By HAL McCOY
Brandon Finnegan’s first spring appearance on the mound for the Cincinnati Reds began with a bang, a bang on his first pitch.
The bang was off the bat of Cleveland superstar Francisco Lindor, a home run to left field.
Inauspicious? Yes. But Finnegan shook that off and gave up only an infield hit and a walk against the rest of the hitters he faced in two innings.
So his line was two innings, one run, two hits. A walk and a strikeout, which was pretty good for a guy who missed most of last season with shoulder issues and is tentatively logged in as one of the Reds five starters this season.
The Reds came from three runs down to beat the Indians, 7-6, to win their fourth spring exhibition game in 13 games.
For most of this spring, the bats waved by the regulars have been hitting a lot of air, but they erupted for four runs on five hits in the fifth inning.
Facing minor league left hander Shawn Morimando, the Reds put their first six batters of the inning on base.
It began with a single by Brandon Dixon, who is having an eye-widening spring. Jose Peraza then singled and Ben Revere tripled for two runs.
Revere was a late replacement in center field for Billy Hamilton, who has a sore index finger, an injury he probably sustained Monday making a marvelous diving catch.
After Revere’s two-run triple, Jesse Winker singled for a run to tie it, 5-5. Eugenio Suarez walked and Scooter Gennett singled to load the bases. Scott Schebler hit a sacrifice fly to give the Reds a 6-5 lead.
Gennett homered to lead off the second. Schebler had two doubles and a sacrifice fly.
Winker homered with two outs in the third to go with his run-scoring single in the fifth. The Reds also received a bases empty home run from minor-leaguer Brian O’Grady in the sixth to push the Reds up two runs, 7-5.
The only real clink in this game came from closer Raisel Iglesias. He pitched the fourth inning and gave up two runs and three hits.
He struck out Rajai Davis to start the inning, but Roberto Perez singled. Iglesias got the second out, but Giovanny Urshela doubled and Lindor doubled for two runs.
Lindor finished his day with a home run, a double and three RBI.
Veteran journey pitcher, the 36-year-old Oliver Perez, he of the funky Johnny Cueto-like pitching style, pitched a 1-2-3 inning, all ground balls, and was credited with the win.
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Thank you so very much!! ?