McCoy: Reds Pull Off Another Pocket Full of Miracles

By Hal McCoy
Contributing Writer

Babe Ruth wasn’t talking about the 2023 Cincinnati Reds when he said, “It’s hard to beat a team that never gives up.”

But it fits these Reds like an infielder’s mitt.

The Reds staged another one for the ages Friday afternoon in Great American Ball Park, another walk-off for the ages.

This time it was Spencer Steer with a two-out, two-run walk-off home run in the 11th innng that gave the Rambunctious Reds a 7-5 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Just moments before, with the score 5-5, 
Elly De La Cruz was thrown out at home trying to score the winning run on a Nick Senzel ground ball to shortstop
Xander Bogaerts.

That left it tied with two outs and a runner on first. Then Spencer Steer happened on a day during which Reds’ rookies put the exclamation points on the Reds 15th win in 18 games.

And it didn’ for the Cincinnati Nine in the ninth inning when Alexis Diaz blew a save after 27 consecutive saves, 22 this season.

Sent to protect a 2-1 lead, he gave up a run and the game spun into the 10th

And it didn’t look good forl the Cincinnati Nine in the 10th inning. The Padres, who were 0-6 in extra-inning games, scored two runs off Ian Gibaut to take a 4-2 lead.

And it didn’t look good for the Cincinnati Nine in the bottom of the 10th with two outs and a two-run deficit. But rookie Matt McLain, 0 for 4, straight-arrowed a line drive over the center field wall to tie it, 4-4.

And it didnt look good for the Cincinnati Nine when the Padres scored a run in the 11th to take a 5-4 lead.

But rookie De La Cruz opened the 11th with a double, scoring ghost runner Jonathan India to tie it, 5-5. Kevin Newman bunted De La Cruz to third, from where De La Cruz was thrown out at home.

And it didn’t look. . .well, that ended with the home run by Steer for the Reds 30th come-from-behind victory out of their 44 wins.

“I was just trying to hit something hard in the gap,” said Steer during an on-the-field interview with Bally Sports Ohio. “ He (pitcher Drew Carolton) threw me a slider there at the end. That was the best, man. I couldn’t be happier to give that to this team. I got picked off (first base) earier in the game and I thought I cost us the game. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bigger hit in my life. That was pretty awesome.”

During the Reds extra-jnnings escapes, broadcaster Jeff Brantley said, “A Reds ticket should come with a defibrillator.”

Said Steer, agreeing with Babe Ruth, “We just don’t give up, we just don’t give up. We keep fighting. We just make stuff happen, we just seem to make stuff happen.

Trying to make stuff happen is the Reds Way, but it nearly cost them on this day. Steer and Will Benson both were picked off first base in the seventh inning.

De La Cruz singled with one out in the fourth, sending India to third. But De La Cruz tried to take second on his hit Fernando Tatis Jr. threw him out. Instead of third and first with no outs, there were two outs and a runner on third. Jake Fraley struck out.

And then there was De La Cruz’s dash home in the 11th that ended in an out.




There were many positive things for the Reds to talk about after handing the higly-paid Padres their 11th loss in 13 games, but at the forefront had to be, “Welcome back, Graham Ashcraft.”

Ashcraft had been AWOL from pitching effectiveness si nce tbe last time he faced the Padres, but on Friday he was as good as it gets.

In 6 2/3 innings, he held the Padres to one run, three hits, walked two and struck out seven. The last time he faced the Padres in San Diego, he pitched six two-hit innings and he was 2-0 with a 2.00 earned run average for his first six starts.

Then he disappeared. Since that game, he was 1-6 with an earned run average near 12.00.

He was a different man Friday as the Reds handed the failing Pardes their sixth straight defeat. Before coming to Cincinnati, the team with a $256 million payroll lost two games in Washington and three in Pittsburgh.

Ashcraft didn’t get the win. He left with the game tied, 1-1, after his one mistake to number nine hitter Trent Grisham landed in the left field seats in the sixth, breaking a 0-0 tie.

Undaunted by Grisham’s home run and facing a tough, tough Seth Lugo. the Reds pulled up their black City Connect uniforms and went to work.

They tied it with an unearned run in the sixth against Lugo, who owned a 1.16 earned run average for his 23 1/3 innings against the Reds.

After McLain and India struck out, 
De La Cruz lifted one to left center. Center fielder Grisham and left fielder Juan Soto collided and the ball fell.

It was first ruled as an error, then changed to a double. Either way, De La Cruz was on second with two outs and scored on Jake Fraley’s double and it was 1-1.

Lugo was replaced by Brent Honeywell in the seventh and baseball’s version of a death-defying battled ensued between Honeywell and Tyler Stephenson.

Stephenson fouled off four straight 3-and-2 pitches, then on the at bat’s 10 pitch he crash-landed a home run 12 rows up in the left field seats to give the Reds a 2-1 lead.

Then something rarely seen hapened in the San Diego ninth. Reds closer Diaz blew a save, setting up all the histrionics in the 10th and 11th..


2 thoughts on “McCoy: Reds Pull Off Another Pocket Full of Miracles”

  1. Why wasn’t San Diego catcher called for blocking the plate when he clearly put his foot between the runner (EDC) and home plate before having possession of the ball?

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