Duvall drills walk-off homer, Romano outstanding

By HAL McCOY

CINCINNATI — Adam Duvall’s day off was better than the one enjoyed by Ferris Bueller.

As part of the Cincinnati Reds four-man outfield rotation, it was Duvall’s turn to sit and watch his teammates play the New York Mets Wednesday afternoon in Great American Ball Park.

And he sat watched for nine innings, then entered the game in the top of the 10th inning as part of a double switch.

So it was his turn to bat, leading off the bottom of the 10th in a 1-1 tie.

He was batting .170 when he stepped into the batter’s box to face A.J. Ramos. And with one quick swing he ended festivities.

Duvall lined a home run into the second row of seats in left field, his first career walk-off home to give the Reds a 2-1 victory.

It was Cincinnati’s first walk-off win this season and enabled them to finally reach double figures in wins, their 10th against 28 losses.

But it was their second win in a row and only their second series victory as they took two of three from the Mets.

Duvall’s home run was an exciting moment, but the day belonged to pitcher Sal Romano. Big Sally pitched six innings and gave up one run and four hits while walking one and striking out seven.

Unfortunately for him he was matched against New York’s Zack Wheeler, who matched Romano pitch-for-pitch.

Their lines were almost identical. Wheeler also pitched six innings, also gave up one run, also struck out seven. But he walked two and the second was costly.

New York’s only damage came in the third when Romano gave up a leadoff triple to Brandon Nimmo and he scored on Asdrubel Cabrera’s ground ball to first base.

Romano struck out the side in the fourth inning for his fifth, sixth and seventh strikeouts.

Wheeler was on a Romano-like roll and had retired 12 straight Reds until he walked Jesse Winker to open the sixth.

Jose Peraza dropped a bunt and beat it, his league-leading sixth bunt for a hit. Joey Votto, who had struck out his first two at bats, lined a first-pitch single to right field to score Winker and tie the game, 1-1.

And the Reds had runners on first and third with no outs, a chance to break it open. But Eugenio Suarez, who had a franchise-tying record of 15 RBI for one homestand, struck out. Scott Schebler walked to fill the bases, but Alex Blandino popped out and newly-recalled catcher Tony Cruz struck out to leave it at 1-1.

From there, the bullpens took over.

For the Reds, the bullpen was perfect. Jared Hughes pitched a 1-2-3 seventh. Amir Garrett walked the first hitter he faced in the eighth, then retired three straight. Closer Raisel Iglesias pitched the ninth and 10th two perfect innings with three strikeouts.

The Mets didn’t have a hit after Amed Rosario’s one-out single off Romano in the fifth. Romano issued his only walk after Rosario’s hit but retired the final two.

From the sixth through the 10th the Mets had only one baserunner, Garrett’s walk, and 15 of the last 16 Mets made outs.

After Schebler’s one-out walk in the sixth, the next Reds hitters made outs until Duvall came to bat in the 10th and ended it.

There was a bit of controversy in the first inning. With two outs, New York’s Asdrubel Cabrera bounced a ground rule double into the seats down the left field line.

Reds manager Jim Riggleman immediately strode to home plate, lineup card in hand. It turned out the Mets had batted out of order. Cabrera was supposed to bat second, not third. So the rules stipulated that Cabrera’s at bat didn’t count and the next batter in the lineup, Jay Bruce, was called out, even though he never stepped into the batter’s box. And that ended the inning. Cabrera, who ‘hit’ a double, was 0-for-0 and Bruce, who hadn’t faced a pitch, was 0-for-1 with catcher Tony Cruz credited with the putout.

The Reds immediately boarded buses for the airport for a flight to Los Angeles, where the Reds open a four-game series Thursday night in Dodger Stadium, the start of a seven-game trip that also takes them to San Francisco.

Tyler Mahle, who grew up a half hour from Dodger Stadium and rooted for the Dodgers, faces his old favorite team Thursday night.

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