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Matt McLain’s grand slam lifts Reds over Diamondbacks

The 9-6 win gives the Reds their 3rd straight victory!

Syndication: The Enquirer Albert Cesare/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

The second half could not have started worse for the Cincinnati Reds. Losing the first 5 games with a sputtering offense is about the last thing everyone expected. But the last 2 nights have shown that the slump that plagued the Reds over the last week seems to be coming to an end. They have struck out 6 times in each of the last 2 games, a far cry from the double-digit strikeouts they were putting up against the Brewers last week. They’re drawing more walks, which haunted multiple times tonight. And they’re back to hitting the hell out of the ball.

One of those guys who hit the hell out of the ball was Matt McLain. He went 2 for 4 on the night and hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 5th inning that ended up being the deciding factor. He earns tonight’s Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game award for those heroics. One of many to come for the rookie.

Speaking of rookies, it was another game dominated by Reds’ rookies. McLain hit the aforementioned grand slam. Spencer Steer had an RBI ground out and then later drove in a pair with a 2-RBI double. Will Benson, who continued his breakout season by walking twice and hitting a RBI ground rule double in that huge bottom of the 5th. The performance of these rookies has been the theme of the season, and it’s going to continue as the Reds continue to push to win the NL Central.

Now, the Reds will turn to another rookie, Brandon Williamson, with a chance to win the series tomorrow afternoon. Williamson, who struggled in triple-A, has really turned things around and has been solid for these Reds. It’s another huge opportunity against a huge team for these young Reds to continue to right the ship from their second half start.

Tony Graphanino

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

Other Notes

  • It was nice to see Ben Lively back on the mound after leaving his last game early. He battled against a tough lineup, going 4.2 innings and allowing 3 runs on 4 hits with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts.
  • Brandon Williamson (1-2, 5.21) will get the start tomorrow against the Diamondbacks. The D’backs have yet to name a starter. Either way, first pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM EDT. Go Reds.
  • Tunes.