Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier jumped on Skip Schumaker, clobbering him as if he were trying to get away and not running at them. Frazier put Schumaker in a head lock perhaps to allow him to whisper in his ear, “Congratulations and thank you.”
Seconds later, the rest of the Cincinnati Reds arrived on the infield to celebrate Schumaker’s game-winning, walk-off, pinch-hit double in the ninth inning. The line drive down the left-field line scored Marlon Byrd from second base and lifted the Reds to a 2-1 victory at Great American Ball Park.
This was just one victory, but it ended a nine-game losing streak, the Reds’ longest since 1998. Cincinnati (19-26) hopes it’s the first step on the long road back to respectability.
“We needed a win — that goes without saying — in the worst way,” Schumaker said. “I don’t care how it happened. We just needed to smile for once around here and break the cycle. It was a nice way to end it.”
Byrd started the rally with a lead-off walk. He moved to second on a bunt by Kristopher Negron.
Schumaker doubled in three straight pinch-hit appearances May 16-20, becoming the first Reds player to do that since Joe Oliver in 1990. That streak ended Monday, but he started a new one Tuesday at the perfect time.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to find a way to win that game,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “Hopefully, that’s a weight off everybody’s shoulders, and we can go back to relaxing and playing baseball and having fun. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
Aroldis Chapman earned the victory by pitching a scoreless ninth, but rookie Michael Lorenzen deserved it. Making his fourth start and first since May 10, he allowed one run on two hits in seven innings while walking three and striking out three.
This was the longest outing of Lorenzen’s short career. He pitched five innings, six innings and then five innings in his first three starts. He pitched out of the bullpen in his last two appearances.
“I threw the ball with confidence,” Lorenzen said. “Every pitch I threw tonight was with a purpose. I had a pretty good plan. Tonight was the first time I actually shook off the catcher because I had conviction about a certain pitch I wanted to throw.”
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