By HAL McCOY
The Cincinnati Reds obviously stuck their fingers into a piranha tank when they scored seven runs in the ninth inning Tuesday night to embarrass the Cleveland Indians.
The Tribe made certain Wednesday night in Progressive Field that even if the Reds scored 14 in the ninth inning they weren’t going to win.
The Reds walked off the field with all their fingers bitten completely off as the Indians scored 17 runs in the first four innings en route to a 19-4 victory.
The last pitcher of the game for the Reds was infielder Alex Blandino and he was the only Reds pitcher not to give up runs.
The Tribe collected 19 hits that included four home runs, two by Jose Ramirez, a double and seven walks.
And Cleveland manager Terry Francona could have a sleep-filled night. He said he didn’t sleep after Tuesday’s 7-4 win and before Wednesday’s game he called a team meeting an apologized for his faux pas the night before.
His apology was because of a miscommunication in that fateful ninth. The Tribe led, 4-3, with two outs, the bases loaded and Joey Votto at bat.
Francona told pitching coach Carl Willis that he wanted OP, who is left hander Oliver Perez. Willis thought he said OT, the nickname for Dan Otero, a right hander. So Otero came into the game and once a relief pitcher takes the field he has to face at least one batter.
Votto roped a three-run double to put the Reds head and they won, 7-4, with that seven-run ninth.
After the game, Votto said on TV, “Everybody in the clubhouse has their eyes on the mop.” Mop? Didn’t he mean broom? You don’t sweep with a mop, you sweep with a broom. Didn’t matter. The Tribe made certain the Reds didn’t complete their first-ever sweep in Cleveland.
Tyler Mahle was on a roll when he took the mound, a 4-0 record and a 2.04 earned run average over his last seven starts.
The Tribe quickly rolled him off the mound. Mahle faced 16 batters and nine reached base. He gave up a two-run home run to Jose Ramirez in the first. He walked two in the second.
The third, though, began when first baseman Joey Votto permitted a ball to roll under his glove, a two-base error. Mahle retired Ramirez, but the next four Indians singled and it was 5-0.
Rookie Tanner Rainey replaced Mahle and believe it or not things got worse. Rainey faced 10 batters and eight reached base, including a second home run by Ramirez and a home run by Jason Kipnis. Ramirez hit 29 home runs last year and already has 27 this year.
When Rainey left it was 14-0 and the Tribe tacked on three more against Jackson Stephens on a three-run home run by Francisco Lindor.
For those without calculators, that’s two runs in the first, nine runs in the third and six runs in the fourth. Total: 17.
Cleveland start Carlos Carrasco pitched five innings, just enough to gain the win, and took the rest of the night off.
And by mid-game Reds manager Jim Riggleman removed first baseman Votto, catcher Tucker Barnhart and third baseman Eugenio Suarez, probably to keep them from getting hurt.
The Reds, who scored a run off Carrasco in the fifth on Billy Hamilton’s triple and a sacrifice fly, scored another run in the sixth against relief pitcher Adam Plutko on Scooter Gennett’s home run.
Kyle Crockett gave up the last two runs and the Reds scored two in the eighth on Gennett’s third hit of the night and Jesse Winker’s home run.
To save the bullpen, manager Jim Riggleman had infielder Alex Blandino pitch the eighth and he was by far the best ‘pitcher’ of the night. He retired Francisco Lindor on his first pitch, a fly ball to right. He gave up a single by recorded two strikeouts, using a knuckleball and a 90 miles an hour fastball.