By HAL McCOY
Brandon Finnegan, most likely tuning up for an Opening Day start April 3 against the Philadelphia Phillies, worked four somewhat strenuous innings Friday night against a Cleveland Indians split squad.
And what better pitcher to start a game on St. Patrick’s Day than Brandon Finnegan, an Irishman through and through with a shamrock for a face.
Finnegan and the Reds wore green jerseys and green caps while defeating the Indians, 7-3, at Goodyear Ball Park.
FINNEGAN, A LEFTHANDER WORKED four innings with mixed results. He gave up three runs and six hits. Last season, while going 10-11 in 31 starts, he walked 84 and gave up 29 home runs.
He walked five Tuesday, but did not give up a home run.
He left the game, facing Cleveland’s Corey Kluber, trailing 3-2, but strong relief pitching and a five.-run seventh inning by second tier players trying to make the team took him off the hook.
THE REDS SCORED TWO in the top of the first. Billy Hamilton walked and stole second. After Joey Votto walked, Hamilton stole third. Eugenio Suarez singled for a run and Scott Schebler doubled to make it 2-0.
From there, the Reds got nothing the next four innings off Kluber — no runs, one hit and a walk.
The Indians tied it in the bottom of the first against Finnegan on a single by Austin Jackson, a run-scoring double by Yan Gomes and a run-scoring single by Yandy Diaz.
The Tribe took a 3-2 lead in the fourth on a single by Richie Shaffer and a two-out double by Austin Jackson.
FROM THERE THE REDS bullpen shut it down. Wandy Peralta, a lefthander competing for a bullpen spot, pitched two perfect innings with a pair of strikeouts. Barrett Astin pitched two perfect innings, giving up one hit and striking out four and Lucas Luetge pitched the ninth and gave up a walk and struck out one.
The Tribe started Josh Martin in the seventh and it became a night he would like to eradicate from his memory bank. The Reds had only three hits when the inning began.
He gave up four extra base hits and five runs.
Patrick Kivlehan, continuing to state his case for a spot on the bench, began the uprising with a double. Ryan Raburn, in the running for an extra outfield spot, singled to put runners on first and third.
Chad Wallach doubled for two runs and a 4-3 Reds lead. Minor leaguer Sebastian Elizalde doubled to make it 5-3. Veteran major leaguer Desmond Jennings, battling for that extra outfield spot, tripled to push it to 6-3 and Hernan Iribarren, a front-runner for an extra infield spot, hit a sacrifice fly to finish the five-run inning and produce the final 7-3 score.