Nary a thing seemed to go right during the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 loss that effectively swept them out of Yankee Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Known as the strongest defensive club in all of baseball, a common fan could have been easily persuaded something was awry. The sun was something to behold amongst a cloudless sky, although it was not as if the moon appeared when the Yankees took to the field. Befallen by multiple mental errors and a game-ending lost pop-up, the Reds welcomed in the second half by being beaten three consecutive times.
Each time Johnny Cueto has taken to the mound in 2014, Cincinnati Reds fans have felt supremely confident in his abilities to bring home a victory. After more than a week of rest, Cueto needed every last drop to escape through five innings on Sunday with the game still within striking distance.
Tying his season-high in the walks department with four, Cueto threw 112 pitches to record just 15 outs. There was only a single clean inning with the Yankees scraping together baserunners seemingly at the drop of a hat.
Driving in the second run for New York was the player who proved to be the catalyst of the game: Jacoby Ellsbury. Going a perfect 4-for-4 (with a straight up drop from Billy Hamilton counting as a “hit”), Ellsbury would also steal a bag before crossing the plate as the game’s winning run in the ninth.
Cincinnati would jump out ahead 1-0 in the top of the fifth on an RBI double off the bat of Skip Schumaker who got the start at second base. Even that run was predicated on a booted ball by Yankees second baseman Brian Roberts, who had a tremendous offensive series. Going 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, the Redlegs once again proved that they can put men on, but have not found a way to drive them in.
Unfortunately, it was not just errors defensively that did in the Reds on Sunday. Trailing by a run in the eighth, Skip Schumaker led off the inning with a base hit. Attempting to pick up a stolen base on the normally stealthy Dellin Betances, Schumaker darted for second, utilizing the sneak attack. Rather than going home, Betances simply stepped off the mound and caught Schumaker in a rundown.
Three pitches later, Todd Frazier would connect with a mammoth blast that was knocked down by the wind, forcing it to nearly not reach the seats. Frazier’s 20th home run is now a new career-high in a single season.
The final four innings in the Bronx, barring Todd Frazier’s game-tying home run, are going to be heavily evaluated down the stretch should this 2014 version of the Reds not be able to take on flooding water. With just one error technically occurring, Billy Hamilton would lose a straight pop up in the brutal summer sky, and the game would inexplicably end on a ball that would have almost assuredly been ruled an infield fly had the rule been in place.
After the combination of Manny Parra, Sam LeCure and Jonathan Broxton got the game to the ninth inning with the score tied; Bryan Price thought outside the box and brought in his closer in a non-save situation to face the heart of the Yankees’ order.
An outstanding at-bat from Jacoby Ellsbury saw him leadoff the inning with a base hit before promptly swiping second and moving to third on a wild pitch. Aroldis Chapman would need either strikeouts or pop-ups to preserve the tie game. He would get both.
Blowing away Mark Teixeira for the first out, Chapman would get Yankees catcher Brian McCann to pop-up to shallow right field. Not even Billy Hamilton himself would dare tag up. Todd Frazier, playing first (a position he is not normally accustomed to), Skip Schumaker, playing second (a position he is not normally accustomed to) and Jay Bruce, all converged on the ball. Frazier looked at Bruce, Bruce looked at Schumaker and Schumaker looked at Frazier as Ellsbury sprinted down the line clapping his hands as the ball settled onto the green grass and the 43,000+ in Yankee Stadium exploded with cheers.
Having been swept out of the Bronx, the Redlegs will have no rest for their weary spirits as they head to Milwaukee to begin a three-game set on Monday night.
Mat Latos will make his first start of the second half opposite Wily Peralta as first pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
Tags: Cincinnati Reds