By Hal McCoy
On baseball’s ugly game meter, the needle went off the scale on the Cincinnati Reds Monday night in Camden Yards.
And lay it firmly at the feet of the pitchers, this 10-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
While losing their third straight, the Reds toppled out of first place in the National League Central, a half-game behind the Milwaukee Brewers.
The depleted Reds pitching staff gave up 10 runs, 12 hits, walked nine and went to full counts 12 times. Four of the walks came around to score.
Starter Brandon Williamson was bothered by a faulty Pitch-Com and a torrential downpour during his two brief innings on a soggy, muddy mound.
The Reds had given him a 1-0 lead in the first on leadoff hitter Kevin Newman’s long double and Spencer Steer’s single.
Williamson had two outs and nobody on in the second during a rain so heavy his jersey was soaked.
He went to 3-and-2 on three straight hitters and walked all three. Austin Hays singled up the middle for a 2-0 Orioles lead.
Anthony Santander singled to open the third and play was stopped as Moby Dick was spotted swimming in center field.
The delay was one-hour and 44 minutes.
When play resumed, David Bell went to a pair of relief pitchers called up from Class AAA Louisville Monday morning after Fernando Cruz pitched two inings and gave up a run, a hit and walk.
Eduardo Salazar was first and he gave up three runs, three hits and a walk in the fifth inning.
Then Jacob Wong made his major league debut and it is evident the Reds are running out of uniform numbers. He wore No. 85 while pitching the final three innings.
He had one bad inning, the eighth, giving up three runs and four hits.
When the game began, the Reds and Orioles were tied for most comeback wins in the majors with 27. Because the Orioles gave up a run in the first then took command, they are credited with their 28th.
The Reds had a chance in the first to put more pressure on the Orioles (48-29), second place in the American League East. After Steer’s run-scoring single in the first, the Reds had two on with two outs.
Nick Senzel blistered one headed for the left field corner, but Baltimore third baseman Ramon Urias made a diving backhanded stab, a larcenous third out that would have made Baltimore’s legendary third baseman, Brooks Robinson, proud.
The Reds made no other solid noise untill the sixth inning when Steer crushed a two-run homer, his 12th, cutting Baltimore’s lead to 7-3.
But when the Orioles came right back in the bottom of the sixth and scored three to make it 10-3 the battle was over.
Steer had three hits and a walk as the sum total of the Reds offense and drove in all three runs.
Elly De La Cruz struck out his first two trips, five strikeouts in his previous five at bats. He went 0 for 4 and is 0 for his last 10.
After going 4 for 5 with three extra base hits Sunday against Atlanta, Matt McLain was 0 for 4 Monday, but stretched his on-base streak to 18 games when he was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning.
Austin Hays did most of the damage for the Orioles with a double, single and three RBI as Baltimore won for the 11th time in 16 games.