickland, who was still on the mound for some reason, later watched as Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a ball about a billion feet just foul of the LF pole before miraculously getting out of the inning, and it was now up to the Reds bats to figure it out once again.
Fortunately, that’s exactly what they did.
A well-worked single by Tommy Pham opened the Bottom of the 9th, and he ended up at 2B after being presumably picked off when Dansby Swanson dropped the throw. A Votto walk followed, pinch-hitter Jonathan India was plunked to load the bags, and Albert Almora, Jr. walked it off with a single into LF.
Reds won, 4-3, ending their godawful home losing streak with their first walk-off win of the season.