The first week of the season the Reds won four straight. Since then they’ve won two straight six times, but never three in a row.
The Reds crushed the Phillies Monday, 11-1, for a second straight win, then the Phillies flipped the table upside and scattered all the dishes on Tuesday in Great American Ball Park.
“We have to forget about this one and come back and play tomorrow,” said manager David Bell. “That’s all you can do and that’s what we’ve already done. We have no choice.”
When the sixth inning began, the Reds trailed by only 4-3, two of the runs provided by Tyler Naquin’s two-run homer in the second that gave the Reds a 2-0 lead.
The Phillies tied it with solo home runs off Reds starter Sonny Gray in the third by No. 8 hitter and former Reds minor leaguer Ronald Torreyes and leadoff hitter Herrera.
Gray then gave up two-out hits in the fourth and fifth that produced a run each time and a 4-2 Phillies lead. Gray, now 1-and-4, pitched 4 2/3 innings and gave up four runs, six hits and walked one. He struck out eight, but that helped mount his pitch count and he left after 96 pitches.
“Two homers and a lot of pitches (96 in 4 2/3 innings),” said Gray, answering a question as to how he got into trouble. “I didn’t have great stuff, so I was just trying to make pitches.
“The fourth and the fifth I got two outs and couldn’t put guys away,” he added. “When you get two outs with runners on you need to shut the inning down. In back-to-back innings I wasn’t able to do that.”
Reds relief pitcher Heath Hembree was on the mound to start the sixth, trying to keep the Reds within one run at 4-3.
But McCutchen opened the inning with a home run. Andrew Bohm, 1 for 20 when the game begin, singled for the second time. His first single broke the 2-2 tie and gave the Phillies a 3-2 lead, a lead they never relinquished.
Amir Garrett was summoned from the bullpen and it became a smash party.
Torreyes doubled for a run. Pitcher Aaron Nola sacrificed bunted. Herrera clubbed his second home run. Jean Segura singled and Rhys Hoskins homered.
That’s six runs, six hits and a 10-3 deficit.
Garrett is back in a dark place, unable to accomplish success in important situations. And Gray feels his pain.
“It’s tough, having been there before,” said Gray. “I know the emotions that enter your head. This is not an easy game. It’s never been an easy game. It’s not fun seeing any of your friends struggle. You just hope he stays with it and figures it out.”
The beatdown continued in the eighth when McCutchen homered for the second time, a three-run rip off Cionel Perez that made it 13-3.
That’s when Blandino took the mound to utilize his knuckleball. And Blandino had been the best “relief pitcher’ the Reds have had this season. In his first three appearances he had not given up a run.
That ended in the ninth when Blandino gave up a two-out grand slam home run to Matt Joyce and it was 17-3.
As broadcaster Jeff Brantley said, “That’s never good when a position player has pitched four times just two months and a day into the season.”
Any early-game offense by the Reds was thwarted by Philadelphia turning double plays in the second, third, fourth and sixth.
Other than Naquin’s early home run, the only Cincinnati positive was two hits by Nick Castellanos, extending his hitting streak to 18 games.