For three nights in the middle of July it felt like the Cincinnati Reds were playing in the World Series. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night at Yankee Stadium there was high-level, exciting baseball being played between two teams on opposite ends of the standings. The New York Yankees remain the best team in baseball with a 62-27 record. The Reds are still just 34-55 despite taking two out of three games from the Yankees and winning seven of their last 10. However, Cincy has now caught the Cubs to at least temporarily get out of the National League Central cellar.
The Reds, riding a bit of a hot steak, will wrap up the first half of the season with a three game series in St. Louis against the Cardinals. Hunter Greene will take the mound at 8:15 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday night. Nick Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft will also make starts at Busch Stadium. The All-Star break will then give the Reds, besides Luis Castillo, a few days off. Cincinnati will return to Great American Ball Park on Friday the 22nd for another three game weekend series with the Cardinals.
Reds Score Four in the Ninth Inning to Beat the Yankees
The Cincinnati Reds did something on Tuesday night in New York that no team had accomplished this season. When entering the ninth inning with a lead the Yankees were a perfect 49-0 in converting to a victory. However, Clay Holmes failed to retire any of the five batters he faced to begin the inning. Just like that, the Reds found some new life.
Tommy Pham walked, Joey Votto singled, and Tyler Stephenson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Then, Tyler Naquin got Cincinnati on the board with an infield single. Holmes hit Kyle Farmer with a pitch to make it 3-2 and exited the game having not recorded an out.
Veteran left-hander Wandy Peralta managed to get a pair of outs without allowing the tying run to score. However, Jonathan India poked one into shallow centerfield scoring both Farmer and Donovan Solano to take a 4-3 lead. Alexis Diaz shut the door in the bottom half of the ninth to give the Reds a series opening 4-3 win.
Rookie starter Graham Ashcraft was solid on the mound for the Reds allowing three runs in five innings, but it was the bullpen that really was excellent. Jeff Hoffman, Ian Gibaut, Reiver Sanmartin, and Alexis Diaz combined to allow just two hits in four innings of work. All-around fun game and great win for the Cincinnati Reds.
Yankees Overcome 4-0 Deficit, Win Via Walk-Off in 10th
Early on, it was looking good for the Cincinnati Reds once again. Joey Votto executed an RBI groundout to get on the board with a 1-0 advantage in the first inning. Then, back-to-back-to-back home runs in the top of the second ballooned the lead to 4-0. Kyle Farmer, Mike Moustakas, and Stuart Fairchild took part in the long ball parade. The home run was Fairchild’s first as a big leaguer.
However, by the end of the third inning, the Yankees had not only erased the deficit but taken a lead of their own. A three-run, bases clearing double by Isiah Kiner-Falefa made it 5-4 after a couple of costly defensive miscues by the Reds. Mike Minor allowed five runs in his four innings of work, but only one was earned.
The Reds did not rollover once New York made their initial comeback. In the fifth inning, Votto drove in a run to tie it via a ground rule double. Tyler Stephenson then hit a sacrifice fly to deep centerfield to once again put Cincinnati on top 6-5. The game was in the hands of the bullpen once again.
In the bottom of the eighth, Giancarlo Stanton tied it up for the Yankees with a 345-foot poke over the short porch of Yankee Stadium in right field. Ian Gibaut eventually got out of the inning by striking out the side. After a perfect ninth by Hunter Strickland and no runs for the Reds the game was headed to extra inning.
Cincinnati got runners on the corners with no outs after a Tyler Stephenson lead off single. However, Matt Reynolds struck out and Kyle Farmer rolled into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning stranding Joey Votto 90 feet from home plate. In the bottom half of the 10th, a pair of wild pitches (the first of which was a passed ball in my book) brought D.J. LeMahieu around from second base to win the game 6-5 and even the series at one game a piece.
Reds Escape With Extra Inning Win to Secure Series
In a battle between the team with the best record in baseball, the New York Yankees, and the lowly Cincinnati Reds you wouldn’t expect three playoff-caliber games. However, that is what the fans at Yankee Stadium were treated to three nights in a row. Cincinnati competed as well as they have all season, but the Yankees simply wouldn’t go away either. The constant back-and-forth made for three extremely compelling and exciting games. Luckily for Reds fans, it ended in their favor on Thursday evening.
Once again, Luis Castillo was absolutely excellent on the mound. Major League Baseball’s best trade asset had a no-hitter into the sixth inning while dominating some of the best hitters in the game. Castillo finished allowing just one run on two hits while striking out eight batters in seven innings of work. His ERA on the season is down to a spectacular 2.77. It was his third straight start going seven innings and hasn’t allowed more than one run in any of those three outings. In his last 27 innings pitched across four starts he has allowed just three runs and struck out 31 batters. That is just total domination.
At the plate, the Reds struck first with a Brandon Drury sacrifice fly in the fifth. Then, in the eight inning, Joey Votto broke a 1-1 tie with a single to left field. Kyle Farmer drove in two more runs with a single of his own to make it 4-1 and provide some breathing room. However, it didn’t take the Yankees long to come back. Both Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres it home runs in the bottom half of the frame to quickly tie the game up once again at 4-4.
For the second straight night, fans were treated to extra innings at Yankee Stadium. Cincinnati was able to push three across in the top of the 10th inning to build a 7-4 advantage. Joey Votto came through with a RBI double to right centerfield to take the lead. Tyler Stephenson immediately followed it up with a double of his own down the left field line. Then, Donovan Solano drove in what became an ever-important insurance run with a single.
New York came to the plate in the bottom of the 10th trailing by three runs but quickly cut it to one with a Matt Carpenter home run off of left-hander Reiver Sanmartin. David Bell turned to Dauri Moreta to try and record the final two outs. In a super high leverage situation the young reliever came through with his first career save to secure a 7-6 victory for the Reds. The win also tipped the series in Cincinnati’s favor.