McCoy: Mahle pitches gem, Reds outlast Diamondbacks in extra innings

Cincinnati Reds' starting pitcher Tyler Mahle (30) waits to throw against the Arizona Diamondbacks' during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

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Cincinnati Reds' starting pitcher Tyler Mahle (30) waits to throw against the Arizona Diamondbacks' during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The final score was Cincinnati 5, Arizona 3 in 12 innings … but oh what a tale to tell. It should have been a tale about Tyler Mahle’s two-hit shutout, but the Reds’ bullpen reared its ugly head.

The Reds survived via a run-scoring triple by Albert Almora Jr. and a run-producing single by Jonathan India.

But this one should have belonged to Mahle. Mahle was like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle Tuesday night in Chase Park — you can work all day, but you aren’t going to solve him.

Mahle pitched nine scoreless, two-hit innings and struck out 12 during a 118-pitch night.

But, of course, he pitches for the Cincinnati Reds and he is dependent upon a bullpen that is as leaky as a 25-year-old row boat.

So, he didn’t get the win. For the fourth time in his last four starts, the bullpen blew a save for him … the fifth time this season and 12th time the last two seasons.

It was 0-0 after nine innings and the Reds scored a run in the 10th to take a 1-0 lead, but Arizona scored one in the bottom of the 10th off Alexis Diaz to tie, 1-1.

Cincinnati took a 3-1 lead in the 11th on Kyle Farmer’s two-run single, the third hit of the night from a guy who can seemingly hit with a hoe, a shovel, a rake or a pick.

Alas, Reds relief pitcher Luis Cessa threw two wild pitches that produced the runs two to tie it, 3-3, in the bottom of the 11th.

The pitching duel for most of the game was one of stark contrasts — hard-throwing Mahle versus soft-tossing Zach Davies.

Mahle flicked aside the first 11 D-backs with absurd ease. With two outs in the fourth, Ketel Marte doubled up the right center gap.

Arizona punched only its second hit, a one-out single in the sixth by David Perdomo, but Mahle struck out Daulton Varsho and Josh Rojas.

India returned to the lineup for the first time since late April and Davies hit him with a pitch to open the game. But Tommy Pham hit into a double play.

Almora Jr. doubled to right with one out in the third, but Aramis Garcia struck out and India flied to center.

Nick Senzel and Mike Moustakas stroked back-to-back one-out singles in the fifth, putting runners on second and first. Nothing came of it because Almora lined to short and Garcia again struck out.

The Reds first real opportunity surfaced in the seventh when Farmer singled with one out. Mike Moustakas drove one to deep right center and it glanced off the glove of center fielder Alek Thomas.

Right fielder Daulton Varsho was right there as back-up. He threw the ball to second baseman Marte. He whipped a laser beam throw to catcher Carson Kellly and he slapped a tag on Farmer for the out.

That was the end for Davies — seven innings, no runs, six hits, no walks and seven strikeouts.

Noe Ramirez, who spent spring training with the Reds, replaced Davies in the eighth and with one out he hit India, India’s second hit by pitch of the night.

He took second on Brandon Drury’s hit-and-run grounder to short, but Pham struck out on three pitches, leaving it at 0-0.

Meanwhile, Mahle kept rolling on a smooth highway. After Perdomo’s sixth inning single, Mahle retired eight in a row, six via strikeouts. That tied his career-high with 12 strikeouts.

Arizona sent Joe Mantiply to the mound for the ninth — he of a 0.39 earned run average, he of the 14 straight scoreless innings and he of the 25 innings without a walk.

Joey Votto punched a single to left and Farmer singled up the middle, putting runners on first and second with no outs.

A sacrifice bunt? Nope. Senzel hit into a 6-4-3 double play — the 10th double play the Reds have into in the first five games of this trip to St. Louis and Phoenix. Moustakas grounded to first on the next pitch and it stayed at 0-0.

The game rolled into the 10th and the Reds faced much-troubled Arizona closer Mark Melancon, 2-6 with a 6.20 earned run average.

Moustakas was the ghost runner at second and he took third on Almora’s grounder to second and scored on pinch-hitter TJ Friedl’s two-strike double down the right field line, producing the game’s first run.

Melancon then threw a wild pitch, moving Friedl to third. India struck out and Drury grounded out.

Arizona tied it in the bottom of the 10th when David Peralta scored the ghost runner with a triple, but the Diamondbacks left him stranded.

After Farmer’s two-run single in the 11th, Luis Cessa gave up a leadoff infield single to Thomas, moving the ghost runner to third. . .third and first with no outs.

Pinch-hitter Jordan Luplow popped up, Varsho struck out and … Cessa threw a wild pitch to Josh Rojas, enabling ghost runner Jake McCarthy to score. Thomas stole second and continued to third on the wild pitch and was the potential tying run. And Cessa’s 3-and-2 pitch was wild, scoring Thomas to re-tie it, 3-3.

That was ball four and put the winning run on first and he quickly stole second. But Ketel Marte grounded out and the game droned into the 12th.

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