Cincinnati Reds closer Raisel Iglesias walked off the mound without hesitation or complaint, handing the ball to manager David Bell with one out and a runner on first in the ninth inning. Iglesias had no issue with the unorthodox move — being replaced by reliever Michael Lorenzen in a one-run game — later either because it worked.
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“I feel really happy because we won the game,” said Iglesias through interpreter Julio Morillo, “and that’s the most important thing.”
The Reds beat the Houston Astros 3-2 on Monday in the opener of a three-game interleague series at Great American Ball Park. The Reds had lost their last five games after a victory. They won two games in a row for the first time since May 27-28.
Iglesias and Lorenzen combined for a scoreless ninth, helping preserve the seventh victory of the season for Luis Castillo (7-1, 2.26), who allowed two earned runs on two hits in six innings.
Iglesias entered the game with one out in the eighth and walked a batter and threw a wild pitch but stranded runners at second and third. He had converted his last seven save chances but didn’t get a chance to earn his 14th save.
Iglesias walked Myles Straw to begin the ninth but then got Alex Bregman to foul out to Joey Votto at first. That’s when Bell walked to the mound and made the move.
“We’re just trying to do whatever we can to give ourselves the best chance to win,” Bell said. “Raisel has done it before. He’s going to do it again. He’s a great pitcher. He’s going to be ready next time. He’ll get plenty of more opportunities. Tonight it just seemed like the right move. That’s what good teams do. You pick each other up. Guys stay ready to pitch in any situation. What I asked him to do was going to be difficult or anybody to do: to finish the game from that point against that team. Tonight it was just somebody else’s turn.”
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Iglesias did not pitch in the previous four games, and Bell said he may not have been quite as sharp as usual. Iglesias wasn’t surprised to see Bell approach the mound.
“My command wasn’t good enough because I spent many days without pitching,” Iglesias said.
Lorenzen, who earned his third save of the season, also wasn’t surprised to get the call.
“I’m always ready to go,” Lorenzen said, “and I’m always ready for anything. When the phone rang, it was, ‘Maybe they need a pinch runner or me to play the outfield,’ but I’m also ready to throw, too, obviously if they need that, and they told me to start warming up. I felt pretty good today, and I’m ready to go tomorrow.”