Tyler Stephenson (pictured above) floated the go-ahead ribbie single into shallow right field in the Top of the 10th inning in tonight’s 6-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers by the Cincinnati Reds, while Buck Farmer (also picture above) battled his way through the Manfred Man on 2B to start the Bottom of the 10th to seal the win.
It was a game that, perhaps, was a microcosm of the Cincinnati Reds season as a whole. They fell behind early after Brandon Williamson - surely rusty after a pair of weeks sidelined on the COVID list - was hammered for a solo homer and four consecutive singles in the Bottom of the 1st, a barrage that left the Reds down 3-0 early. That said, they roared right back to tie things at 3-3 and eventually rode that surge to a 5-3 lead...only for things to again to sideways as Detroit leveled the score at 5 apiece.
If said metaphor is to continue, of course, perhaps the rallying and eventual victory tonight means the Reds and their final 16 games of the 2023 regular season have some fun surprises still in store. Tonight’s win pushed them back to 4 games over the .500 mark at 75-71, and thanks to Milwaukee besting the Brewers and the Mets downing the Diamondbacks they now sit just a lone game out of the final National League Wild Card spot once again. They leapfrogged the Marlins, for now, and now sit in a virtual tie with the San Francisco Giants at a game behind Arizona (though they’re still a game back in the loss column of the Giants).
For the evening, Jonathan India walked, singled, and drove in a pair from the leadoff spot, while Nick Senzel pounded out a pair of hits behind him in the #2 spot in the lineup before being replaced as part of a platoon. Harrison Bader doubled and poked home a pair of ribbies as part of his own two-hit evening as the club relied on a very balanced attack offensively. On the pitching side of things, Williamson was tagged for all 5 ER in just 4.0 IP in his return, though hopefully he’ll improve once he’s not just healthy again, but in-form again. The Cincinnati bullpen, to its credit, was charged with nary a run yet again, the cadre of overlooked and overworked hurlers down there once again rising to the occasion.
These two clubs will go back at it again on Wednesday evening in the middle game of the series, with first pitch once again set for 6:40 PM ET. Veteran lefty Eduardo Rodriguez will toe the rubber for the Tigers, so anticipate a starting lineup akin to the one we saw tonight against lefty starter Joey Wentz for the Reds. On Cincinnati’s side, we’ll see yet another rookie take the mound to start in Connor Phillips, who’ll be hoping his stuff translates into success in his second career big league start.