Final R H E
Philadelphia Phillies (72-67)
3 7 0
Cincinnati Reds (66-75)
4 9 1
W: Bowman (2-0) L: Vincent (1-3)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Pardon the pun, but since the season’s second half began, Sonny Gray has seemed like the lone bright spot of the Reds’ pitching staff. After an encouraging first half by Cincinnati starters and relievers alike, the team’s recent woes have included an inconsistent Luis Castillo, a struggling Trevor Bauer, a re-injured Alex Wood and multiple blown saves.

Gray, meanwhile, just completed an incredible August in which he posted the lowest ERA by a starting pitcher during a calendar month in team history. In that time, he allowed just three earned runs and won four of his six starts. (If not for a swiss cheese bullpen, he would have also won the other two starts, as well as his two previous no-decisions.) Along the way, he lowered his overall ERA for the season from a respectable 3.59 at the All-Star break to a rotation-leading 2.80.

For the first three innings of Thursday’s getaway game against Philadelphia, Gray continued to dominate batters, yielding only one hit – a shift-beating bunt single by Bryce Harper – while striking out four and walking none. In the fourth, however, the Phillies got on the board via a leadoff triple by J.T. Realmuto that deflected off the left-field wall just out of reach of a leaping Phillip Ervin. After a laser-like lineout by Harper, Rhys Hoskins doubled to left to plate Realmuto and give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. Gray gave up a fourth hit in the fifth before getting Corey Dickerson to fly out to end the inning following a nine-pitch battle.

The Reds, meanwhile, made soft-tossing Phillies starter Justin Vargas look like an ace for the first five innings, going down in order three times and collecting only two hits along the way. The team’s starting lineup was borderline spring training-worthy, with Alex Blandino at second, Josh VanMeter at first and – for the first time to begin a game this season – Michael Lorenzen in center. Lorenzen, of course, was coming off a game in which he pitched two innings in relief to collect the win in addition to hitting a two-run home run. He also played some outfield, becoming the first ballplayer since Babe Ruth to complete that particular hat trick.

After retiring the side in order in the sixth, Gray – who was due to lead off the bottom of the inning – was lifted from the game despite having thrown just 89 pitches. His final line continued his season-long streak of not yielding more than six hits or four runs: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 7 K. Perhaps more importantly, he walked no one – a marked improvement from his other second-half starts, in which he had a 11.1% walk rate – in a game in which he threw 17 of 22 first-pitch strikes. Gray’s ERA now sits at 2.75.

After pinch-hitter Nick Senzel – a late scratch from yesterday’s game with a sore right shoulder – popped out to lead off the bottom of the inning, Blandino collected his first big-league hit of 2019, a double to left that brought Jose Iglesias to the plate. Iglesias then clubbed Vargas’ first pitch – described by Reds announcer Marty Brenneman as “the definition of a hanging curve” – 412 feet into the outfield seats to finally get the home team on the board.

Former Red Jared Hughes then entered the game for Philadelphia – comically sprinting to the mound as usual – but Eugenio Suarez, back in the starting lineup for the first time since getting plunked on the hand on Sunday, smacked Hughes’ first pitch into the right-center bleachers for his 41st home run of the year to give the Reds a 3-1 lead.

Reliever Kevin Gausman then entered the game in the top of the seventh and didn’t have much success. With one out, he yielded a single, walked the following batter and gave up another single to shrink the Reds’ lead to one. After a groundout brought Dickerson back to the plate with two outs and two runners in scoring position, Gausman caught a hard-hit liner to end another tense nine-pitch at-bat and protect the Reds’ meager lead.

The Reds threatened to blow the game open in the seventh, when Lorenzen and, shockingly, pinch-hitter Jose Peraza drew walks. Blandino then singled to right to load the bases with two outs, but Peraza was tagged out as his slide back into second base drew him off the bag. Three pitches later, the Phillies tied the game when Realmuto crushed a 97 MPH Robert Stephenson fastball into the left field seats, earning Gray another no-decision in the process. Stephenson subsequently retired the next three batters.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Reds threatened again when Suarez singled and Ervin walked to bring Joey Votto – pinch-hitting for Curt Casali – to the plate with two outs. Votto, however, hit a long fly-out to the edge of the center-field warning track for the inning’s final out.

The top of the ninth saw Raisel Iglesias send the Phillies down in order, his third consecutive perfect inning of relief following a disastrous five-game stretch in which he gave up 11 hits and six runs over 2 2/3 innings. Joel Kuhnel then retired the side in the tenth, but he walked Harper to lead off the eleventh. After Kuhnel collected his fourth out, David Bell turned to Matt Bowman, who retired the next two batters.

