McCoy: Gray, Reds pummelled by Cardinals

This probably was the night they can hang a wreath on the Cincinnati Reds’ clubhouse door. And put a vase of sympathy flowers with it.

On a nearly must-win night against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, the Reds sent their impeccable stopper, Sonny Gray, to the mound.

And he tossed in a massive clunker, didn’t survive the first inning. He gave up six runs on five hits and three walks in only two-thirds of an inning.

When the night concluded, the Reds were 16-2 losers, their fifth loss in six games against their arch-rival Cardinals this season.

And it dipped their record to 15-and-21 with only 24 games remaining in this 60-game sprint during which the Reds have started with a crawl.

The Cardinals ripped and roped 23 hits and only two were home runs, both by Brad Miller, who drove in seven runs. The Cardinals had five doubles and 16 singles. Five Cardinals had three or more hits.

The Reds used seven pitchers and six were touched up for runs, including position player Matt Davidson.

While the Cardinals took batting practice, the Reds scored nothing against St. Louis starter Kuang-Hyun Kim over six innings. He gave up three hits and stretched his scoreless innings against the Reds to 11 straight.

Gray, 5-and-1 with a 1.94 earned run average when the night began, owned zero command of his breaking pitches and in two-thirds of an inning his ERA exploded to 3.19.

Gray wore the dismantling by taking all the blame for putting his team down, 6-0, before it take it first swings.

“I put every single guy in that clubhouse in a bad spot,” he said. “I have to own that, I have to wear that. I will and it stinks.

“What happened? I have no clue,” he added. “Leadoff hitter gets on, next guy gets a hit, walk, bases loaded then a hit down the line and it snowballed from there.

“I didn’t throw strikes, I didn’t put guys away and I put every one of our relievers in bad situations,” said Gray. “And before our guys put their feet in the dugout we’re losing by six. That’s a tough hole to come out of.”

Manager David Bell was all sympathy for Gray.

“The toughest part was seeing Sonny, who is so important to our team and cares so much, to see him struggle like that,” said Bell. “It happens to the best of them and he is one of the best.

“It is not fun to see one of your guys have to go through that,” Bell added. “He has been so good for us in so many ways and he takes it personally. But he shouldn’t, because he gives everything he has.”

The Cardinals leaped on Gray with all their feet from the first batter who stepped into the batter’s box.

The first two Cardinals, Kolten Wong and Tommy Edman, singled. Gray walked Paul Goldschmidt on a full count to fill the bases with no outs.

Brad Miller doubled to right field for the first two runs. Gray retired the next two, but walked Matt Carpener to re-load the bases.

Dexter Fowler singled to right field for two more runs and a 4-0 lead. Gray walked No. 9 hitter Lane Thomas to fill the bases for the third time.

Wong singled, his second hit of the inning, for two more runs — 6-0 and Gray’s day was done before it got dark in Great American Ball Park.

Lucas Sims replaced Gray and the Cardinals added three more, two in the second on Brad Miller’s two-run home run and one in the third on Edman’s run-scoring single to make it 9-0.

Newly-acquired relief pitcher Archie Bradley put a temporary tourniquet on things — 1 2/3 innings, no runs, two hits, two strikeouts.

Then the assault continued in the fifth when the Cardinals scored two more off Tyler Thornburg. Miller singled home the first run, his fifth RBI, and Yadier Molina singled for the third time for another run and an 11-0 lead.

Matt Jones entered the give-up-runs mode in the sixth, giving up a two-run single to pinch-hitter Andrew Kinzner to push the total to 13-0.

The Reds finally made some noise in the sixth against relief pitcher Ryan Helsley. Joey Votto led off the inning with a home run. Newly-acquired outfielder Brian Goodwin followed Votto with a long double off the left field fence. Mike Moustakas lined one to right for an out and Goodwin was doubled off second, ending the inning. Welcome to Cincinnati.

Then it was Raisel Iglesias’ turn to provide runs. He loaded the bases on two hits and a walk in the seventh and the 14th run scored on Curt Casali’s passed ball.

It all concluded with position player Matt Davidson giving up Miller’s second home run, a two-run shot in the eighth.

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