The Rangers' Elvis Andrus steals home ahead of the tag by Reds catcher Curt Casali in the first inning on Friday, June 14, 2019, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
Photo: David Jablonski - Staff Writer
Photo: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Reds avoid shutout but fall back into tie for last place

Nick Senzel hits his sixth home run of the season

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"Bop, that's your son!" said Votto, looking into the Reds dugout and using the nickname of the team's first base coach, the elder Delino DeShields.

When DeShields singled to center with one out, Votto continued to tease the proud dad.

"You can't cheer!" Votto said.

The Reds first base coach talked before the game about how nerve-wracking it was to see his son play, and this was the first time he had coached in a game with his son on the other bench. It's a good thing he didn't cheer because the single by DeShields started a two-run rally, and the Reds never recovered in a 7-1 loss in the series opener at Great American Ball Park.

The Reds (30-37), who occupied last place in the National League Central by themselves from April 15 to June 11, slipped back into a tie for last place after two days of being ahead of the slumping Pirates (31-38).

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The Reds haven't won two games in a row since May 27-28. The offense continues to be the problem. Four Rangers pitchers limited the Reds to five hits. Yasiel Puig had three of them, raising his average to .222.

The Reds entered the game with the third-worst batting average (.233) in the National League. They are 3-7 in June and have scored two or fewer runs seven times in that span.

"(Jesse) Chavez did a good job starting the game, and the lefties after that, we just weren't able to get anything going offensively," Reds manager David Bell said. "Our guys continue to work. I'm frustrated for them because everyone is working hard to get more consistently offensively. Tonight we weren't able to get it done."

Nick Senzel hit a home run to center field in the eighth inning to prevent the Reds from being shut out for the eight time this season.

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That was the only bright spot for the offense. The Rangers took a 9-8 lead in the interleague series. This was the first meeting between the Reds and Rangers since 2016.

Reds starter Tyler Mahle gave up two runs in the first, and that remained the deficit when he left the game with runners at first and second and one out in the fifth.Wandy Peralta replaced Mahle. He struck out Nomar Mazara and walked Asdrubal Cabrera before giving up a grand slam to Rougned Odor.

Mahle threw 96 pitches in 4 1/3 innings but was not happy about being taken out of the game in the fifth. He's 2-7 with a 4.46 ERA.

"It's not a good first half by any means, in my opinion," Mahle said, "but I think I've gotten yanked out of some games where I'm having a really good game or just a decent game and haven't got the chance to battle through a game, battle through six innings or whatever."

Mahle's previous start ended after 73 pitches in five innings. This time, he said he deserved the chance to at least get through five innings or to pitch to another batter in the fifth.

"It's getting pretty ridiculous at this point," Mahle said. "But I've just got to keep going."

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