By HAL McCOY
This is why in baseball it isn’t healthy to get excited about one game, unless it is Game 7 of the World Series.
Just 10 hours after scoring 15 runs on 20 hits Friday night, the Cincinnati Reds scored one run on six hits Saturday afternoon in Target Field.
And it added up to a 3-1 defeat to the Minnesota Twins, a team that started the game with an eight-game losing streak.
Scott Schebler homered in the second inning to give the Reds a 1-0 lead, then the Reds played the rest of the afternoon standing on the basepaths waiting for somebody, anybody, to drive them home. It didn’t happen.
They were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position and that hit didn’t score a run and they stranded nine runners.
In the fifth inning they had runners on third and second with one out. Billy Hamilton popped up,
The Twins intentionally walked Jesse Winker to fill the bases with two outs. Jose Peraza, who had four hits and two home runs Friday, popped up.
The Reds had runners on third and second with no outs in the seventh. Hamilton popped up, Winker struck out and Peraza flied to center.
Then came the ninth. Minnesota manager Paul Molitor is a brave man.
Addison Reed walked Joey Votto to start the eighth, but Reed got the next three outs, one on a double play hit into by Scooter Gennett.
Did he leave Reeds in for the ninth? No, he went to his struggling closer Fernando Rodney. Rodney has blown three saves already this season, including two in his last two appearances.
True to form he walked two batters, so the Reds had the potential tying runs on base with one out.
Rodney went to 2-and-0 on Tucker Barnhart, pinch-hitting for the downtrodden Hamilton, but he popped up. The game ended when Winker popped up.
Pop-ups were the order of the day for the Reds, now 6-and-21.
Sal Romano started for the Reds and retired the first seven Twins. He put two runners on with one out in the third but pitched out of it by retiring two dangerous hitters, Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer.
But he gave up two runs in the fourth when Eddie Rosario opened with a single. Eduardo Escobar doubled home Rosario and Escobar took third when right fielder Jesse Winker bobbled his hit. That enabled Escobar to score on Robbie Grossman’s sacrifice fly.
The Twins scored their third run when No. 8 hitter and backup catcher Matt Garver lined a home run into the left seats to open the fifth inning. That made it 3-1 and the scoring was finished.
Minnesota starter Jake Odorizzi had given up nine runs and five home runs in his previous nine innings, but he muzzled the Reds on one run, five hits and two walks.
The Reds again received banner bullpen work from Austin Brice and Dylan Floro. Brice pitched 1 1/3 innings and gave up no runs, no hits, walked one and struck out two. Floro pitched two innings and gave up no runs, two hits, no walks and struck out two.
The Reds finish the three-game series against the Twins Sunday afternoon with a chance to win their first series of the season.