Kyle Farmer and Nick Senzel were the unsung heroes in the Reds' wild balk-off win vs. Rays

Nick Senzel, Kyle Farmer Cincinnati Reds
Nick Senzel, Kyle Farmer Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

Kyle Farmer continues to impress in his first full-season as the Cincinnati Reds shortstop. Two key defensive plays on the part of Farmer along with a sacrifice bunt from Nick Senzel helped put Cincinnati in position for their wild balk-off win versus the Tampa Bay Rays.

Most of the focus from Friday night's victory over the Rays will be directed toward Matt Wisler's apparent balk that allowed pinch-runner Mark Kolozsvary to cross the plate in the 10th inning.

Whether or not Wisler committed an infraction is certainly up for debate, but a win is a win. But one thing that shouldn't get lost in the shuffle were the defensive efforts from Farmer and the skilled execution on the part of Senzel.

Kyle Farmer's defense in the 10th inning saved the game for the Reds.

I can honestly tell you that I've never seen a balk-off win. According to Mark Sheldon of, this was the first time since 1965 that the Cincinnati Reds were on the winning-side of such an historic feat.

But there were three plays that occurred before Matt Wisler's detectable miscue that really won the game for the Reds. The first was in the top of the 10th inning with Tampa Bays' Francisco Meija on third base. Yandy Díaz hit a ground ball up the middle, Kyle Farmer fielded it and threw home. Michael Papierski applied the tag and the runner was out at the plate.

It was a heads-up play by the Reds shortstop that kept the score knotted at one run apiece. The Rays would challenge the call, but it was upheld. The next play was a classic example of being in the right place at the the right time.

A broken-bat line drive up the middle by Tampa Bay's Wander Franco was caught on the fly by Farmer who promptly stepped on the second base bag before Rays' outfielder Josh Lowe was able to return safely. Farmer's unassisted double-play got the Cincinnati Reds out of a jam.

Nick Senzel executed a sacrifice bunt that put the Reds in position to win.

Nick Senzel, who had another nice night at the dish, did something we rarely see in baseball anymore. As the first batter in the bottom of the 10th, with pinch-runner Mark Kolozsvary on second base, Senzel bunted a 1-0 pitch straight toward the Rays' third baseman. Yandy Díaz had no play except to first base and Kolozsvary advanced to third on the play.

I've got to give credit to both Senzel and Reds manager David Bell on that play. It's very taboo in today's game to see a sacrifice bunt, especially given how hot Senzel has been of late.

We saw the Reds execute a similar play earlier in the week when Michael Papierski laid down a sacrifice bunt in the eighth inning against the New York Mets on Tuesday night. That one didn't result in a run, but this one did.

The Cincinnati Reds recorded their third walk-off win this week. Albert Almora Jr. snuck a base hit through the left side of the infield against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday, Mike Moustakas' 10th inning sacrifice fly sent the fans home happy on Tuesday night, and Matt Wisler's gaffe resulted in a walk-off balk. What a week for the Redlegs.

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