By Hal McCoy
The Cincinnati Reds encountered some lethal RISPy business Saturday afternoon against pitching nemesis Michael Wacha.
It enabled the San Diego Padres to hang in there until they could score 11 runs in the sixth, seventh and eigth innings and plant a 12-5 beatdown in front of 30,895 in Great American Ball Park.
The Reds put their leadoff batter on base in four straight early innings, but scored only once. During Wacha’s five innings the Reds were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and stranded five runners.
Nevertheless, with Cincinnati starter Brandon Williamson putting together some quality pitching — one run (while he wa on the mound — three hits, a walk and five strikeouts.
Meanwhile, San Diego put their leadoff batter on base five times and scored all five times, and then some.
Thus ended Cincinnati’s three-game winning streak, but it has won 15 of 19. The Padres ended a six-game losing streak and have lost 11 of 14.
Wacha (8-2) claimed the win and is 13-3 with a 2.33 earned run average for his 22 starts against the Reds, most of them when he pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals.
He was pitching after a two-week hiatus due to shoulder fatigue. But he put the Padres on his shoulders in this one.
Williamson’s only walk was to Trent Grisham opening the third. He stole second and scored on Fernando Tatis Jr.’s two-out double.
The Reds tied it, 1-1, in their thlird when Tyler Stephenson walked, took second and third on ground balls and scored on Matt McLain’s two-out double.
But the Reds put their leadoff batters on base in the second, third, fourth and fifth and only scored in the third.
Jake Fraley opened the second with a double and did what is considered a dirty deed in baseball. He tried to steal third with two outs and was thrown out.
Fraley started the fourth with a single and stole second base while Joey Votto (0 for 18 with 10 strikeouts) struck out. Spencer Steer and Stephenson both grounded out.
Will Benson led the fifth with a single and didn’t budge from first as the next three Reds went down.
The Reds had one hit off Wacha in each of the first five innings but stranded five.
Williamson started the sixth, but when No. 9 hitter Austin Kerr, hitting .136, singled to left, manager David Bell went to his bullpen.
It was disastrous.
Buck Farmer was the firstr of three victims. Shortstop Elly De La Cruz booted Ha-Seong Kim’s ground ball and Tatis crushed his 15th homer, a 405-foot launch deep into the right field sun deck. Manny Machado followed with a home run and it was 5-1 for the Padres.
Alec Mills made his Reds debut in the seventh, the 31st different pitcher to take the mound in a Reds uniform this season.
And it was inauspicious at the lowest level. He gave up five runs that inclulded a hit batsman, a run-scoring triple to Grisham and another home run to Machado.
That made it 10-1 and for the Reds, it was take a message, Garcia. They don’t quit.
Luis Garcia came on to pitch the seventh. He walked two and gave up a single to Will Benson, who had three hits. That loaded the bases and Jonathan India unloaded a grand slam home run. He was playing minus his scraggly beard, which he shaved off before the game.
That made it 10-5 and was there another miraculous rescue of a win?
Not this time. It got away for good in the eighth when Eduardo Salazar hit the first two Padres and both scored on a couple of sacrifice flies to push San Diego in front, 12-5.