Just when you think you’ve seen everything on a baseball field Elly De La Cruz shows up to teach you something. After falling behind 4-1, the Cincinnati Reds battled back not once, but twice in the game to tie it up before De La Cruz set the baseball world on fire by stealing third and home on the same play just a few pitches after his RBI single gave the Reds a lead. Alexis Diaz would shut the game down in the 9th and seal a win over the Brewers that guarantees the Reds will be in first place to start the second half of the season.
|Cincinnati Reds (50-40)
|Milwaukee Brewers (48-42)
|W: Sims (3-1) L: Peguero (1-2) SV: Diaz (26)|
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
Milwaukee didn’t waste much time taking the lead on Saturday as Willy Adames hit a 422-foot solo homer off of Luke Weaver in the 1st inning to put the Brewers up 1-0. Cincinnati got that run back on a home run of their own in the top of the 3rd inning when Will Benson sent one over the bullpen in right field to tie things up.
The game didn’t remain tied very long. In the bottom of the 3rd inning Joey Wiemer singled and then came around to score on a double off of the bat of Christian Yelich that caught the kick-out of the stands and bounced towards center field instead of continuing down the right field line, making it easy for Wiemer to score on the play. The Brewers weren’t done, though, as Willy Adames hit another home run and made it 4-1.
Elly De La Cruz led off the 4th inning with an infield single and he was awarded second base when the throw from Willy Adames threw the ball away. He moved to third on a balk and then Jake Fraley walked to put runners on the corners for Joey Votto. He tied the game up on the first pitch he saw when he hit it 423 feet over the bullpen in right center. Will Benson would triple later in the inning, but he would be stranded at third.
The Brewers would take the lead once again in the bottom of the 4th inning after Brice Turang triples with a runner on first base. With the infield in a little bit, Joey Wiemer hit a grounder to Elly De La Cruz, who looked the runner back and then got the out of first. That would end the day for Luke Weaver as the Reds called on Ian Gibaut to come in and face Christian Yelich with two outs. Gibaut got the job done, getting a ground out to end the inning.
Cincinnati wasn’t going to roll over. Matt McLain led off with a single and then stole second. After a pitching change, Jake Fraley came to the plate to face Bryse Wilson. He had been 0-9 against Wilson in his career, but he came to the plate ready to swing and doubled on the first pitch he saw to tie the game up at 5-5. Joey Votto thought he had an RBI hit, but a leaping catch on a line drive by Owen Miller at first base robbed his counterpart of a hit and ended the inning.
Ian Gibaut returned to the mound for the bottom of the 5th inning and he did what seemingly no other Reds pitcher has been able to – he didn’t give up a home run to Willy Adames, but it wasn’t due to Adames not trying as he flew out to the warning track. Gibaut got through the inning to keep the score tied up at 5-5.
Daniel Duarte took over in the bottom of the 6th inning and got the first two batters out in the inning. But Milwaukee would follow up with a single and a walk. That led to a pitching change, with Lucas Sims coming out of the bullpen for the Reds. He walked the first batter he faced to load the bases, but he got a ground out from Christian Yelich to end the inning.
TJ Friedl and Matt McLain started the top of the 7th inning with singles, but Jonathan India grounded into a double play that moved Friedl over to third base. That’s when Elly De La Cruz took things into his own hands. He singled into left field to put the Reds up 6-5. Then he stole second base. And then he stole third base, with no throw to the base as the third baseman couldn’t cover with where he was positioned. The catcher then stood up and tossed the ball back to the pitcher, who casually caught the ball and turned his back to walk to the mound. That was a mistake and De La Cruz knew it, and he sprinted for the plate and beat the throw home. The Fastest Man In Baseball stole third and home on the same play without there being an error.
ELLY STEALS SECOND, THIRD, AND THEN HOME!
?? REDS LEAD 7-5 ?? pic.twitter.com/PnTHQXixNU
— Bally Sports Cincinnati (@BallySportsCIN) July 8, 2023
De La Cruz became the first Reds player to steal second, third, and home in the same inning since 1919 when Greasy Neale did it. Surely you recall that game, right?
After Lucas Sims got a 1-2-3 7th inning, Buck Farmer took over in the 8th. He gave up a leadoff infield single to Raimel Tapia, but retired the next three batters in order to hold onto the 2-run lead and send the game to the 9th.
Cincinnati picked up an insurance run in the top of the 9th after TJ Friedl picked up an infield single and moved up to second base on a balk. Another infield single, this time from Matt McLain, moved Friedl to third base. Jonathan India then hit a sacrifice fly to make it 8-5.
Alexis Diaz entered from the bullpen for the Reds in the bottom of the 9th and he got to face former Red Jesse Winker, who came off of the bench to pinch hit for Joey Wiemer. Diaz would strike Winker out and then he’d do the same to Christian Yelich. William Contreras singled with two outs to keep the game going. Willy Adames then came to the plate and he ended the game by grounding into a force out.
Key Moment of the Game
Elly De La Cruz singling in the go-ahead run in the 7th inning and then stealing three bases on two pitches to add another run to the Reds lead.
Notes Worth Noting
Will Benson’s home run in the 3rd inning gave the Reds a homer in 22 straight games, setting a new franchise record.
Joey Votto doubled and homered. He’s now hitting .259/.365/.685 in 16 games since being activated this year.
Matt McLain’s three hits raised his average back over the .300 mark, pushing him up to .301/.368/.512 on the year.
Elly De La Cruz has 16 steals in 29 games this season. He’s also hitting .328/.366/.533 after picking up two more hits on the day.
Alexis Diaz picked up his 26th save of the season and lowered his ERA to 2.03.
Luke Weaver’s ERA sits at 7.00 on the season.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds vs Milwaukee Brewers
Sunday July 9th, 2:10pm ET
Ben Lively (4-4, 4.11 ERA) vs Wade Miley (5-2, 3.36 ERA)