By HAL McCOY
Tyler Mahle continues to solidify his grasp on a spot in the Cincinnati Reds pitching rotation — and if things continue on the current path his effectiveness might be sorely needed.
Before the Reds faced the San Diego Padres Tuesday night, it was announced that starting candidate Michael Lorenzen is down for at least a few days with a strained right lat muscle (under the armpit).
Lorenzen joins Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan among the walking impaired among the starting candidates.
While DeSclafani is out until at least May, Finnegan will give it a try in a game Saturday after leaving his last start with a knot in his arm.
Mahle, by far the most effective starting candidate this spring, was off to a shaky start in the first inning, not all of it his doing, but gave up only one hit in his last four innings.
The Padres scored two in the first off Mahle when he gave up two hits, threw a wild pitch and balked. One of the hits, though, was a double that center fielder Billy Hamilton misjudged and it sailed over his head.
For the night, though, Mahle gave up two runs, three hits, walked one and struck out six over five innings.
The Reds and Padres played to a 10-inning 3-3 tie, the second tie this spring for the Reds, who are 9-15-2 this spring.
Also on the pitching front, Kevin Quackenbush continues to impress. He followed Mahle in the sixth and pitched a scoreless inning after giving up a leadoff double. Quackenbush, he of the humorous last name, has not been funny to opposing hitters this spring. He has made eight appearances and pitched eight innings and has not given up an earned run.
After falling behind 2-0 in the first, the Reds a run in the second on Jose Peraza’s run-scoring single and scored a run in fifth to tie it, 2-2, on Billy Hamilton’s run-scoring triple, his fifth hit this spring.
The Reds forged ahead, 3-2, on Scott Schebler’s sacrifice fly behind a walk to Eugenio Suarez and a dropped line drive for an error by left fielder Jose Pirella on a ball hit by Scooter Gennett.
It stayed 3-2 until the bottom of the eighth when Matt Szczur hit a mammoth leadoff home run against Zack Weiss.
In addition to his sacrifice fly, Schebler had two hits, lifting his spring average to .545. Jesse Winker went 0 for 3, dipping his average to .350.
Jose Peraza, who had three hits Monday, added two more Tuesday, pushing his spring average to .333.
Struggling lefthander Wandy Peralta came into the game with an earned run average over 10.00, pitched a 1-2-3 inning and struck out one as Reds pitchers struck out 12 Padres.
The Reds had an opportunity to win it in the top of the ninth when they put two on base but Mason Williams popped out as the Reds stranded nine runners and went 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position.