Reds 9 Red Sox 8
Ben Lively fired 5.2 innings of shutout baseball while the Reds offense scraped and clawed for three runs over the first six innings. Then, Jose Barrero delivered a colossal 8th inning grand slam off the light tower above the Green Monster and the Reds went on to beat the Red Sox 9-8 Tuesday night at Fenway Park. Barrero was a mid game replacement for TJ Friedl, who left in the 5th inning after tweaking his hamstring.
But leading 8-0 in the 7th, things got more than a little uncomfortable: The Red Sox scored three runs with two outs off Fernando Cruz in the 7th inning.
Then, down 9-3 in the 9th, they added four more runs off Eduardo Salazar. At 9-6, with two on and one out, David Bell had to rush Alex Diaz into the game.
He allowed an RBI single to make it 9-7 and an RBI groundout to make it 9-8 before a strikeout ended the game. I think my pacemaker fired.
That's four straight wins as the Reds move to 25-29 on the season and 18-14 since April 24. With the Brewers loss Tuesday night, the Reds are now within three games of 1st place.
Are we having fun yet?
Eight different Reds combined to pound out 12 more hits and seven scored a run. They have now scored at least eight runs in four consecutive games for the first time since 1987 (per Joel Luckhaupt) and in 5 of their last 6 games. They scored their nine runs on: fielder's choice RBI, RBI 2B, RBI groundout, bases loaded walk, grand slam, sacrifice fly. Oh by the way, Will Benson collected the first three hit game of his MLB career.
Lively: 5.2 IN, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K, 87 pitches/59 strikes. ERA now 1.99. He worked out of a 2nd and 3rd no out jam in the 2nd inning. His three starts vs Yanks-Cards-Red Sox have produced 17.1 IN, 11 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 22 K, ERA 2.08. I'll admit I rolled my eyes when the Reds promoted Lively. Who would have figured he'd be their best pitcher from that point to now?
Well: It was a frustrating first four innings for the Reds offense. Boston starter Brayan Bello threw 97 pitches in four innings, including a 33 pitch 1st. But the Reds reached him for just one run, despite 5 hits, 2 walks and an error. They missed a golden chance after Will Benson tripled to start the 4th, but Stuart Fairchild grounded out, TJ Friedl and Matt McLain struckout.
Good for him: Benson lined two singles and crushed a triple off the Green Monster. It's his first career three hit game. That's 4 hits in his last 5 AB, after 1 in his first 25 AB.
A thing of beauty: Leading 2-0 in the 6th, Barrero perfectly played a Ramiel Tapia ball off the Green Monster and fired to McLain who fired to Tyler Stephenson to cut down KiKi Hernandez at the plate! I'd assume that's the first ball Barrero has ever played off The Monster. Just a fantastic play.
Keeping on: NL Player of the Week McLain singled in his first AB to extend his hit streak to 8 games. Spencer Steer singled twice, reaching base in his 12th consecutive game. Tyler Stephenson was on base three more times with two walks and a triple. He's had 9 hits and 6 walks over last 8 games. Barrero had a two hit night after entering in the 5th.
Scratch that: Nick Senzel was scratched from the starting lineup with right knee soreness. Kevin Neman was inserted into the lineup.
Tweak: Friedl came up gimpy on a bang-bang play at 1B/RBI groundout in the 2nd inning....he was examined and stayed in the game until being replaced by Barrero in the 5th inning. Officially: left hamstring tightness.
Bullpen: Young 0.1 IN, O R, Cruz 1.0 IN, 3 R, Farmer 1.0 IN, 0 R, Salazar 0.1 IN, 5 R, Diaz 0.2, Save No. 13.
How the Reds scored
2nd: TJ Friedl RBI fielder's choice scored Benson, 1-0 Reds
5th: Fraley RBI 2B scored India, 2-0 Reds
6th: McLain RBI groundout scored Benson, 3-0 Reds
7th: Fairchild bases loaded walk 4-0 Reds
7th: Barrero grand slam, 8-0 Reds
8th: Steer sacrifice fly scores Stephenson, 9-3 Reds