The Cincinnati Reds held a comfortable 4-1 lead heading into the ninth inning at Great American Ballpark on Tuesday, but a two-run homer by the Rockies Mark Reynolds added some drama before the Reds eventually won 4-3.
Robert Stephenson (2-0) was called upon from Louisville once again to fill in for an injured starting pitcher and he didn’t disappoint. Taking the place of Alfredo Simon, Stephenson tossed seven innings of one run baseball while allowing just three hits to spell a tired bullpen. One of the members of that overworked bullpen was sent down to Louisville to make room for Stephenson. Jumbo Diaz struggled in his eight appearances this season with a 5.40 ERA that was raised on Monday when he allowed a three-run homer that put Colorado up 5-1 in the eighth. It was his third homer allowed this season.
Jorge De La Rosa (1-2) struggled in his two innings of work that was exacerbated by failing to check on any of the Reds (7-7) in the second inning. That allowed Cincinnati to swipe five bases in one inning, a feat the Reds hadn’t done since the 1920’s.
Colorado (8-6) got the scoring going in the top of the second inning as it got two of its three hits against Stephenson in consecutive at bats. Reynolds doubled with one out and then moved to third on a balk. Ben Paulsen followed with an RBI single and the Rockies were quickly up 1-0.
That lead was short lived as the Reds did all their damage in the second inning that started with a Brandon Phillips and Devin Mesoraco single to put runners on the corners. Jay Bruce scored Phillips on a fielder’s choice and then he stole second. Tyler Holt was hit by a pitch and then he and Bruce both swiped a base to put runner’s at second and third. After Stephenson stuck out, Billy Hamilton came through with a two-run double to put Cincinnati up 3-1. Not even the fastest man in baseball could draw any attention from De La Rosa, as Hamilton easily stole third before coming in to score on an RBI single by Zack Cozart.
Eugenio Suarez kept the inning going with a single to put runners on the corners for Joey Votto and then Suarez sweetened the pot by stealing the fifth and final base of the inning. De La Rosa finally got out of the jam by striking out Votto to end the frame. He stuck around for two batters in the third inning, but Phillips doubled and Mesoraco walked to bring on reliever Chris Rusin. Rusin matched Stephenson through the sixth inning by tossing four scoreless innings to keep the Rockies within reach.
Justin Miller did the same in the seventh while Caleb Cotham gave the Reds a scoreless eighth. Two Rockies relievers worked around a Phillips’ lead-off single in the ninth and Tony Cingrani dispatched of the lone hitter he faced in the ninth inning to set-up J.J. Hoover to finish off the game. Hoover got the dangerous Nolan Arenado to pop out to Votto, but Gerardo Parra was able to reach on a bunt single to keep the game alive. Reynolds followed with a two-run blast to dead center and it looked as though it would be more of the same from the Reds bullpen. Instead Hoover got Paulsen to line out to Jay Bruce and the Reds avoid their third straight loss.
The two teams will duke it out once again on Wednesday afternoon to decide the series victor. Raisel Iglesias (1-1, 3.24 ERA) will make his first career start against Colorado while the Rockies send Chad Bettis (2-0, 2.95 ERA), who tossed six innings of scoreless baseball against the Cubs at Wrigley Field in his last start. First pitch is set for 12:35 p.m.