Surprise, surprise! Reds clinch last place


The Cincinnati Reds clinched something Thursday night in St. Louis Thursday night, but there was no celebratory champagne squirting in the visitor’s clubhouse.

They clinched the booby prize in the National League Central. Last place.

By losing to the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-3, they assured themselves of last place. They are four games behind the next-to-last Milwaukee Brewers with three games to play.

THE GAME ENDED WITH TWO outs in the bottom of the ninth when Matt Carpenter scored from first base on Yadier Molina’s one-hop double off the left field wall.

The Cardinals won the season’s series 10 to 9, but aren’t proud of it. They are scrambling hard to grab a wild card spot and those nine losses to the Reds are painful.

And they almost lost it Thursday. Earlier this season, St. Louis closer Seung Hwan Oh gave up a three-run game-winning home run to Scott Schebler in the ninth inning and in another game he gave up a game-winning ninth-inning single to Eugenio Suarez.

He was called upon again in the ninth inning Thursday with a 3-2 lead. Through no fault of his own he gave up a run to tie the game.

RAMON CABRERA LED THE NINTH with a liner to center, an easy out usually. Not this time. Randal Grichuck took a couple of steps in and the ball sailed over his head for a double.

After Jose Peraza struck out, Cabrera took third on Hernan Iribarren’s grounder to second and Oh was one out away from a 3-2 victory.

Reds manager Bryan Price sent lame-legged Scott Schebler up to pinch-hit for Tyler Holt. It was Joey Votto’s spot in the order, but he left the game in the eighth inning when he was hit in jaw with a throw from left field while sliding into second base for a double.

Oh was one pitch away from sealing it with two strikes on Schebler. But he dribbled one up the third base line for an infield hit as Cabrera scored to tie it. Schebler, out the last few games with a hamstring strain, pulled up lame again and had to leave the game.

SO THE CARDINAL CAME to bat in the bottom of the ninth against Blake Wood and with one out he walked Carpenter. He struck out Grichuk for the second out before Molina kept his team on life support with the game-winning double.

Just another mishap for the bullpen-challenged Reds.

Dan Straily, in search of his 15th win, gave up three runs and six hits in six innings, walking two and struck out seven. Two of the six hits were home runs.

The Reds took a one-run lead against St. Louis rookie Alex Reyes in the second inning on Adam Duvall’s leadoff double and a two-out single by Tucker Barnhart.

Jedd Gyorko tied it in the bottom of the second with a leadoff home run. The Cardinals took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on an infield out by Reyes.

Molina made it 3-1 in the fifth with a one-out home run, the 31st home run given up by Straily this season, tops in the National League.

AND SOMETIMES ONE WONDERS about major league managers and their thought processes.

The Cardinals led, 3-1, in the eighth with Votto due to lead off. St. Louis manager Mike Matheny brought in left hander Zach Duke to face Votto. Why, why, why? For his career, Votto is hitting .500 against Duke. He couldn’t get Votto out if Votto batted blindfolded. Sure enough, Votto doubled.

Meanwhile, Matheny had Kevin Siegrist in the bullpen and Seigrist is the one pitcher in the universe Votto can’t hit. Siegrist can get Votto out pitching blindfolded.

Duvall followed Votto’s double with a run-scoring single to cut the margin to 3-2. Duke walked Ivan DeJesus Jr., putting two on with one out.

Then Matheny brought in Siegrist and he silenced the lambs by getting Barnhart and Tony Renda on routine fly balls.

So the Reds finished their road season 30-and-51 and Straily finished his year 14-8 with a 3.76 earned run average and 20 quality starts.


The season ends this weekend with three meaningless games in Great American Ball Park against the Chicago Cubs, who already have won 101 games. The Reds have lost 92. And counting.





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