PHOENIX — In a Saturday game against the D-Backs at Chase Field that was wild as a goat rodeo, the Reds had numerous reasons to deserve a loss. But in the desperate moments of the final innings, all that mattered was that they found a way to secure an important – and unlikely – victory.
In a fight that impacted the postseason, Cincinnati clinched an 8-7 win in 11 innings as Arizona reliever Nabil Crismatt failed with two strikes and two outs, allowing TJ Friedl to score from third base . It was the Reds’ 41st comeback win at the top of the MLB.
“You can’t even remember everything that happened,” said Reds manager David Bell. “All we know is that it was a tough win.” It wasn’t perfect. A lot has happened and you just stick with it.
In the National League wild card standings, the Reds are a half-game behind the D-Backs – whose six-game winning streak has been broken – and sit in third place, while the Cubs are a half-game ahead of them in second place. The win secured the Reds’ season streak and tie-breaker lead in the wild card race against Arizona.
With runners on the corners and two outs in the 11th inning, Crismatt trailed TJ Hopkins 2-0. Crismatt held the ball in his right hand and lifted it ever so slightly before stopping again. The lockdown call was made by second base umpire CB Bucknor.
“I just saw his hand come up like he was going to grab his glove and then he pulled it back. “I saw it perfectly,” said Friedl. “So I kind of yelled at him, like, ‘Hey, hey, hey!’ Lucky CB saw it.
“I’m like in my head, ‘Wow.’ As tough as the game was, such a back and forth between two wild-card teams fighting for every inch, in that moment walking home I just said to myself, “This can be the deciding factor.” .'”
The Reds were down 4-0 after five innings and 4-2 at the start of the ninth. They scored two points in the ninth, three in the tenth, and the deciding run in the eleventh.
“We’re always like, ‘We’re in every game,'” said Ben Lively, who was taken off the injured list and brought relief with three earned runs for 5 2/3 innings. “There are those moments when we’re down, and there’s always that one person who says, ‘We’re not going to get us down.’ A little thing happens and bam, we’re back at it.
Lively noted that it was veteran catcher Luke Maile yelling in the dugout to cheer for the team.
“It was really cool to see everyone working together. Nobody wants that bad mood in the dugout,” Lively said.
There were many reasons for the bad mood in the dugout. The first run of the game came from a passball by catcher Tyler Stephenson in the first inning with two strikes and two outs. Lively gave up Ketel Marte’s three-run homer in the fifth. The team also committed three errors, including two by second baseman Matt McLain.
Against D-backs closer Paul Sewald in the ninth round, Stephenson hit a one-time RBI double down right field and made the winning run from third base after a groundout by McLain. In the 10th, Spencer Steer hit an RBI double against the wall. Nick Martini followed with an RBI double to right field and Christian Encarnacion-Strand added an RBI single to midfield.
It all came crashing down at the bottom of the 10th pitch when Reds closer Alexis Díaz botched only his second save in 36 attempts this season by giving up three runs.
McLain’s second error of the game came when Tommy Pham’s one-off grounder went through his legs and scored a run. Christian Walker’s sacrificial flight scored Corbin Carroll with the deciding run.
“Every experience we have is a good one, especially when you have an imperfect game or even a failure and stick with it,” Bell said. “You know when you can do that and you stay strong – individually and as a team.” – Good things happen. I thought that was what this game was about.”
At the end of the 11th pitch, Lucas Sims made sure the automatic runner reached third base thanks to Alek Thomas’ sacrificial bunt. But he knocked out the next two batters for his third save.
“We will fight for every centimeter and we know that,” said Friedl. “That’s the kind of game we’re playing.” We try every way we can to get clean runs together and we know they can too.
“This is a huge win for us. And we will just try to gain momentum from that.”