A screwy, oddball game ultimately ended in what is becoming familiar fashion as the Cincinnati Reds posted another walk-off win at home Wednesday.
Tucker Barnhart’s single to right field against Colorado reliever Christian Bergman and the Rockies’ five-man infield in the bottom of the ninth scored Brandon Phillips to erase another bullpen blowup and lift the Reds to a 6-5 victory before a Great American Ball Park crowd of 12,979.
REDS FANS CENTRAL: Like our Facebook page to join the conversation all season
HAL MCCOY: Why isn’t Stephenson in the rotation
The Reds are 3-0 in their first three home series, with four of their eight victories coming in the final at-bat, including three in walk-off fashion.
Here are five things to know about Wednesday’s game:
1. Barnhart’s big day
In addition to delivering the first walk-off hit of his career, Barnhart made a key defensive effort in the eighth to keep the Reds from falling behind on one of the game’s handful of weird plays.
Colorado had just tied it 5-5 when Reds reliever Tony Cingrani fired a fastball in the dirt between Barnhart’s legs. The ball hit the sign behind home plate and ricocheted right to Barnhart, who fired a strike to third to nail Mark Reynolds as he tried to scramble back to the base.
“It ended up being a lucky play, honestly,” Barnhart said. “We know that we have the signs behind the plate and (balls) do bounce back pretty quickly. I turned to run back there and the ball was right on me. I was happy to get out of the inning and give us a chance to come up not facing a deficit.”
2. Suarez gets it right
The weirdest play of the day may never have happened had it not been for the eagle eye of Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez.
Colorado pinch-hitter Ryan Raburn singled to right in the seventh to score Dustin Garneau and tie the game 3-3. Or so everyone thought. But when Reds manager Bryan Price came to the mound to take out starter Raisel Iglesias, Suarez told him he thought Garneau missed the base.
Cincinnati reliever Blake Wood had already been summoned from the bullpen, and the first thing he did after taking his warmup pitches was make an appeal throw to third base, where umpire Adrian Johnson ruled Garneau out to preserve a 3-2 Reds lead.
“I always watch the runner and how those guys touch the base,” Suarez said. “You never know. He missed it this time, and we got him.”
3. Another bullpen blowup
The only batter Wood retired was when he didn’t throw a pitch, getting Garneau on the appeal. Wood gave up a single and walk to start the eighth and was replaced by Cingrani, who gave up two walks, a run-scoring fielders choice and a two-run double to turn a three-run lead into a 5-5 tie.
It was the ninth consecutive game in which the Reds bullpen has given up at least one run, and during that stretch relievers have allowed 33 runs on 33 hits in 31.1 innings.
“These guys are busting their tail,” Price said. “You know how badly they want to really string together some good outings. It’s not lack of effort or character or preparation. We just aren’t hitting on all cylinders yet. The other part is I’m asking these guys to pitch a lot. There’s just a lot of use here early in the season with these guys.
4. No designated closer
Price said before the game he had not made up his mind on J.J. Hoover’s status as closer, but afterward he had reached a decision.
“I talked to J.J. and told him ‘I’m going to bring you in different situations,’ ” Price said. “Sometimes that might be the ninth, but sometimes it might be the seventh or eighth. He needs to get himself on a roll and start to pitch the way we’ve seen, almost the entire 2015 season.
“Nobody wants to say that (closer by committee), but in our situation we can say it because we don’t have defined superstars, set-ups and closers that think they’re entitled to certain parts of the game.”
Hoover is 0-1 with one save, a 15.19 ERA and three home runs allowed in seven appearances
5. Raisel rising
One day after the Reds had their first starter go seven innings when Robert Stephenson did it, Raisel Iglesias came up just one out shy of doing it.
Iglesias turned in his best outing, retiring the first nine batters before eventually allowing two runs on five hits with eight strikeouts and a walk in 6 2/3 innings.
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.