Cleveland had an apparent victory snatched away by a replay review in the ninth, creating an opportunity for Cincinnati’s Zack Cozart to drive in two runs with two outs off of Cody Allen and Reds closer Raisel Iglesias stranded the tying and winning runs on base in the bottom of the frame as the visitors held on for a 4-3 win over the Indians on Wednesday night.
The Indians took a 3-2 lead into the ninth, courtesy of a good pitching performance from Trevor Bauer and the bullpen three RBI from Carlos Santana, but Allen once again made another May save opportunity an adventure on the mound.
Very quickly, the Reds had their threat in order. Scooter Gennett and Tucker Barnhart each singled to start the inning, putting the tying run in scoring position at second base. Jose Peraza dropped down a bunt, but Santana played it perfectly and rifled a strike to Jose Ramirez at third base to cut down the lead runner Gennett for the first out. The speedy Billy Hamilton stepped to the plate and hit a grounder back to Santana. He threw to second to force Peraza and the relay throw to first was in time…at least as it was initially ruled on the field for what appeared to be the final out of the ball game.
The bang-bang play at the bag went to review, where after a lengthy deliberation in New York, it was overturned as video appeared to show Hamilton’s foot touching down on the bag just before the ball entered Santana’s glove. The game no longer over, the Reds were still down to their final out with pinch-runner Arismendy Alcantara at third and Hamilton at first and one of the league’s top hitters, Cozart, at the plate. Having a rough day at the plate, including a walk and three strikeouts, he reversed his fortunes quickly, hitting a sinking liner to left that fell just in front of a diving Michael Brantley. Alcantara scored easily to tie the game and Hamilton, who was off on the pitch, sprinted around the bases while Brantley struggled to locate the ball. He scored the go-ahead run as the Reds took a 4-3 lead and Allen suffered his first blown save in 14 tries this season.
Iglesias came on for the bottom of the ninth, looking for his eighth save of the season, but he flirted with danger, too. Yan Gomes struck out pinch-hitting for Roberto Perez to start the inning and Daniel Robertson grounded back to the mound for the second out. Jason Kipnis worked a lengthy at bat and drew a walk and motored to third base on a single to right by Francisco Lindor. With the tying run 90 feet away, Brantley had his shot at redemption but instead grounded weakly to second to end the game.
The Reds (22-24) took a 2-1 lead in the four-game series and improved to 8-11 on the road this season. The Indians (24-21) and their home woes continued in the first game of their homestand, as they fell to 8-11 at Progressive Field this season.
Two home runs marked the early scoring as both starting pitchers Bauer and Lisalverto Bonilla kept the game close. For the Indians, an early missed opportunity would stand out in the one-run loss.
After the right-hander Bonilla retired Kipnis and Lindor to start the first inning, he walked Brantley and gave up a double to right-center to Santana. Edwin Encarnacion worked a walk to load the bases, but Ramirez lined to left to leave the bases loaded.
Cleveland struck first in the third. After Lindor popped to short, Brantley reached on a single and Santana sent the next pitch into the seats in right for a two-run home run to put the Indians on top, 2-0.
Two batters into the next half inning, the lead was gone. Joey Votto sent a 3-0 pitch into right field for a single to lead off the fourth and Adam Duvall delivered a clout to center to tie the game at two with his tenth homer of the season.
Bauer had to work out of his own bases loaded jam in the fifth inning. Barnhart reached safely on an error by Santana and Peraza singled to right. Hamilton sacrificed the runners up before Cozart walked to load the bases. Bauer responded by striking out Votto looking and getting a fly to right from Duvall to leave three in the tie game.
A double to center by Kipnis to start the home half of the fifth got the offense going again against Bonilla. Lindor sacrificed him to third, but Brantley was unable to drive him in on a fly to right. Santana made it a moot point with a double to right, giving the Indians a 3-2 lead just minutes before the game would come to a screeching halt as rains delayed the on-field activities for two hours with one down in the sixth.
Both starters kept the game close. Bauer left after retiring one batter in the sixth and just as the rains worsened. He allowed two runs on four hits with a pair of walks and six strikeouts in his no-decision. Bonilla was much better than his last outing, allowing three runs on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts in his first career game against the Indians.
The loss spoiled a great day at the plate for Santana, who was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a homer, one run scored, and three runs batted in. The doubles gave him 15 on the season and the homer was his fifth.
The two teams will wrap up their season series on Thursday night in the scheduled 6:10 PM ET start from Progressive Field. Mike Clevinger (2-1, 1.56 ERA) will take a trip down memory lane and face off with the team that he made his Major League debut against just over a year ago. Fellow right-hander Tim Adleman (2-2, 6.19) will oppose for Cincinnati in his second career start against Cleveland. He exited that first outing against them last season with a strained oblique, just pitches after giving up a two-run home run to Santana.
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