McCoy: Greene dazzles in return, but Reds swept by Cardinals in DH

Hunter Greene made a striking return to the pitching mound for the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night, his first appearance since Aug. 1 when he went on the injured list.

Greene pitched six shutout innings in the second game of a doubleheader and gave up four hits, walked nobody and struck out 11, throwing his four-seam fastball between 100 and 102 mph most of the night. Eight strikeouts were 101-plus mph.

Unfortunately for the Reds, Greene’s gargantuan effort was not enough to prevent the St. Louis Cardinals from sweeping the doubleheader in Busch Stadium III.

After winning the first game, 5-1, the Cardinals walked it off in the 11th inning of the second game 1-0 in a swirl of controversy.

With the bases loaded and no outs, Paul Goldschmidt grounded to center fielder Nick

Senzel, playing third base as part of manager David Bell’s five-man infield deployment. His throw home hit runner Andrew Knizner in the back and he scored the game’s only run.

Bell and catcher Austin Romine were livid, insisting that Knizner ran illegally inside the base line so the throw would hit him … which it did. The play is not reviewable.

So the Reds dropped a pair, three straight losses to the Cardinals after winning the opener. It was their ninth loss in 10 games.

Ghost runner Matt Reynolds was placed on second base for the 10th inning, but Aristides Aquino and Senzel struck out and pinch-hittter T.J. Friedl popped out.

The Cardinals loaded the hases with one out in the bottom of the 10th against Alexis Diaz. Bell deployed a five-man infield and two-man outfield. Knizner flied to shallow left. Friedl caught the ball and wiped out Corey Dickerson trying to score after the catch, ending the inning.

The Reds managed to move ghost runner Friedl to third with one out in the 11th, but Romine took a called third strike and Jonathan India grounded out.

Fernando Cruz pitched the 11th and Knizner was the ghost runner. Cruz walked Brendan Donovan. Tommy Edman bunted and when Cruz thought about throwing to third, his throw to first was too late, loading the bases.

That brought up Goldschmidt, who had struck out four straight times. And his weak grounder ended it.

As good as Greene was, St. Louis starter Jose Quintana was even better, minus the strikeouts. He baffled the Reds on two hits over eight innings.

Donovan Solano doubled leading off the second but didn’t budge off second base. Stuart Fairchild doubled with one out in the eighth. Jose Barrero lined one up the right-center gap and center fielder Ben De Lusio made a diving catch to save a run.

The Reds had only one other baserunner in Quintana’s eight innings. Fairchild was hit by a pitch with two outs in the fifth but was stranded at first. The Reds never did discover third base.


With a doubleheader, the Reds hoped starter Mike Minor to pitch several innings to save the bullpen.

It didn’t happen.

Minor gave them the shortest start of his long career, only three innings. He gave up five runs and five hits. And he tied his career-high with five walks, accomplished in the first two innings. It all led to his 12th loss.

Relief pitcher Kyle Dowdy preserved the bullpen by following Minor with four scoreless innings, giving up three hits and a walk.

In contrast, St. Louis starter Dakota Hudson gave the Cardinals eight strong innings — one unearned run, six hits, two walks, six strikeouts. The one run came when his team already was up, 5-0.

The Cardinals stranded two in the first inning, then scored two in the second and three in the third. Edman singled home run in the second and Minor walked Goldschmidt with the bases loaded to make it 2-0.

Donovan singled home a run in the third and Yadier Molina crushed a two-run home run to make it 5-0.

The Reds scored their unearned run when Hudson threw the ball away on an infield single by Reynolds and Friedl’s double.

Cincinnati had seven hits, three by Reynolds and two by Jake Fraley.

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