Reds Pummel Plesac and Tribe Bullpen in Rout; Reds 7, Indians 2
Bob Toth | On 12, Jun 2019
The Cincinnati Reds used eight extra base hits, including four home runs, to split its two-game set in Cleveland in a 7-2 final over rookie right-hander Zach Plesac and the Indians on Wednesday afternoon.
The Reds came out swinging against the young Tribe hurler, making his fourth Major League start. He ran into some early troubles before settling down to retire 13 in a row, but Cincinnati broke things open for good with runs in four straight innings in the back half of the game to split their quick trip to Cleveland.
Fellow rookie Nick Senzel started the game with a bang for the Reds, clearing the wall in left with a leadoff home run, his fifth of the season, off of Plesac. Joey Votto worked the count full, then homered on the payoff pitch to give Cincinnati a quick 2-0 lead with his sixth of the campaign.
Anthony DeSclafani was on the mound for the Reds and kept the Indians bats quiet for much of the afternoon. He dealt with a quick threat in the second after retiring the side in order in the first. Tyler Naquin doubled deep to right to start the inning, moved to third on a groundout to second by Jose Ramirez, and scored on a grounder to first by Mike Freeman to get Cleveland on the board. Jake Bauers singled but was stranded as DeSclafani struck out Kevin Plawecki to end the inning.
The Reds right-hander had to pitch out of a self-induced jam in the next inning. Leonys Martin drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a single by Francisco Lindor. Oscar Mercado dropped down a sacrifice to move the tying and go-ahead runs into scoring position. Carlos Santana loaded the bases with a walk, but Naquin grounded into an inning-ending double play in the last major threat by the Cleveland offense on the afternoon.
Plesac retired a baker’s dozen straight after the two Reds homers to start the game. Jose Iglesias ended that with a one-out double to center in the fifth. Curt Casali was unable to move the runner along on a grounder to third, but Jose Peraza came through with a key two-out double to left to make it a 3-1 game.
DeSclafani had a three-up, three-down bottom half of the fifth before the Reds got another run. Eugenio Suarez slugged a 1-1 changeup over the wall in left to lead off the sixth for his 15th homer of the season, extending the Cincinnati lead to 4-1. Local boy Derek Dietrich walked on four straight and moved to second on a throwing error on a pickoff attempt by Plesac before a Yasiel Puig fly out moved him to third. Manager Terry Francona turned to his bullpen, calling on Tyler Olson to face pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer. He struck out swinging for the second out and Francona returned to the mound for righty Nick Goody. He got Iglesias to ground to short to leave a runner at third.
DeSclafani got the first two batters in the sixth before Naquin singled for his second hit of the game. Former Indian and now Reds manager David Bell turned to his bullpen for Amir Garrett, who got Ramirez to fly out to left.
The Reds used the home run ball again to add to their lead in the seventh. Casali took Goody deep to center for his third of the year, making it a 5-1 game. Goody got the next two before Josh Smith came on, walking Josh VanMeter before striking out Suarez.
The Indians left a runner in scoring position after the stretch against Garrett. Freeman reached on an infield single to third. Bauers moved him to second on a grounder to first. Plawecki struck out swinging for the second out and pinch-hitter Jordan Luplow grounded to third to end the inning.
Cincinnati used a pair of doubles around their only base hit of the game in the eighth against A.J. Cole to tack on another run. Dietrich doubled to left to start the inning. Puig singled to short. Farmer popped up a bunt to Ramirez for the first out, but Iglesias doubled deep to center to score both base runners to make it a 7-1 contest. Cole recovered to get the next two, getting Casali to fly to left before striking out Peraza.
Cleveland pulled a run closer with a big blast from its home run leader in the eighth. After a groundout by Lindor and strikeout by Mercado, Santana drove a 3-2 pitch from Michael Lorenzen 426 feet into the trees around Heritage Park to make the score 7-2. Naquin struck out to end the frame.
Tyler Clippard handled the Reds in the ninth, working around a two-out walk by Dietrich. Zach Duke came on for the final three outs and walked Ramirez before striking out Freeman and Bauers. Despite the five-run lead, Bell went back to his bullpen for Jared Hughes. Plawecki reached safely on an error by Suarez that put runners on the corners, but Luplow grounded to short to end the ball game.
The Indians fell to 34-33 with the defeat and ended their tough homestand with a promising 5-3 record and two series wins. The Reds improved to 30-36 on the year.
Plesac had its toughest start to date in his fourth outing of the year for the Tribe. He lasted five and one-third, allowing four runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts. He was hurt the worst by three home run balls as the Reds went on an extra base hitting frenzy. He is now 1-2 on the season.
DeSclafani moved to 3-3 on the year with a strong overall start for Cincinnati. He fell one out short of a quality start, allowing just a run on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts in five and two-thirds innings of work. The Reds bullpen allowed just one run on two hits over the final three and one-third innings, striking out five and walking one.
Eight different Reds players contributed to the scoring on Wednesday, either scoring a run or driving one in. Iglesias had a pair of RBI in the only two-hit game for the club. Seven different players touched home plate and eight of the team’s nine hits were for extra bases (four doubles, four homers). Votto got the early hook after going 1-for-2, leaving in the fifth after two trips to the plate with mid-back tightness. Former Indians outfielder and current Reds hitting coach Turner Ward also made an early exit – he was ejected in the second inning for arguing balls and strikes.
Naquin went 2-for-4 in his second straight game in the cleanup spot. He scored the team’s first run. Santana’s homer was his second in as many days and gave him 14 on the year and four already this month.
Jason Kipnis was held out of the lineup for a second straight day for Cleveland while dealing with right hip soreness.
With the series done, the Indians will head to the mitten up north for a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers, set for first pitch on Friday night at 7:10 PM ET. The Reds will head back south to Cincinnati, where they will await the start of their next series with the Texas Rangers in a 7:10 PM ET first pitch on Friday.
Photo: Ron Schwane/Getty Images