Bryan Price talked before Monday’s interleague Ohio Cup game against the Cleveland Indians about how he’d like to be able to use his bullpen the way it’s intended – to close out a win.
Scott Feldman gave him that chance. Wandy Peralta, Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias made it pay off.
Feldman pitched six innings of four-hit, one-run baseball, Peralta, Lorenzen and Iglesias handled the last three and the Reds snapped Cleveland’s winning streak at a modest three games with a 5-1 win.
Scott Schebler homered for the third time in three games as the Reds snapped Cleveland’s win streak in Cincinnati at four games.
Former Reds third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, who left Toronto over the offseason to sign a three-year contract with Cleveland as a free agent, struck out in his first three at bats before lining a double just inside the right field line to lead off the ninth.
Feldman (3-4), whose single-game season high for strikeouts was six going into Monday, struck out the first five batters he faced before Jose Ramirez launched a line drive into left-center field that center fielder Billy Hamilton tracked down with a diving catch.
Feldman matched his season high by striking out Lonnie Chisenhall to lead off the third before seeing opposing pitcher Josh Tomlin pop a bloop single down the right field line for Cleveland’s first hit of the game.
He gave us a chance to take the lead, which was huge for us,” Price said. “He put up zeroes. He was locked in the first time through their order. The bullpen came in and did a great job, and those tack-on runs were huge.”
What was Feldman thinking while wading so easily through the Indians’ order?
“Why can’t I do that every time?,” he said, sparking laughs. “My breaking ball was pretty good tonight and I was able to locate it where I wanted to. I think that’s what was going on there.”
Tomlin (2-6), who only hits against National League teams, went into the game with a .429 career average (6-for-14) and two career multi-hit games, the second on May 19 of last season against the Reds in Cincinnati.
Jason Kipnis broke up Feldman’s shutout with a home run to lead off the sixth inning. Francisco Lindor followed with a double and Michael Brantley walked, prompting s visit to the mound from pitching coach Mack Jenkins.
On the very next pitch, Carlos Santana hit into a double play, and after Encarnacion launched a titanic drive to left field that hugged the foul line long enough for Cleveland manager Terry Francona to consider asking for a video review, the Indians first baseman struck out looking to end the inning.
“That almost gave me a heart attack,” Feldman said of Encarnacion’s foul ball. “I would’ve hated to give up the lead there. I probably went inside once too often.”
Feldman became the first Reds starter in the last nine games to log six innings. He turned in seven innings in Cincinnati’s 3-2, 17-inning loss at San Francisco on May 12. He allowed two walks and finished with a season-high nine strikeouts on Monday.
“He lived at the bottom of the zone and we didn’t do a lot,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “We had a couple of pretty good chances and we didn’t cash in.
Hamilton had two streaks snapped on Sunday – a six-game hitting streak and a career-high stretch of 21 consecutive games reaching base at least once with either a hit, a walk or being hit by a pitch – but he bounced back with a lined single up the middle leading off the first inning. Breaking on the pitch, Hamilton reached second on Joey Votto’s one-out grounder to Kipnis at second base and scored on Adam Duvall’s two-out single to left field.
Schebler led off the second by smashing Tomlin’s first pitch deep into the right-center field seats for his 13th homer of the season, snapping a tie with Votto for the team lead.
“I came out feeling good,” Schebler said. “I felt good in (batting practice). I happened to put a good swing on a pitch down the middle. I don’t think he wanted to put it there. You’ve got to take advantage of mistakes.”
The Reds added welcomed insurance runs in the seventh on Jose Peraza’s one-out single to center, Tucker Barnhart’s single to left-center and pinch-hitter Arismendy Alcantara’s perfect safety-squeeze bunt. Tomlin committed a throwing error on the play, allowing both runners to advance, setting up Zack Cozart’s two-out, two-run single to center.
Peraza extended his hitting streak to nine games, while Cozart pushed his to six games.