Tribe’s Late Rally Falls Short in Loss to Reds; Reds 7, Indians 5
Bob Toth | On 09, Jul 2018
Game one of the Battle of Ohio went the way of the Reds on Monday night as Cincinnati held off a late Indians rally in a 7-5 win over Cleveland from Progressive Field.
The Reds got out to an early lead against Tribe starter Mike Clevinger, who managed to be both unhittable and hit hard at various points of the night. Cincinnati would tack on with a final scoring assault in the ninth, and it would prove to be the difference in the ball game after a late rally from the hometown club.
Both sides left runners in the first frame, but the Reds would not make the same mistake in the second inning against Clevenger. Stepping to the plate for the first time since as a National League All-Star, Eugenio Suarez drew a leadoff walk on five pitches. Jesse Winker grounded out to first, but on the next pitch, Tucker Barnhart put the Reds on the board with a double to right-center. Clevinger retired the next two, but Cincy had a 1-0 lead.
Anthony DeSclafani faced base traffic early on, but was able to keep the Tribe from rounding the bases. Michael Brantley walked in the first, Yan Gomes singled in the second, and Brantley reached base again with a single in the third. None of the runners were able to advance, however, as DeSclafani shut down the Indians bats.
In the fourth, the Reds padded their lead with another two-base hit. Scooter Gennett walked after a long battle with Clevinger, who bounced back by striking out Suarez. Winker, who had missed a chance to move a runner along his first time up, delivered with a double to right, knocking in Gennett ahead of the throw to the plate to make it a 2-0 game. With Winker at third after advancing on the throw, Barnhart delivered again, driving in his second run of the night with a single to right, giving the Reds a 3-0 lead.
The Indians got a run back in the home half. With one out in the inning, Yonder Alonso pulled a four-seamer to right, cutting the deficit to 3-1.
Clevinger’s weird night on the mound continued in the fifth. After striking out the first two men in the inning, Joey Votto lofted a 3-2 pitch the opposite way and over the wall in left for a solo shot, getting the run right back to make it a 4-1 game. Clevinger struck out Gennett to end the inning.
The Indians continued their foot traffic in the bottom of the fifth, but once again could not deliver the big hit. Tyler Naquin, who had made an impressive diving catch to end the first inning, singled to left to start the fifth. Greg Allen could not move him along, however, as he was erased on a 4-6-3 double play. Francisco Lindor ended the fifth with a flyout, the only time in the contest that the Reds would face the minimum in an inning. The Indians got another base runner in the sixth when Edwin Encarnacion walked with two outs, but he was stranded as Alonso grounded out to his counterpart at first.
Clevinger returned to the mound for the seventh, but he got the hook after a leadoff single to Billy Hamilton. Marc Rzepczynski came on to face the left-handed leadoff man Scott Schebler, but after Hamilton stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by Gomes, a single plated the speedster to make it a 5-1 game. An error by Jason Kipnis would put a second runner on base before Scrabble got a comebacker from Votto to kickstart a 1-6-3 double play and an inning-ending grounder from fellow All-Star Gennett.
Kipnis doubled off of DeSclafani to start the home half of the seventh, putting a runner on the bases for the Tribe in every inning to that point. But the bottom of the order behind him again failed to drive him in, as Gomes grounded out before fly outs by Naquin and Allen.
Dan Otero pitched into and out of a jam in the eighth in relief of Rzepczynski. Back-to-back singles by Suarez and Winker put two on for Barnhart, who lined out to third. Adam Duvall grounded into a double play that went around the horn to end the inning. Lindor started the bottom of the inning with a leadoff double off of Amir Garrett, but after advancing to third on a fly out to left by Brantley, was left 90 feet from home as Encarnacion and Alonso each popped up to first.
In the ninth, Josh Tomlin was summoned to get three outs and he did so, but not before letting the Reds tack on what would prove to be two gigantic insurance runs. Hamilton singled to center before Schebler launched his fourth hit of the night over the wall in right for a two-run home run that made it a 7-1 game. Votto would reach on a one-out walk before Tomlin closed down the inning, but the damage would loom large.
Down to its final three outs, the Indians offense finally woke up in its second inning against Garrett. Alonso walked on four straight pitches to lead things off. Kipnis took the count full before homering to the right field corner to make it a 7-3 game. Tanner Rainey came on in relief of Garrett, but he let two more reach as Gomes doubled before Naquin grounded out. Allen singled to put runners on the corners, bringing manager Jim Riggleman out for his closer Raisel Iglesias. Lindor lifted a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Gomes to make it a 7-4 game. A double from Brantley chased Allen in all the way from home to make it a 7-5 score. With the tying run coming to the plate in Jose Ramirez, Iglesias K’d him on three pitches to earn his 18th save of the season.
The Reds got back into the win column after dropping two games in Chicago against the Cubs over the weekend. They remain buried in the cellar of the NL Central with a 40-51 record. The Indians fell to 49-40 and saw their lead in the AL Central shrink to eight and a half games with their third straight loss.
DeSclafani worked seven strong innings in his seventh start of the season. He struck out three and allowed just a run on five hits with a pair of walks, minimizing a runner reaching base in every inning that he worked. The win moved him to 4-1 on the year.
Clevinger pitched into the seventh in a game full of mixed results. He struck out eleven batters, but was charged with five runs on seven hits with three walks in six-plus innings. Rzepczynski and Otero gave up three hits but kept the Reds off of the scoreboard in two scoreless innings. Tomlin gave up his 21st home run of the season in just 49 innings of work.
“They’re really hot right now,” said Clevinger. “I don’t want to downplay what they’re doing offensively, but it was almost like I was leading them to the barrel. It’s kind of how the night went.”
Tuesday night will pit a young arm versus a first time All-Star. Right-hander Trevor Bauer (8-6, 2.45) will make his first start since being named to the American League’s All-Star team. He earned his eighth win his last time out, allowing a pair of runs in seven and two-thirds innings against Kansas City. Second-year right-hander Sal Romano (5-8, 5.40) will face the Indians for the first time.
Action is set to kick off from downtown Cleveland with a 7:10 PM ET first pitch.
Photo: Ron Schwane/Getty Images