Connor Phillips put together the best start of his big league career on a night when the Cincinnati Reds needed it. The offense came through on their end, too, with Will Benson homering and Joey Votto coming through with a big 2-run hit in the 7th to cap off the scoring for the home team as they beat the Minnesota Twins 7-3 on Monday night.
|Minnesota Twins (79-72)
|Cincinnati Reds (79-73)
|W: Phillips (1-0) L: Ryan (10-10)|
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
Cincinnati’s offense got rolling in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Tyler Stephenson led things off with a walk. He moved up to second base when Joey Votto singled, and then he scored when Noelvi Marte came through with a 1-out single. Marte then took second on the throw to third. Will Benson then hit a sacrifice fly that may have been a home run had Michael A. Taylor not jumped and caught it at the wall, but it did extend the Reds lead to 2-0.
Connor Phillips had not given up a hit through the 3rd inning, but Royce Lewis homered to lead off the 4th to cut the lead for Cincinnati to 2-1. A single would follow, but the Reds rookie got the next three batters to ground out and hold the lead.
In the bottom of the 4th inning Cincinnati was able to add to their lead with a 2-out rally. Noelvi Marte kept the inning alive with a walk. Will Benson then followed up with a 408-foot home run and made sure that no one was going to be able to bring this one back into play, giving the Reds a 4-1 lead.
Connor Phillips continued to cruise through the 6th inning. With just 76 pitches, he returned to the mound for the 7th and got Kyle Farmer to fly out to start the inning. But two pitches later it was Alex Kirilloff adding a run to the Twins part of the scoreboard with a solo home run to make it a 4-2 ballgame.
Cincinnati’s offense got the bottom of the inning started with a walk and a single to put runners on the corners. Spencer Streer then came through with his third hit of the night to extend the Reds lead to 5-2. Nick Senzel then followed up with an infield single to load the bases for Tyler Stephenson. He grounded into a double play that began with the out at home, leaving runners on second and third with two outs. Joey Votto then lined a single past a diving first baseman as Steer and Senzel came around to make it 7-2 for the Reds.
After seven strong innings from Connor Phillips, the Reds called on the bullpen to bring in Derek Law. He needed just seven pitches to set the Twins down in order with a perfect inning of work.
Cincinnati went in order in the bottom of the 8th. Holding a 5-run lead entering the 9th, manager David Bell called on Alex Young to try and close out the game. Fresh off of the injured list and making his first appearance in the big leagues in nearly a month, Young had to face the heart of the order for the Twins. The first pitch he threw turned into a groundout. The next pitch he threw was hit into center for a single. Kyle Farmer made Young work, battling for six pitches – but the final one was hit into the left center gap for an RBI double that made it 7-3. Alex Kirilloff followed up with a strikeout on three pitches. It took four pitches, but Matt Wallner struck out to end the game as the Reds began their final homestand with a victory.
Key Moment of the Game
Joey Votto’s 2-run single in the 7th inning. That took the game out of “slam” range and essentially put things out of reach.
Notes worth noting
Connor Phillips set career highs in both innings and strikeouts with seven each. It was only his third start of his big league career, but he came through with a huge outing the night before the Reds have TBA listed as their starting pitcher. He was credited with the first win in Major League Baseball.
Spencer Steer had a 3-hit game against the team that traded him away last year. It was his 5th multi-hit game of the month. The double that he had was his first of the month (and his 32nd of the year).
Joey Votto has gotten on base twice in each of his last three games.
Will Benson only had three runs batted in since August 26th. He had three in tonight’s game. He’s hitting .306/.366/.667 during September (11 for 36).
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Minnesota Twins vs Cincinnati Reds
Tuesday September 19th, 6:40pm ET
Kenta Maeda (5-7, 4.50 ERA) vs TBA