By HAL McCOY
CINCINNATI — The rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers played next door at the U.S. Bank Arena while the Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies played a baseball game Friday night at Great American Ball Park.
Before the game, RHCP guitarist Josh Klinghoffer was in the Reds clubhouse visiting Bronson Arroyo. It isn’t likely that Arroyo requested that RHCP play their classic song, “Can’t Stop,” at the concert.
Whether he did, or not, the Reds can’t stop losing, and losing badly and losing ugly. Their ever-expanding losing streak stretched to seven straight Friday night, a 12-6 loss to the Red Hot Chili Rockies, a team that is 27-and-16 and leading the National League West.
For now, the Red Hot Chili Peppers could have dedicated their son, “Shallow Is Thy Game,” to the current Reds, tumbling toward the bottom of the National League Central.
Also hanging around GABP was Joey ‘Jaws’ Chestnut, the nine-time Nathan’s Hot Dog eating champion, who once devoured 70 hot dogs in 12 minutes, the all-time record.
BUT IT WAS A LEFTHANDER NAMED Tyler Anderson who devoured the Reds. The Rockies pitcher began the game with a 2-and-4 record and a 6.43 earned run average. The Reds, though, were just so much buns for Anderson to munch. He held the Reds to two runs over six innings.
Reds starter Lislaverto Bonilla gave up two runs in the first inning on a leadoff double by Charlie Blackmon, a hit batsman (D.J. LeMahieu), an infield hit by Nolan Arenado, a bloop run-scoring single by Mark Reynolds and a sacrifice fly by Carlos Gonzalez.
It stayed 2-0 until Cincinnati’s Eugenio Suarez homered into the left field cheap seats with two outs in the fifth inning, cutting the Reds’ deficit to 2-1.
IT ONLY LASTED UNTIL COLORADO came to bat in the top of the sixth and eight runs quickly appeared on the Rockies’ ledger.
Gonzalez singled, Ian Desmond doubled and No. 7 hitter Alexi Amarista lofted his second home run of the season into the first row of the right field seats. The three-run shot pushed the lead to 5-0.
The Rockies didn’t stop there, though. Catcher Tony Wolters kept the sixth inning going by beating out a bunt after Amarista’s home run. Anderson bunted Wolters to second and that was the end of Bonilla’s night.
Wandy Peralta replaced Bonilla and the the slugfest continued. Blackmon beat an infield hit to third and D.J. LeMahieu scorched a two-run double to left. Then Nolan Arenado drilled a home run to left, his 11th, and the Rockies led, 9-1. Mark Reynolds singled, Gonzalez walked and Amarista punched his second hit of the inning, a run-scoring single and it was 10-1.
In the time it takes Joey Chestnut to eat 70 hot dogs, the Rockies sent 14 batters to the plate in the sixth and scored eight runs on nine hits (two home runs) for a 10-1 lead. The eight-run inning was the most runs given up in one inning by Reds pitchers since July 26, 2015, when they gave up 10 runs in the third inning to the Rockies in Coors Field.
BECAUSE THE BULLPEN WAS taxed on the just-completed 1-and-6 trip to San Francisco and Chicago, manager Bryan Price told Bonilla, starting only his second game for the Reds that there was no safety net for him, “There would be no early hook.”
And there was no need for one until the sixth inning went on and on and on and on. Bonilla went 5 1/3 innings and gave up six runs, eight hits, three walks and hit a batter, needing 108 pitches to get that far.
For the same reason, Peralta had to take it on the chin and both shins and stay in much longer than normal. He threw 40 pitches in his two-thirds of an inning and manager Bryan Price was embarrassed by it. But had little choice.
“It was one of those rare days when Wandy didn’t have it and I left him out there to throw 40 pitches and that’s a disgrace on my part for me to do that,” said Price “But we have some limitations and he needed to get through that inning. I hoped he’d get through the sixth and maybe the seventh, but they were on him and he just wasn’t sharp. I left him out there for 40-plus in two-thirds of an inning and it didn’t feel good. We had to beat up our bullpen again to finish the game.”
MEANWHILE, COLORADO’S ANDERSON worked six innings and gave up two runs and four hits while walking two and striking out seven en route to his third victory of the season.
As has been the case often during this losing streak, once the Reds fall eight or nine runs behind early in the game, they score several runs late in the game, but never enough.
This time, after falling behind, 10-1, they scored five runs, including a two-run home run by Jose Peraza, his first of the season, to pull within 10-6 after eight.
AND THAT PUT THE ONUS on Price again. With the team down six runs, he planned to use infielder Scooter Gennett to pitch the ninth. But when Peraza hit the home run in th bottom of the eighth to draw the Reds within four, Price had to bring in Austin Brice to pitch the ninth.
“We didn’t want to use Austin Brice, but you have to respect the game,” said Price. “I would have used a position player to pitch at 10-4 and I hate to do that, but I would have pitched Scooter Gennett.
“But when Suarez hit the two-run home run, it’s only 10-6,” Price added. “There are people paying to see a ball game and our guys out there busting their butts trying to win a ball game. I can’t bring a position player in to pitch in a 10-6 game. That would be a disgrace.”
Alas, the Rockies added two in the top of the ninth on two hits, pushing their run total to 13 and their hit total to 16.
THE GAME WAS STREAMED live on Facebook by MLB.com and by the third inning there were 515,000 hits, more fans than the Reds have drawn in their first 23 home games.