The Cincinnati Reds hit a home run for the first time in eight days. They grabbed a lead for the first time in 50 innings. They scored more than three runs for the first time in a week.
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Most importantly, the Reds won a game, snapping a five-game losing streak by beating the Atlanta Braves 10-4 on Monday in the opener of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.
With a 4-18 record, the Reds still have the worst record in baseball, and they are still off to their worst start through 22 games in franchise history. This was the first win for interim Reds manager Jim Riggleman, who took the reins after the firing of Bryan Price and was swept in his first series in St. Louis.
“I was involved in a situation in Chicago many years ago where we got off to a horrendous start,” Riggleman said before the game. “I’ve been through it. A great baseball man, Buddy Bell, went through that in Kansas City. I was able to say that to the players. We’ve been through it. We can handle this. You’ve got to handle it. The way to handle it is to get out of it. We’re going to get out of it. Our players are focused and will always be giving a great effort. The sooner the better, of course.”
Here’s a quick recap of the game:
Small crowd: The announced attendance was 9,463, though there were many fewer people in the stands. At the start of the game, there were only four people sitting in the upper deck in left field.
It was the smallest crowd at Great American Ball Park this season and the smallest since Aug. 31, 2009, when a crowd of 9,087 watched the Reds beat the Pirates 6-3. That was the last time the Reds had a crowd smaller than 10,000.
Drought ends: With the Reds down 2-0, Scott Schebler, hitting lead-off for the first time this season, hit a game-tying, two-run home run in the fifth inning. It was the first home run for the Reds since their last home game on April 15 against the Cardinals. They didn't hit a home run on the six-game road trip that concluded Sunday in St. Louis.
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Schebler hopes this victory eases the pressure on the offense, which ranks last in baseball in runs scored.
“It’s one of those things where the whole season it felt like we never had momentum,” Schebler said. “We were great offensively last year, and I full expect us to be like that the rest of the year.”
Big inning: The Reds scored five runs in the sixth. It was only the third time in 22 games they've led in the sixth.
Pinch hitter Jesse Winker drove in the go-ahead run with a single. Jose Peraza drove in the second run. Joey Votto walked with the bases loaded to drive in the third run. A single by Scooter Gennett drove in the final two runs.
“We’ve been having a hard time, and I was really proud of the guys,” Riggleman said. “We were down again after losing a lot of ballgames. Then we got it going. (Schebler) had a big hit for us.”
Costly mistake: The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the third thanks to an error by the Reds. Left fielder Adam Duvall's wild throw to third base got by Cliff Pennington, allowing Dansby Swanson to score with one out.
Power display: Nick Markakis hit a solo home run in the fourth to give the Braves a 2-0 lead. It was the third home run of the season for Markakis.
Missed chance: Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart struck out with the bases loaded to end the first inning.
Quality start: Reds starter Sal Romano (1-2) allowed one earned run on four hits in six innings, lowering his ERA from 5.75 to 4.78. He struck out five and walked one.