McCoy: Reds Rout Sonny Gray, Rip Cardinals, 9-4

By Hal McCoy

Carson Spiers versus Sonny Gray? A mismatch, right?

On paper, yes. But Saturday afternoon’s game was played on the 90-degree grass of Busch Stadium, not on an 8×11 piece of paper.

And the Cincinnati Reds treated nine-game winner and former Reds pitcher Sonny Gray like Sonny Bono during a 9-4 blitz of the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Reds pummeled Gray for six runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings, the most runs he has given up at Busch this season, where he usually as is untouchable as Eliot Ness.

Six runs and seven hits off Gray is like finding gold in an outhouse.

In his previous start, Gray took a perfect game into the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants. On this day he was far from perfect

Meanwhile, Spiers did his best Sonny Gray imitation, holding the Cardinals to two runs, only one earned, in a dazzling display of muzzling the potent St. Louis offense.

The 26-year-old right-hander gave up only three hits while walking one and striking out four. The unearned run came in the third inning when Reds third baseman Noelvi Marte dropped Matt Carpenter’s pop foul for his second error of the game. Carpenter then doubled and scored on Michael Siani’s single.

The earned run came when Paul Goldschmidt homered with two outs in the sixth when the Reds led, 8-1.

As unlikely as it was for the Reds to beat up Gray, there was an unlikely hitting star for the Reds.

It was catcher Austin Wynns, called up from Class AAA Louisville to fill in for Tyler Stephenson, home in South Carolina on paternity leave.

Wynns had three hits, all doubles, that produced an RBI and two runs scored as the Reds took a two games to one lead in the four-game series.

“A great day, baby, a great day. Hey, man, I just squared up on some and it worked out,” said Wynns during a post-game interview with Bally Sports Ohio.

Of pitcher Spiers, Wynns said, “He mixed, he hit his spots, had good defense and we had timely hitting. Everything just played out from all our arsenals.

“The kid is nasty. Every one of his pitches set up another pitch. And he has come so far from spring training until now. I’m excited for him,” Wynns added.

The Reds put it away in the fifth inning with six runs on only three hits. The highlight for the Reds was an error by St. Louis third baseman Nolan Arenado, who has more Gold Gloves than fit on a large fireplace mantel.

He muffed a ground ball that would have ended the inning without a run.

It all began with a one-out triple into the right field corner by Elly De La Cruz, his ninth triple. Gray then walked Spencer Steer and he stole second.

Jake Fraley enacted a 10-pitch at bat fouling off four two-strike pitches before Gray hit him with a pitch to fill the bases.

Noelvi Marte grounded to Arenado, an easy inning-ending double play. He gloved it, then dropped
it. Everybody was safe as De La Cruz scored to make it 3-1.

That ended Gray’s very gray day, replaced by John King.

After pinch-hitter Santiago Espinal lined to shortstop for the second out, Stuart Fairchild drilled a two-run single to left for a 5-1 lead. Fairchild stole second and Will Benson rolled a two-run single to right and it was 7-1.

Wynns doubled past Arenado for the sixth run of the inning and an 8-1 lead.

Unbelievably, India made two outs in the inning, but he already had doubled in the third inning to extend his hitting streak to 11 games that includes 12 extra base hits.

And it was the seventh straight game in which he produced a double, a club record. Then he doubled again in the seventh, his eighth straight multi-hit game.

Wynns began a two-run Reds third inning with a double and was doubled home by India. De La Cruz made it three straight doubles and the Reds led, 2-0. Wynns poked his third double in the seventh and scored on India’s second double for a 9-2 lead.

The Reds had six doubles in Thursday’s 11-4 win over the Cardinals and added seven more Saturday.

Wynns caught all nine innings, finishing with a drenched uniform in the stifling humidity and heat in Busch Stadium, the world’s largest sauna.

“It’s a mindset, “he said. “A mindset. Prepare, hydrate. . .that’s all you can do, know what I mean?”

And what the Reds can do Sunday afternoon is win a series, something they haven’t been able to do much of this season.

 

 

 

 

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