By Hal McCoy
It was 1957 and eggs were 55 cents a dozen, gas was 24 cents a gallon, a loaf of bread was 19 cents and the ‘57 Cincinnati Reds won 11 straight games.
And no Reds team duplicated that for 66 years — until Wednesday afternoon in raucous Great American Ball Park, populated by 23,637 Business Day Special fans.
The first-place rollicking and romping Reds completed a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies, 5-3, for their third straight three-game sweep and 11th straight victory.
The Reds (40-35) have won five straight series and six of their last seven.
The hero this time was Jake Fraley. He broke a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning by whistling a get-out-of-here-fast line drive two-run home run into the front row of the right field seats
It completed another comeback, their 26th this season. They trailed, 3-0, heading into the fifth and tied it, 3-3, setting up Fraley’s late-game eruption.
For the depleted, dejected and disjointed Rockies (29-48), it was their eighth straight defeat and 18th in 23 games. And it was the 22nd time they led a game and lost it.
The Reds? They’ve come from behind to win 26 times and have won 19 when the opposition scored first.
Elly De La Cruz, The Magic Man, opened the eighth with a hustle double on a shallow bloop hit to left field. With one out, Fraley picked on Daniel Bard’s first pitch and hit one that would have put a large hole in the right field wall had it not cleared it.
“I keep thanking the Lord that I have an opportunityu to be on a team like this,” said Fraley during an on-the-field post-game interview with Bally Sports Ohio. “We fight, and everybody is seeing it, it’s a special team.
“It’s a blessing, man. I can’t thank the Lord enough for the opportunity to play for a team like this,” he added. “It is very rare that you have a team that’s brought together the way it’s brought together. Any given night, somebody’s a new hero.
“For me to be able to do that today means a lot to me because I want to go out there and play hard for these guys,” he said. “This has been awesome and it has been one game at a time for us. That’s been our mentality, just take it one game at a time and that’s what we are going to continue to do.
Rookie lefthander Andrew Abbott started for the Reds and gave up three runs and four hits while striking out a career-best 10 in six innings.
But three of those four hits were solo home runs. He entered the game with 17 2/3 straight scoreless innings to start his major league career.
That ended on the first pitch of the game. Brenton Doyle homered. Elehuis Montero homered in the second and Randal Grichuk homered in the fourth for a 3-0 Colorado lead.
After Grichuk’s home run, Abbott retired 14 of the next 15, the last eight in row and the last four on strikeouts.
What happened after that, though, was inevitable. Colorado manager Bud Black had to piece his pitching together from tattered and torn fabric.
The scheduled starter, Connor Seebold, was scratched with a sore shoulder. Black made it a bullpen day and started relief pitcher Jake Bird, his first professional start.
He pitched a 1-2-3 first and had to work out of a problem in the second. De La Cruz opened with a single. He was running on the pitch when Fraley lined to right. De La Cruz was doubled off first.
But Joey Votto was hit by a pitch and Tyler Stephenson, who had three hits, singled. The rally died when Will Benson grounded to short.
That ended Bird’s day and he was followed by recent minor-league call-up, Karl Kauffmann, who owned an 11.37 earned run average for his three major league appearances and a 7.30 ERA for the Class AAA Albuquerque Isotopes.
The Reds hit him hard for two innings but everything was caught. Then it unraveled.
He began the fifth by hitting Votto with a pitch when Votto leaned in and stuck out his elbow. Stephenson walked to fill the bases.
The next pitcher was Matt Carasiti, who was pitching independent ball last season. He was greeted by Reds catcher and number nine hitter Luke Mahle with a a two-run single up the middle. TJ Friedl singled to tie it, 3-3.
And the Reds had runners on third and first with one out and Jonathan India at the plate. The Reds tried a delayed double steal as India struck out. He thought the 3-and-2 pitch was ball four and crossed in front of the catcher as he threw to second base. India was called for obstrucing the cather’s throw and Friedl was called out, ending the inning.
Daniel Bard was called upon in the eighth to guard the 3-3 tie, but De La Cruz and Fraley made certain that didn’t happen.
After Abbott left, the Reds bullpen did its usual due diligence with five scoreles one-hit innings with five strikeouts — 15 Rockies strikeouts on the day.
Lucas Sims pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, Ian Gibaut gave up a leadoff single in the eighth, then retired three straight, then Buck Farmer gave up a two-out double in the ninth and recorded a save when first baseman Spencer Steer snagged Jorge Alfaro’s blistered line drive.
Gibaut was the recipient of the win and is 8-1 out of the bullpen this season.
After a day off Thursday, it is Showdown Time for the Reds. The Atlanta Braves, dominating the National League East, open a three-game series in GABP Friday night.
“We’re going to enjoy this one today, then we’ll move on for Atlanta,” said Fraley. “That’s our mindset.”