Leading off the bottom of the eleventh, Ervin drove a ball that just cleared the outfield wall to give the Reds a 4-3 walk-off win. (Forgive the brevity of that weak description of the game’s key moment, but after a nearly four-hour game, real life beckons!)

18 Responses

  1. MARK MOORE

    Ove this outcome. So this is what it feels like to win in extra innings.

  2. RedNat

    Thanks for the detailed summary Clay. I tell you every time I want to give up on Phillip Ervin he makes a play to peak my interest in him. I still think he may be the odd man out next year with the presence of Aquino now but Ervin is an entertaining player for sure albeit inconsistant

  3. matthew hendley

    Had to watch this on the computer, and by that I mean gameday. Waiting for highlights later. Good to hear they won. Good to hear Gray continues to pitch well.

    • Wayne nabors

      Matthew ,you really do need to get mlb.tv.we veterans get a very great price,can watch game anywhere

      • TR

        Plus any other MLB game that’s not played in your area, and that game’s probably on local TV anyway.

      • Colorado Red

        TR,
        I get the Reds only option.
        Get a discount of 30%.
        So get to watch a lot of Reds BB.
        It is painful of late, but I keep hoping.

      • Wayne nabors

        Your right tr,we watch a ton of other games besides reds,but mostly reds haha

      • Wayne nabors

        Colorado,that’s not an option for me,got 2 boys that are braves fan and 1 daughter that’s cardinals

      • JB

        Wayne there’s discounts for being a veteran?

      • Wayne nabors

        There is jb,and I get it,I have had extra innings since its inception in 2001 but switched to mlb,tv 2 yrs ago,because of my veterans discount,it is quite a bit

      • JB

        Thanks I’ll have to check it out next year.

      • Don

        I watch via MLB.tv as well for last 3 years, Reds only package being in western NY.

        For those without the app, check it out every day as there is always a free game of the day and the Reds game was the free game today so anyone could have watched streaming without paying anything.

        9PM Thursday night, just finished watching game as full replay using app after getting home from work and keeping myself in sports black out zone.

        Great to see Reds pull out a win in 11th. Team keep fighting and never folded.
        JVM look good hitting vs lefty and played a solid 1B today.
        Suarez came back hitting great, no side effect from hand
        Overall fun game even with being long since Reds won.

        Ervin

      • Don

        Since this game was free game of day, I think anyone can watch the game on replay and fast forward through half inning commercials.

      • matthew hendley

        I already have the reds package, but I was at work and missed the game and do not have the 4 hours required to watch it. I just wanted to see the highlights.

  4. Eric B

    Dadgumment. I missed this one. I didn’t see the afternoon schedule only that there was no game that night.
    Oh well I can watch the replay at midnight on 661cin. Only thing is no HD. I suppose I can suffer through it.
    Shootfar! At least they won in extra. That’s always an unexpected plus.

  5. Shchi Cossack

    The Old Cossack lost verticality and consciousness after the 9th inning when watching the game recording. I was very confused when I saw Kuhnel had pitched the 10th inning and one out of the 11th inning, before being relieved by Bowman. I watched the end of the game today to get clarification, but apparently Chris was as confused as I was. Bell had a perfect opportunity to evaluate Kuhnel in a high leverage opportunity and the big guy was pitching well, but once again Bell made a bullpen move, just to make a move.

    I’m really conflicted regarding the Reds for the remainder of the season. I want to see the prospects play and hope they do fabulous, leading the team to a strong fininsh, but I do not want to see Bell manage the team next season and the only possible way he doesn’t manage the team next season is a complete collapse of the team during the final month.

  6. Shchi Cossack

    Yesterday’s lineup encouraged my waning faith in Bell, despite knowing that the positive aspects were driven be Votto’s day off and the handedness fetish Bell has. But here’s tonight’s lineup.

    1. Alex Blandino (R) 2B
    2. Joey Votto (L) 1B
    3. Eugenio Suarez (R) 3B
    4. Aristides Aquino (R) RF
    5. Jose Iglesias (R) SS
    6. Phillip Ervin (R) CF
    7. Curt Casali (R) C
    8. Jose Peraza (R) LF
    9. Tyler Mahle (R) P

    • Shchi Cossack

      I guess we just pay out the string for the remainder of the season.

      6. Phillip Ervin (R) CF
      8. Jose Peraza (R) LF

      Sheer idiocy.