By HAL McCOY
For those who switched off the lamp and clicked off the TV when it appeared the Cincinnati Reds couldn’t find home plate with GPS and a sherpa entering the ninth inning, well, you missed all the fun and frustration.
It all unfolded Friday night in Chase Field in Phoenix, where the Reds had won 17 of the last 24 games.
The game went 11 innings and ended when Reds relief pitcher Blake Wood threw a wild pitch with a runner on third base and two outs — a walk-off wild pitch 4-3 victory for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In addition to the game-ending wild pitch, prior to throwing it, Wood walked pinch-hitter Tuffy Gosewisch with two outs, a guy hitting .159.
THE GAME WAS WiLD beyond belief for two last place teams.
It went something like this before it ended.
The Reds trailed 2-1 in the top of the ninth and had two outs and nobody on. Pinch-hitter Ivan DeJesus Jr. had two strikes, one strike away from losing it in the regular nine innings. But he singled. Billy Hamilton singled on the first pitch. Jose Peraza had two strikes, one strike away from a loss. But he singled to tie it, 2-2.
WITH THE HELP OF A BALK by Arizona pitcher Enrique Bourgos that put Tyler Holt on third, the Reds took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 10th on Ramon Cabrera’s sacrifice fly.
Amazingly, in the bottom of the 10th, a balk by Cincinnati pitcher Raisel Iglesias put pinch-hitter Phil Gosselin on third and he scored on a slow ground ball to second to tie it, 3-3.
It was Iglesias’s first blown save and he entered the game with a 0.82 earned run average in 19 previous appearances.
Wood gave up a one-out double to Brandon Drury in the bottom of the 11th and he took third on a ground ball. Wood walked Gosewicsch on five pitches. That brought Jean Segura, 0 for 5 on the night. Wood’s first pitch was in the dirt and escaped catcher Cabrera and Gosselin scored.
BRANDON FINNEGAN BROUGHT his ‘A’ game into Chase Field as the Reds starter. Unfortunately for Finnegan and the Reds, Arizona rookie Braden Shipley brought his ‘A+’ game.
Finnegan struck out 12 Diamondbacks in only six innings, a career best for him and the most strikeouts by a Reds pitcher this season. And he gave up only two runs and three hits.
Amazingly, Shipley struck out only one, but retired 12 Reds on fly balls and held them to one run and four hits over seven innings.
However, as good as both starters were, neither earned a victory, the second time this year Finnegan weaved a pretty tapestry but didn’t win. He lost a 1-0 game in Los Angeles to Clayton Kershaw earlier this year.
Finnegan’s downfall was that he couldn’t handle Rickie Weeks Jr., a player who whipped up on the Reds when he played in Milwaukee and is continuing the process wearing a Diamondbacks uniform.
Weeks tripled high off the center field wall in the second inning and scored on an infield hit to third base by Brandon Drury. Weeks struck again in the fourth when he drilled a long two-out 0-and-2 home run deep into the left field seats that gave the D-Backs a 2-1 lead
THE REDS SCORED THEIR only run through eight innings in the second when Adam Duvall led with a double, Brandon Phillips bunted him to third and Scott Schebler singled to right.
One the starters departed, the two worst bullpens in baseball staggered to the end.
Opportunity knocked several times but the Reds couldn’t open the door through most of the game. They were 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 13.
Shipley issued two walks in the fifth inning but Jose Peralta lined hard to center field to end the inning.
THE REDS PUT THEIR first two on in the sixth on a walk to Joey Votto, extending his get-on-base streak to 20 games. Duvall singled to put runners on second and first with no outs. But Phillips hit into his 14t double play this season and with the tying run on third Schebler shot one hard back to the mound that Shipley stopped and scrambled after it in time to throw Schebler out.
Zack Cozart pinch-hit for Finnegan with two outs in the seventh, his first game appearance in a week (sore Achilles tendon), and doubled to the left field corner. But Billy Hamilton grounded to third.
The Reds put two on against relief pitcher Randall Delgado in the eighth. Votto singled with one out and Phillips singled with two outs. Schebler ended the threat with a fly ball to center.
THEN CAME THE NINTH and the excitement reached screeching volume.
Eugenio Suarez grounded out Ramon Cabrera struck out. Pinch-hitter Ivan DeJesus Jr. dropped in a 3-and-2 single to right field and Billy Hamilton poked a first-pitch single to right. Jose Peraza fell behind 0-and-2, worked the count to 3-and-2 and down to the last strike, Peraza poked a single to right field to tie it, 2-2.
That brought up Joey Votto with runners on first and third and the D-Backs didn’t fool around. They walked him intentionally to fill the bases for Duvall. Duvall hit one to the base of the wall, 410 feet from home plate, but A.J. Pollock caught it to end the top of the ninth at 2-2.
Then it was 3-2, Reds, in the top of the tenth, 3-3 tie in the bottom of the 10th and 4-3 in the bottom of the 11th.
The Diamondbacks, who have a worse record than the Reds, are 19-12 in one-run games and the Reds are 18-and-26.