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Andrew Abbott strikes out 12, Tyler Stephenson homers late in 4-3 win over Padres

That’s 8 series wins of the last 9 for the Redlegs!

MLB: San Diego Padres at Cincinnati Reds David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the weekend, the Reds desperately needed a couple of strong outings from their starting pitchers to give the bullpen some help. The bullpen had been carrying the pitching staff for the most part over the last couple weeks, especially after the injuries to Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Graham Ashcraft, and most recently Ben Lively. Ashcraft delivered on Friday night with 6.2 strong innings and then Brandon Williamson made it to the 6th last night.

Enter Andrew Abbott, who has been rock solid since his debut a month ago. He put together the best performance of the season tonight, throwing 7.2 innings, allowing a single run on 4 hits with only 1 walk and 12 strikeouts, as the Reds defeated the San Diego Padres, 4-3. His 7.2 innings was the longest outing by a Reds’ starter this season, and his 12 strikeouts tied Nick Lodolo for a season high in strikeouts by a Red this season. That earns him today’s Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game.

Abbott had to be sharp because, as the theme has been in most of his starts this year, the Reds were struggling to get runs on the board. Despite having runners on base each of the first 3 innings, they couldn’t get a run across. That changed in the bottom of the 4th. After Joey Votto was hit by a pitch with 2 outs, Spencer Steer took a 1-2 fastball and deposited into the 2nd deck in left field to give the Reds a 2-0 lead.

Things would remain that way for the next few innings. Abbott continued to cruise and the Reds continued to struggle to score runs. Then, in the top of the 8th, the Padres broke through. After Abbott recorded his 11th and 12th strikeouts of the afternoon, Ha-Seong Kim took the first pitch he saw and ripped a line drive to the first row in left to cut the Reds’ lead to 1-0. That ended Abbott’s afternoon, to the tune of a standing ovation from the Reds’ faithful, and brought in Lucas Sims. Sims would hang a 1-1 slider to Fernando Tatis, Jr, who would launch one into the 2nd deck and tie the game at 2-2.

The Reds were able to get those 2 runs back in the bottom of the inning and take the lead for good. With 2 outs, Stuart Fairchild would pinch hit for Jake Fraley and then draw a walk. That brought up Tyler Stephenson, who was pinch hitting for Joey Votto. Stephenson took the first pitch he saw and sent it over the wall in right, giving the Reds a 4-2 lead. Alexis Diaz, All-Star Alexis Diaz that is, worked around some trouble and a run, came in and closed it out in the 9th to give the Reds the 4-3 victory and another series win.

Tony Graphanino

[Link to interactive WPA chart and box score, via FanGraphs]

Other Notes

  • The Reds have won 16 of their last 20 games.
  • The Reds have won 8 of their last 9 series.
  • The Reds are pretty damn fun.
  • Our Redlegs hit the road tomorrow and head to the Nation’s Capitol, where they will take on the Washington Nationals. Luke Weaver (1-2, 6.96 ERA) will get the start, which means the Reds will score about 15 runs. He’ll oppose rookie right-hander Jake Irwin (1-4, 4.72 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 PM EDT.
  • Tunes.