After relief pitcher Lucas Sims kept the Royals off the board in the top of the 10th, Nick Senzel, who made the last out of the ninth, was placed on second base.
Nick Castellanos walked and Joey Votto picked on the first pitch and drove it off the center field wall, a game-ending hit and a 6-5 victory.
While it was fun in the end for the Reds, it never should have been in that situation. Starter Luis Castillo spent the night pitching out of the stretch as the Royals kept putting runners on base. And the Reds kicked the ball around like World Cup soccer, making three errors.
And to top it off, the team’s one reliable relief pitcher, Amir Garrett, asked to protect a 5-3 lead in the eighth, gave up a two-run home run to a pinch-hitter that tied it, 5-5.
Votto made one of the errors that led to an unearned run and talked out loud to himself on the field the rest of the game.
But he made up for it large fashion.
And he is not a big fan of the new extra-inning rule.
“We were sloppy today, just sloppy,” Votto told Fox Sports Ohio after the game. “And I was sloppy. But to come back like that, It’s good, it’s a win.”
Votto said he thought about his error when he came to bat in the 10th, but that isn’t all.
“I think about that when I drive home, when I go to bed, when I wake up in the morning, when I come to the ball park tomorrow,” he said. “I played with Brandon Phillips, who went 90-some games without an error. And it is embarrassing to us. We work to avoid that sort of thing.”
Asked about the new rule, Votto said, “It’s interesting. It’s not my favorite, but the powers that be, the ones who run the game, thought it was a good idea. And we got the benefit tonight.”
Despite some shaky and wobbly pitching by Castillo and the suspect defense by his supporting cast, the Reds pecked away at KC’s 22-year-old rookie left hander Kris Bubic.
They put the first two runners on base in the second, but had two outs when Kyle Farmer walked to the plate. He banged a two-run double to right field for a 2-0 Reds lead.
Nick Castellanos tripled to open the third, but it looked as if he would not advance when Joey Votto hit a weak grounder to short and Eugenio Suarez struck out.
Instead, Matt Davidson cleared the right field wall, a two-run home run, and poker-hot Jesse Winker followed that with a home run to left center for a 5-1 lead.
Castillo was in more trouble in the early going than a turtle in the middle of the interstate. But he mostly escaped.
The Royals put runners on third and second with no outs in the second. But Castillo retired two with no damage, issued a walk to load the bases and retired Nicky Lopez on a soft liner to second.
Errors by Suarez and Votto put Castillo up to his neck in boiling water in the third. Those errors helped load the bases with one out and he escaped with one run.
Ryan O’Hearn ripped one off the left field wall, but only one run scored because Salvador Perez misread the ball and didn’t score from second. Castillo then struck out Adelberto Mondesi and Maikel Franco lined to the wall and right fielder Castellanos chased it down for the third out.
It was more trouble in the fourth when Castillo gave up a pair of one out hits. He was rescued by shortstop Kyle Farmer, who started an above-and-beyond inning-ending double play.
Trouble again surfaced in the fifth when Perez opened with a single, took second and third on ground balls and scored on Mondesi’s infield hit.
Through it all, though, and despite three errors by the Reds, Castillo led after five innings, 5-3.
Castillo was done after six and for the Reds it was hold-their-breath time, a.k.a. bullpen time.
Sure enough, relief pitcher Nate Jones was immediately in deep water. He gave up a leadoff single to Whitt Merrifield and an infield single to Jorge Soler – runners on second and first with no outs.
Jones struck out Perez and manager David Bell made a curious decision — a near-disastrous decision that worked out.
Left hander Amir Garrett was ready in the bullpen, ready to face KC left hander O’Hearn with the bases loaded and one out.
The right-handed Jones went to 3-and-1 on O’Hearn. The fifth pitched was ripped up the middle.Farmer to the rescue. He backhanded the ball, raced to second for a force and whipped a throw to first for an inning-ending. double play.
Garrett did come to the mound in the eighth. That didn’t work. He gave up a one-out single to Franco and pinch-hitter Ryan McBroom swept one over the left field wall, a two-run game-tying home run to make it 5-5.
All that did was set up Votto’s walk-off, make up for a mess-up, walk-off double.