McCoy: Reds Awful On The Basepaths in 4-3 Loss

By Hal McCoy

The Cincinnati Runnin’ Reds ran themselves out of a baseball game Saturday afternoon in Great American Ball Park.

Three base-running blunders and a throwing error turned into a messy 4-3 defeat to the Boston Red Sox.

Two runners ill-fatedly tried to score from third on infield grounders and were thrown out at home, one was picked off second and a throwing error all led to the team’s 14th loss in 20 one-run games.

On this day, the Reds’ instincts were their worst instincts.

Bally Sports broadcaster Barry Larkin was succinct and direct after the game when he said, “When you are ahead 3-0 and need to tack on runs, these things just can’t happen. They just can’t. If you want to win and not just compete, you have to tighten these things up.”

And with the sloppy performance, the Reds flopped back into last place in the National League Central.

Amazingly, the Reds put runners on base in all nine innings, but what they did when they were on was two steps below awful.

They only scored via home runs, a first-inning two-run rip by Spencer Steer and a solo shot by Elly De La Cruz in the third that gave them a 3-0 lead.

Boston’s Dominic Smith homered off Reds starter Frankie Montas in the fifth and the Red Sox crept to within 3-2 on back-to-back doubles by Wilyer Abreu and Connor Wong in he sixth.

The Reds were 32-1 this season when leading after six innings, but the Red Sox slapped a second loss on that record by scoring two runs in the eighth against relief pitchers Justin Wilson and Lucas Sims.

The inning began with a slow roller to third baseman Jeimer Candelario and he threw the ball away giving Ceddanne Rafaela an infield hit and an error that placed him on second base.

Jarren Duran singled him to third. Rob Refsnyder, a former Reds minor leaguer, pinch-hit and poked a first-pitch single to right to tie it, 3-3, as Duran scampered to third with no outs.

Sims replaced Wilson, who had given up three straight hits, and Sims struck out Connor Wong for the first out. Rafael Devers lobbed a shallow foul ball down the left field line.

After a long run, Stuart Fairchild made the catch as Duran tagged and fled homeward. Fairchild’s off-balance throw was off-line and Duran scored to make it 4-3.

And the running ruinations?

In the fifth inning, the Reds had runners on the corners with one out. Candelario grounded to short and T.J. Friedl tried to score from third. He was out by from here to the Kentucky shore.

In the sixth inning, the Reds once again had runners on the corners with one out. This time Nick Martini nubbed one about eight feet in front of the plate.

Jake Fraley bolted homeward as catcher Connor Wong captured the ball, turned back to the plate and waited to tag Fraley, who was out from here to eternity.

The faux pas in the sixth wasn’t over. On the Martini-
Fraley play, De La Cruz advanced to second. Then he wandered too far off the base and was picked off, caught in a rundown, to end the inning.

The Reds faced Boston closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth. He has blown one save all year. . .and it nearly became two. With one out, Fairchild, the master of robbing hitters of home runs, drove one fenceward to center. Boston center fielder Duran turned the table upset down on Fairchild by leaping above the wall to snag the would-be tying home run.

The 36-year-old Jansen then gave up a two-out single to Friedl, the potential tying run, but De La Cruz hit a lazy fly ball to left to end it.

Jansen is 14 for 15 in save opportunities this season and owns 434 career saves.

The Reds literally littered the bases with runners but could only score on home runs.

The homers came in the first and third, but the Reds had action in every other inning.

—Luke Maile drew a two-out walk and stole second in the second inning. But Will Benson, 0 for 18, struck out.

—Jonathan India singled with one out in the fourth, but Martini flied out and Maile grounded out.

Then game the baserunning gaffes in the fifth and sixth.

—De La Cruz singled with two outs in the seventh, his third hit, but Candelario grounded out.

—Fraley singled with one out in the eighth and took second on India’s grounder, but Martini struck out.

The Reds were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight. . .plus the three who were wiped off the bases.

Reds starter Frankie Montas pitched six innings and gave up two runs and five hits, while walking one and striking out four.

Despite throwing only 72 pitches, 52 strikes, manager David Bell removed him after six and a 3-2 lead, but the base-running and bullpen turned victory into defeat.


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