Bullpen implodes in eighth as Cincinnati Reds lose again

“All in all, guys are playing hard,” he said. “They’re excited by the fact that we’ve played competitive baseball and know once we get to where the pitching locks itself in a little bit more, we’re going to be able to compete on a daily basis.”

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Despite that rosy outlook and a picture-perfect night at Great American Ball Park, the dark clouds continue to descend on Price’s team. His bullpen gave up four runs in the eighth inning as the Colorado Rockies handed the Reds a 5-1 defeat, their sixth in the last seven games. The Reds fell under .500 (6-7) for the first time.

Reliever Ross Ohlendorf, who gave up the game-winning hit in the eighth inning Sunday in a 4-3 loss to the Cardinals, struck out the first two batters in the eighth but then ran into the hottest slugger in Major League Baseball.

Rockies rookie Trevor Story, who has eight home runs in 13 games, putting him on pace to hit almost 100 this season, hit a solo home run to center to break a 1-1 tie.

“I really felt the last two days my stuff was as good as it been, but the results weren’t there,” Ohlendorf said. “Sometimes that happens. I feel like if I keep pitching this way, there will be good results. It’s frustrating I got the loss in both games and couldn’t help the team out.”

Ohlendorf then gave up a single and a walk before being replaced by Jumbo Diaz, who gave up a three-run home run to Ben Paulsen.

On the positive side, Dan Straily pitched well in his first Reds start after three relief appearances. He allowed one run on two hits in five innings.

“He had the whole mix: changeup, slider, curve, fastball on both sides of the plate,” Price said. “He had a good rapport with (catcher) Tucker (Barnhart). He did a good job, and he’ll have a little more room to accumulate pitches and innings in his next start. Two days removed from a three-inning relief stint, it didn’t make sense to extend him beyond where he went today.”

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