Just another ‘Loss in the Park’ for the Reds

By Hal McCoy

For Cincinnati Reds fans watching games on television they should treat them as if they are watching ’60 Minutes.’ They should watch for 60 minutes and turn it off because nothing good is going to happen after that.

And when Eugenio Suarez comes to the plate, take a bathroom break. Suarez has struck out 10 times in his last 11 official at bats (he walked once).

Because of what is happening this season, even when the Reds put their first four batters on base in the first inning and score three runs, the rest of the game is viewed with trepidation.

Even when they have a 4-2 lead in the fourth inning, fans await the impending disaster.

ALL THAT IS WHAT happened, again, Sunday afternoon in Great American Ball Park when the Reds lost their seventh straight game, 5-4, to the Seattle Mariners. They’ve lost 12 of their last 14 and went 0-and-5 on the just-completed homestand.

They came out swinging in the first inning against Seattle left hander Wade Miley. Zack Cozart doubled, Billy Hamilton was hit by a pitch, Joey Votto singled to fill the bases and Brandon Phillips, 1 for 18 at the time, doubled home two runs. And they added a third run on Jay Bruce’s sacrifice fly.

SO THERE IT WAS, a 3-0 lead. Adam Duvall clubbed a 457-foot home run in the fourth to give the Reds a 4-2 lead.

Then it was like somebody squeezed the garden hose with the tap on — the faucet was on but nothing came out.

Over the last four innings the Reds scored no runs on two hits and the last 10 went down in order.

And this was one that couldn’t be blamed on the bullpen.

STARTER ALFREDO SIMON (1-and-5, 10.16 earned run average) gave up all five runs, nine hits and three walks over his five innings.

New relief pitcher Dion Diaz, making his major league debut, gave up a hit but no runs in his one inning. Blake Wood pitched two scoreless innings and Tony Cingrani pitched one scoreless inning.

All that came, though, with the Reds behind. They weren’t trying to protect a lead or a tie.

Simon, keeping his pitches low in the zone, especially his splitter, kept the Mariners at bay for two innings, but gave up two runs in the third.

IT ALL STARTED when Simon gave up a single to opposing pitcher Wade Miley on a 0-and-2 pitch to begin the inning. Leonys Martin also singled. With one out Robinson Cano singled for a run and another run scored on a Nelson Cruz ground ball, cutting it to 3-2.

Duvall’s fourth-inning home run, his eighth, made it 4-2, but a three-run Mariners outburst in the fifth sealed Simon’s fate.

Leonys Martin bunted and was called out at first, but a replay/review revealed he was safe. Norichicki Aoki singled off second baseman Brandon Phillips’ glove.

Cano lofted a sacrifice fly to center to make it 4-3 and Kyle Saeger singled to left to tie it. Steve Clevenger, a light-hitting catcher (.175) singled to left for the go-ahead run that put the Mariners in front, 5-4.

And that’s the way it stayed the rest of the way as Seattle lifted its major-league best road record to 18-and-5.

Now it gets really tough for the Reds. They hit the road for 10 games, lugging their 3-and-14 road record with them. It begins Monday night against Clayton Kershaw in Dodger Stadium, the first of three games against the Dodgers. Then they play three in Milwaukee and four in Denver against the Colorado Rockies.

When the trip is finished, it isn’t likely it will be like, ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’ when they straggle into Great American Ball Park.

 

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