By HAL McCOY
For the Cincinnati Reds, scoring runs — and even getting hits — is like pulling teeth. But on Friday night, they proved to be good dentists and extracted a 3-2 victory in 11 innings over the San Diego Padres.
It took a two-run home run off the bat of Derek Dietrich, who did not start the game, off Versailles, O., native Craig Stammen to pull this one out of the abyss.
As usual, the Reds received stellar pitching, especially from starter Anthony DeSclafani. He pitched six innings and gave up one run and two hits with one walk and six strikeouts.
Then came one inning by David Hernandez (one walk), one perfect inning by Wandy Peralta (two strikeouts), one perfect inning by Raisel Iglesias (three strikeouts for the second straight night) and one inning by Jared Hughes (one hit) through 10 innings.
Of course, it wasn’t easy. Dietrich’s home run, another of his string of dramatic homers this season, gave the Reds a 3-1 lead.
Zach Duke started the 11th and struck out pinch-hitter Luis Urias. Then he hit Fernando Tatis Jr. with a pitch. The Reds ignored Tatis and he stole second and third. Then he scored on Eric Hosmer’s ground ball.
Manager David Bell brought in Michael Lorenzen to get the final out, but he gave up a single to Manny Machado, the potential tying run. Then Lorenzen ended it by striking out Will Myers on a full count.
The Reds were helpless against San Diego starter, left hander Matt Strahm. He gave up a home run to the second batter of the game, Eugenio Suarez, then nothing more.
Yasiel Puig dribbled an infield single 15 feet up the third base line in the fourth inning. That was it. The next 16 Reds made outs.
Strahm pitched seven innings and gave up one run and two hits, the same as DeSclafani, but pitched one more inning and didn’t walk anybody.
The Padres tied the game in the third on a two-out home run over the center field wall.
The Reds caught a mammoth break in the bottom of the ninth when it was 1-1. With one out, veteran Ian Kinsler doubled up the left-center gap. Strangely, with Jared Hughes standing on the mound holding the ball, Kinsler, the potential winning run, already in scoring position, broke for third. Hughes calmly turned and threw Kinsler out at third base.
In the end, both teams had four hits. The Reds made three errors and the Padres made two.
In the end, with the Reds bats still as quiet as a dark closet at midnight, it came down to masterful pitching.
After Tatis homered in the third, the Padres didn’t have another hit until Kinsler’s one-out double in the ninth.
So, after getting swept three games in Los Angeles, the Reds have won two straight in San Diego with two more left.
So far against the Padres, every run scored by the Reds has come on home runs. In the opener, a 4-1 win, home runs were hit by Joey Votto, Tucker Barnhart (two-run shot) and Jesse Winker. On Friday night, all thee runs came on home runs by Eugenio Suarez and the two-run blast by Derek Dietrich. who entered the game in the ninth inning as a pinch-hitter for Jose Peraza.
Dietrich has hit five home runs, all of the dramatic variety, making him the most exciting Dietrich since Marlene. Or is it the exciting since Bo Derek.