By HAL McCOY
CINCINNATI — In remembrance of D-Day, the World War II invasion of Normandy Beach in 1944, the Cincinnati Reds wore their camouflage uniforms Wednesday night against the Colorado Rockies.
Unfortunately for the Reds these days, D-Day means Defeat Day and they absorbed another one, their 41st against only 21 wins. This time it was 6-3 to the Rockies, the Reds seventh defeat in nine games.
On this date last year Scooter Gennett hit four home runs and drove in 10 runs. He, of course, didn’t sniff coming close to a night like that, but he did drive in two runs with a sacrifice fly and a double and scored a run after a walk.
It was way too little to reverse the downward trend of the Reds.
Sal Romano, still trying to wade his way through recent adversities, took another loss and his record over his last six starts in 1-and-4 with a 10.72 earned run average.
On Wednesday he gave up five runs over five-plus innings and only six hits, but five of those hits were for extra bases, including a two-run home run to Ian Desmond, a guy batting below the Mendoza Line, sub .200.
“I gave up five runs. We lost again while I was pitching,” said a glum Romano. “No matter what I say, no matter what I did good today, it doesn’t matter because I gave up five runs.”
Manager Jim Riggleman’s assessment of Romano was blunt and to the point.
“That’s a good hitting lineup,” he said of the Rockies. “Sal competed and put up a zero after giving up three run in the fourth. He gave us a chance. But when you give up four in the first four innings, that’s usually not going to work.”
And it didn’t.
The Rockies struck first with a run in the second inning. Romano struck out the first two then walked Ian Desmond, a .193 hitter. Even worse, he gave up a run-scoring double into the right field corner by the No. 8 hitter, catcher Tony Wolters, who was batting .159.
Colorado starter Jon Gray hurt himself with a walk, too. In the bottom of the second he walked Scooter Gennett to start the inning. Gennett took second on Joey Votto’s single and scored on Jose Peraza’s single.
The Reds took a 2-1 lead in the third when Jesse Winker led the inning with a double, moved to third on Votto’s punch single to left and scored on Gennett’s sacrifice fly to center.
Colorado came right back in the top of the fourth to barge back in front, 4-2. Trevor Story’s ground rule double that hopped into the stands in right center and a single under the glove of diving second baseman Gennett by Gerardo Parra tied it. Romano then was hammered for a two-run home run by Desmond, his 11th home run despite a batting average under .200.
The Reds retrieved one of those two runs back in the fifth, but left two on base. Votto doubled with one out and scored on Gennett’s double. Eugenio Suarez walked to put two on with one out, but Scott Schebler lined to center and Jose Peraza fouled to right, leaving the Reds 4-3 in arrears.
Once again, though, the Rockies struck back quickly with a run in the sixth. Carlos Gonzalez led with a double and with two outs he scored when Tony Wolters, his average now up to .167, rolled a single through the right side to move Colorado up by two again, 5-3.
“I hung a curveball to Desmond (home run),” said Romano. “My off-speed stuff was really good most of the time. My change-up was the best it has been my entire career so far. I didn’t get guys out when I needed to and I paid for it.”
A pair of walks with one out by Rockies relief pitcher Harrison Musgrave put two Reds on base in the sixth, but Tucker Barnhart struck out for the third time and Joey Votto struck out to end the inning.
A rare error by center fielder Billy Hamilton led to Colorado’s sixth run in the eighth. Carlos Gonzalez lined one to right center and Hamilton easily chased it down, but the ball clanked off his glove. Gonzalez then scored on a single by Gerardo Parra.
The Reds did not pack it up and take it home quietly. Jesse Winker and Tucker Barnhart each poked two-out singles in the eighth, bringing up Joey Votto as the potential tying run. But he swung at Colorado relief pitcher Jake McGee’s first pitch and flied deep to the left field corner, leaving matters at 6-3.
There was a mild Reds uprising in the ninth against Rockies closer Wade Davis. There was an infield single and an error that put Eugenio Suarez on second. But Davis struck out Scott Schebler and pinch-hitter Curt Casali popped out. Game Over. Save No. 20. Thanks for coming. Drive home safely.
As has been the case in recent times, the Reds outhit their opponent, but not at right place or the right time. They outhit the Rockies, 11-8, but stranded 13 runners.
“That’s pretty much the story recently — we get a lot of hits, but we have to get some timely hits,” said Riggleman. “Getting three runs out of 11 hits is just not enough. We didn’t play very well, but still, we had that many hits we’d like to put five or six on the board.”
Riggleman is happy with all the hits his team is producing, but not happy with the end results.
“All those hits aside, we’re trying to win ball games and we’re not winning ball games,” he said. “We’re not having too many pluses to think about. Individually, that’s fine. But it is not doing us any good.”