This game had a little bit of everything in it. Both teams scored multiple runs in the 1st inning, and Cincinnati scored multiple runs in the 2nd before both teams bats went quite until the 8th inning. Baltimore tied things up with a 3-run inning late, but the Reds put together a big 10th inning that saw TJ Friedl crushed a 2-run homer that felt like it would put the game away. It certainly helped get the job done as Cincinnati added on and held on for an 11-7 victory over the Orioles to pick up the series win.
|Cincinnati Reds (43-38)
|Baltimore Orioles (48-31)
|W: Diaz (3-1) L: Akin (2-2)|
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
Cincinnati’s offense got moving early on when TJ Friedl led off the game with a single and he then stole second. Jonathan India was hit by a pitch to put two men on for Elly De La Cruz, and he came through with an RBI single to put the Reds in front 1-0. Jake Fraley made it 2-0 with an RBI single of his own as he kept things rolling around. Joey Votto picked up an RBI on a fielders choice as the Orioles failed to turn a double play on his grounder.
Baltimore was up for the challenge in the bottom of the inning. Cedric Mullens and Adley Rutschman had back-to-back singles against Luke Weaver. A grounder to Spencer Steer at first base led to a force out at second when his throw to Matt McLain was high and after making a leaping catch could only get the out at the bag. Ryan O’Hearn followed up with an RBI single to get the Orioles on the board and make it 3-1. Austin Hayes fell behind 0-2, but walks as he took four straight balls out of the zone to load the bases. Gunnar Henderson tripled to make it 4-3. Aaron Hicks hit a grounder to second and Jonathan India came up firing to the plate. The initial call was safe, but the Reds challenged the play and it was overturned.
The come-from-behind club from Cincinnati was going to have to do it again if they wanted to win, and Will Benson did his part by leading off the 2nd inning with a double. He would score the tying run on TJ Friedl’s single. Matt McLain followed up with a single of his own and he took second when the throw went to third base. A ground out would bring Friedl in to put the Reds up 5-4. Jake Fraley then picked up his second RBI single of the day to pad the lead to 6-4.
Both pitchers settled in for a bit after that, but neither could get through the 5th inning. Luke Weaver gave up a leadoff single in the bottom of the inning before getting a fly ball out. That would be the final pitch he threw as David Bell called on Alex Young to enter the game to face left-handed hitter Ryan O’Hearn, but he beat out an infield single to second base when Jonathan India made a sliding stop, but couldn’t get the throw in time. Or so that was the initial call, but the Reds challenged the play and it was overturned as Cincinnati picked up their second replay win of the night. Young then struck out Austin Hays to end the inning.
Cincinnati had an opportunity to add to their lead in the 6th inning when TJ Friedl walked, stole second base and advanced to third on an error by Adley Rustchman on the throw. Jonathan India followed up with a 2-out walk to put runners on the corners for Elly De La Cruz. Baltimore went to their bullpen to bring in a lefty to turn the switch hitter around and it paid off as he would strike out to strand both runners.
Alex Young returned to the mound to begin the bottom of the inning and walked the only batter he would face. Daniel Duarte then entered the game and he walked the first batter he saw in the inning, too. Duarte got a ground ball that resulted in a double play, but moved the lead runner over to third base in the process. He then walked Adam Frazier to put runners on the corners. That was enough for David Bell, who went back to the bullpen again and this time called on Lucas Sims to face Cedric Mullins and Sims got him to fly out to Jake Fraley to end the threat and hold onto the 6-4 lead.
Ian Gibaut took over for the bottom of the 7th inning and he made quick work of the Orioles, needing just 13 pitches to retire the side in order. The Reds would pad their lead in the top of the 8th when Will Benson, who singled and stole second base earlier in the inning came around to score on a ground out by Matt McLain.
That run turned out to be huge because Baltimore came out in the bottom of the 8th inning and put together a 2-out rally. Aaron Hicks started things with a single and then scored on a double by Jordan Westburg. Adam Frazier followed up with a game-tying 2-run homer before a strikeout ended the inning and sent the game into the 9th all tied up at 7-7.
Elly De La Cruz led off the top of the 9th inning with a grounder down the line and easily beat the throw to first base for an infield hit. He then stole second base with Nick Senzel at the plate. Then in an 0-2 count, Senzel bunted the ball over the pitcher and towards shortstop for another infield hit, with De La Cruz taking third on the play. Cincinnati failed to get a run in as back-to-back strikeouts of Joey Votto and Spencer Steer came ahead of a weak grounder to end the inning off of the bat of Kevin Newman.
Alexis Diaz entered the game for the bottom of the 9th inning to face the heart of the Orioles order. After 11 pitches the inning was over and the game was heading into the 10th as Diaz cruised through the frame. In the bottom of the inning Will Benson popped up a bunt on the first pitch, but it was a foul ball that was not catchable. The next pitch was not a bunt. Benson hit it over the right fielder’s head and the ball bounced off of the wall and Benson sprinted around the bases for a go-ahead RBI triple. TJ Friedl battled, foling off three pitches and working a full count before taking the 8th pitch of the at-bat and crushing a 2-run homer into the seats in right field to extend Cincinnati’s lead to 10-7.
Luke Maile then doubled off of the wall in right, and when the ball was tossed back to the infield Maile took off for third base and made it without a throw – ruled a double with an error. A wild pitch followed and Maile scored to make it 11-7.
Fernando Cruz took over for Cincinnati in the bottom of the 10th inning with Baltimore starting Ryan O’Hearn on second base as their free runner. Austin Hays led off with a single up the third base line that traveled about 30 feet, but it got the job done. Cruz would strike out Gunnar Henderson. He followed up by striking out Aaron Hicks after a challenged hit by pitch/hit the knob of the bat call that would have loaded the bases, but replay showed it did not hit him. Cruz then picked up a final strikeout of Jordan Westburg to end the game and seal the series win for the Reds.
Key Moment of the Game
TJ Friedl’s 2-run homer in the 10th. It gave Cincinnati a 3-run lead and a nice cushion for the bullpen to work with in the bottom of the inning.
Notes Worth Noting
TJ Friedl got on base four times in the game. He’s hitting .320/.388/.498 on the season with 14 steals in 15 attempts through 58 games played.
Will Benson, despite his horrible start to the season, has raised his line on the year to .278/.381/.467. He’s been crushing the ball since his return from Triple-A.
Players since 1901 to have a .300+ AVG, 9+ SB & 10+ XBH in 1st 20 MLB games:
Elly De La Cruz
Data via OptaSTATS pic.twitter.com/bSl1wkofdW
— Greg Harvey (@BetweenTheNums) June 29, 2023
Matt McLain’s on-base streak now sits at 20 games.
With the Brewers winning on Wednesday night, Cincinnati had to pull out a victory to remain in 1st place. The Reds are off on Thursday but Milwaukee is not.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
San Diego Padres vs Cincinnati Reds
Friday June 30th, 5:10pm ET
Graham Ashcraft (3-6, 7.17 ERA) vs Yu Darvish (5-6, 4.84 ERA)