McCoy: Bieber, home runs spoil Reds’ bid at series sweep

Cleveland beats Cincinnati 6-3

The Cleveland Indians brought the heavy lumber to Great American Ball Park on Sunday afternoon and used three home runs to avoid a three-game sweep.

All six Cleveland runs came on home runs and that was more than sufficient for Indians Cy Young Award winner and strikeout connoisseur Shane Bieber.

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After a semi-wobbly start — for him — Bieber struck out 13, his 16th straight start with eight or more strikeouts. His last six outs were strikeouts.

And he matched the all-time Strikeout King, Nolan Ryan. Both Bieber and Ryan started seasons with 48 strikeouts in their first four starts of the season, the major league record.

For the Reds, 6-3 losers, there weren’t enough Joey Vottos in their lineup. Votto collected three hits off Bieber, but the rest of the Reds had only three hits off Bieber.

“He really has it all,” said Reds manager David Bell, speaking about Bieber. “He was great today, just a great pitcher. We were able to get a few runs off him, but it wasn’t enough. Sometimes you truly do have to give the other team credit. Today he definitely deserves credit because that was outstanding.”

Reds starter Wade Miley, 2-and-0 with a 0.00 earned average when the game began, was touched for a solo home run in the second by Jose Ramirez. Then came the biggest blast, a three-run home run in the fourth by catcher Roberto Perez to make it 4-0.

Asked if the three-run bomb by Perez was a change-up, Miley said, “Yeah, a change-up. Yep, Yep.

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“Not tailor-located, based on the situation. I started him off with one and he put a pretty good swing on it and fouled it off. I went a little farther off the plate and he took that one. My mistake was not landing one of the two cutters I threw him. I needed one in the zone to get a swing.”

Perez didn’t nip or bite at either one and it was 3-and-2 when Miley came back with another change-up.

“I kind of rabbit-holed myself back to a change-up and he did a good job of keeping his hands back and put a good swing on it,” Miley said.

And it was 4-0.

The first homer, the solo rip by Ramirez in the second, came on a 3-and-0 count.

“I tried to go cutter up and in,” said Miley. “It was 3-and-0 and I was just trying to get back in the count and he got me. I can live with solo homers, but the three-run homer hurt.”

Votto retrieved two of those runs in the fifth with a two-run double, but the Indians grabbed those two runs back in the seventh when Jordan Luplow cleared the center field wall with a two-run home run off reliever Sal Romano.

There was one other solid moment for the Reds. Tyler Naquin, released by the Indians after last season, cracked the longest home run of the game, a 424-footer off Bieber in the eighth. While it was sweet revenge for Naquin, it only changed the score from 6-2 to 6-3.

Continuing the strikeout theme, after Bieber’s last outs were strikeouts, closer Emmanuel Clase recorded three more in the ninth. The last nine Reds outs came via strikeouts and they whiffed 16 times.

Miley pitched five innings and gave up four runs and five hits. After he left the game, he went to the clubhouse. He returned to the dugout just in time to see Jesse Winker called out on a strike three he thought he foul-tipped.

Miley inserted his nickel, dime and quarter’s worth and was ejected, even though he already was out of the game. But he will draw a fine.

“I should have stayed in the clubhouse,” he said. “I came out two minutes too early. I just walked back out there. I don’t know, just a little frustrated. I thought we heard a foul tip. I red-lined a little bit.”

Most of the Reds who had to face Bieber probably wish they, too, had stayed in the clubhouse.


Diamondbacks at Reds, 6:40 p.m., Bally Sports Ohio, 700, 1410

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