In a must-win game, the Cincinnati Reds came up short. Cleveland scored all four of their runs before the 4th inning was over and the Rally Reds couldn’t quite come back as Cleveland’s defense made several big defensive plays to cut short potential runs in a 4-3 win for the home team.
|Cincinnati Reds (81-78)
|Cleveland Guardians (75-84)
|W: Bieber (6-6) L: Abbott (8-6) SV: Clase (43)|
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Cleveland’s offense got to work in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Ramon Laureano doubled to lead off the frame. He came around to score when Tyler Freeman followed up with a single. After Freeman stole second base he scored on a single by Brayan Rocchio to put the Guardians up 2-0.
They would add to it the next inning after Steven Kwan led off with a single, took second base on a wild pitch, and then scored on a 1-out hit by Josh Naylor. That would be the final batter than Andrew Abbott faced as the Reds turned things over to the bullpen in the 3rd inning. The next inning saw another run, this time after a walk was followed up by back-to-back singles with one out as Cleveland jumped ahead 4-0.
Cincinnati didn’t pick up their first hit of the game until Elly De La Cruz singled up the middle with two outs in the 5th inning. He would steal second base before a Will Benson single, but when Benson hit a chopper to first base and it bounced away from Josh Naylor, De La Cruz took off for the plate but was thrown out on a great recovery from shortstop Brayan Rocchio who made a perfect throw to the plate to end the inning.
In the 6th inning the Reds would get on the board when Jonathan India doubled with one out and then came around to score on a single by TJ Friedl. Two innings later Cincinnati was at it again when Nick Martini and Jonathan India led off with back-to-back doubles to make it 4-2. India would go station-to-station and score on two straight ground outs as they cut the lead to a run.
Ian Gibaut took over for Cincinnati in the bottom of the 8th to face the top of the Guardians lineup. He would get a groundout to start the inning before Jose Ramirez singled into right-center, but Will Benson came up firing and it was a perfect throw to Elly De La Cruz at second base where he was waiting to tag out Ramirez for the second out of the inning. Josh Naylor walked on what looked like strike three, but the umpires word is what matters and the inning was kept alive, but Gibaut struck out Ramon Laureano to send the game to the 9th.
Cincinnati needed at least a run to stay alive in the game, and keep pressure on the final wild card’s 3-team race. They would have to do it against All-Star closer Emmanuel Clase. Jake Fraley broke his bat on a little looper that was caught by Josh Naylor at first. Noelvi Marte followed up with a liner down the line in right field and the ball caromed off of the wall right to Ramon Laureano, who came up with the ball and threw a laser to second base to get Marte. The Reds challenged the call and the call was upheld. That left the game in the hands of Elly De La Cruz. He would hit a chopper to first base, didn’t leave the batters box as it appears he thought the ball hit him (which would make it a foul ball), and the game ended. Manager David Bell came out to argue the call but it went nowhere and that was that.
Key Moment of the Game
The heads up and athletic recovery in the 5th inning by Brayan Rocchio to pick up a ball that got away from first baseman Josh Naylor and make a perfect throw to the plate to cut down Elly De La Cruz at the plate. While it was 4-0 at that point, that run turned out to be pivotal to the final score.
Notes worth noting
Elly De La Cruz stole two bases in the game, giving him 35 for the season. That’s the most in a season by a Red since Billy Hamilton stole 59 bases in 2017. It’s the most since 2011 by anyone other than Hamilton – Drew Stubbs stole 40 that season.
For the 4th consecutive start, Andrew Abbott failed to pitch more than 4.1 innings.
The Reds bullpen allowed one run in 5.2 innings of work.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds vs St. Louis Cardinals
Friday September 29th, 8:15pm ET
Brandon Williamson (4-5, 4.54 ERA) vs Jake Woodford (2-2, 5.09 ERA)