The One-Run Defeat Disease is not as serious as Ebola, but to the Cincinnati Reds, ORDD is putting their chances of making the postseason into the Intensive Care Unit.
For the 28th time this season, the Reds lost a one-run game, most in the majors.
They lost to the Boston Red Sox, 5-4, Wednesday in Great American Ball Park, their fourth one-run loss in four games against the last-place Red Sox this season — 4-3, 4-3 in 12 innings, 3-2 and 5-4.
Of one-run games, Reds manager Bryan Price said, “They are usually games in which you give up that lead run late or you don’t get the run when you have an opportunity. You almost always have regrets in a one-run loss.”
A major regret arose in the ninth inning when Skip Schumaker and Zack Cozart singled to put runners on second and first with no outs. Price asked Ramon Santiago to bunt and he fouled all three attempts to strike out.
Slump-ridden Billy Hamilton (0 for 5) flied meekly to center and Kristopher Negron, who had two hits, was on base three times and scored twice, grounded to the mound to end it.
“We were down a run and we wanted to get both runners in scoring position,” Price said of trying to get Santiago to plop down a sacrifice bunt. “Ramon is our best bunter. That guy (Boston pitcher Edward Mujica) is tough to bunt, running power sinkers down and away from him.”
After Schumaker singled to open the ninth Cozart made two failed bunt attempts before lining his single to left field. “A successful bunt (by Santiago) would have given us two runners in scoring position with one out and a chance to win that game.”
Alas, the ORDD bit again.
The Red Sox scored twice in the first against Mike Leake, but the Reds scrapped back to take a 3-2 lead when Leake pulled a home run down the left-field line in the fourth.
That lead dissipated as soon as Leake trudged back to the mound when he gave up three runs in the top of the fifth, two on a home run by Mike Napoli that gave the Red Sox a 5-3 lead.
“I didn’t have my best stuff and I didn’t come ready to go (two runs in the first) and that combination is going to get you,” said Leake. “They made me pay. Any time you score runs to take the lead and they go right back the next inning and give them back is not ideal.”
Price is in a bemoaning mood as his team spins its tires in fourth place.
“We’re just in that two steps forward and two steps back mode,” he said. “We’re not making up any ground. We need to find the ability to find the way to win on a consistent basis.
“In one-run games so many things early in the game that seem to be insignificant turn into game-changers,” Price added “We’ve had far too many of them. At this point in time, where we are, it is a difference-maker. Where we are in the standings is our inability to win the close games.”
Schumaker, a late-morning lineup insertion when Jay Bruce showed up with flu-like symptoms, homered in the fourth to tie the game, 2-2, and was the tying run on second with no outs after he singled to open the ninth.
Despite the gloom and doom surrounding the team, Schumaker is not in concede-and-surrender mode.
“We’re not at that point yet. I was on a team that was 11 games back in September and we came back,” he said. He also was on the Los Angeles Dodgers last year, a team that was 9 ½ games out of first place and in last place on June 21. But the Dodgers came back to win the division.
“A lot of teams are still in it, including us,” Schumaker added. “With our pitching, I like where we are. As bad as we’ve played, we’re right in the thick of things, which is a positive.
“We keep getting chances and can’t capitalize with runners in scoring position. We get guys on, feel like we’re going to have big innings, but haven’t been able to do it for whatever reason.”
Of the one-run defeats, Schumaker said the frustration level is high “because our pitchers have done so well all year long. It would be nice to get them off the hook now and then.”
Instead, the Reds are hanging precariously on a hook, struggling to wiggle free.
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