by Matt Wilkes

Joey Votto walk-off single helps Reds avoid sweep vs. Cardinals

The offense was fairly quiet on Wednesday night, picking up only four hits, though it wasn’t for a lack of hard contact. Some tough luck went against the Reds, who recorded outs on hit probabilities of 80%, 63%, and 59% tonight.

But when the balls did fall, they were big hits.

None were bigger than Joey Votto’s first and only hit of the day in the ninth inning. Against Cardinals closer Giovanny Gallegos, Shogo Akiyama and Curt Casali drew walks to put runners on first and second. Votto — who has been on a tear but was hitless in the game — came through with a line drive single to right-center field. Akiyama scored easily, and just like that, the nightmarish loss on Tuesday night was but a distant memory.

The other three hits of the game directly contributed to all of the Cincinnati runs.

Akiyama also came through in the second inning, knocking in Eugenio Suarez — who’d doubled earlier in the inning — with a single up the middle to tie the game at one. Akiyama reached base three times on the night.

The Reds came back from another deficit in the fifth on a two-run home run by Tucker Barnhart (101.1 mph, 414 feet) to knot the game up at three.

Tyler Mahle wasn’t as impressive as his last outing — he didn’t get his first strikeout until the sixth inning — but he kept the Reds in the game. The right-hander allowed three runs on four hits and two walks in seven innings. The long ball was again a problem for Mahle; he gave up a pair of solo shots to Brad Miller and Yadier Molina.

His best two innings were his last two, when he faced the Cardinals lineup for the third time. Traditionally, the third time through the order hasn’t been kind to Mahle (9.71 ERA, 5.90 xFIP). But he turned in two perfect innings, recording all three of his strikeouts for the game in that span. In the postgame show, Mahle noted he was throwing harder in his last two innings, which Statcast data confirms.

Amir Garrett retired the first two batters in the eighth inning before giving up a weak bloop single to Tommy Edman off the end of the bat (68.9 mph exit velocity). Raisel Iglesias was brought on to face Paul Goldschmidt and got the St. Louis slugger to fly out to left.

The ninth was more adventurous for Iglesias. He gave up a hit to Miller and walked Paul DeJong to start the inning. (Side note: DeJong should’ve struck swinging out twice, but the Cardinals won the appeal to first base both times. The first base umpire? You guessed it: Angel Hernandez.) A sacrifice bunt by Molina and an intentional walk to Matt Carpenter loaded the bases with one out. Iglesias responded with a back-to-back strikeouts to Tyler O’Neill and Lane Thomas to strand all three runners.

Most Valuable Reds

  • Tucker Barnhart: .213 Win Probability Added (WPA)
  • Raisel Iglesias: .200 WPA
  • Shogo Akiyama: .165 WPA
  • Joey Votto: .164 WPA

Hardest-Hit Balls

  • Eugenio Suarez: 111.4 mph | Double in 2nd inning
  • Mike Moustakas: 110.6 mph | Groundout in 8th inning
  • Brian Goodwin: 106.8 mph | Lineout in 4th inning
  • Eugenio Suarez: 101.5 mph | Groundout in 6th inning
  • Tucker Barnhart: 101.1 mph | Home run in 5th inning

Highest Velocities By Pitcher

  • Raisel Iglesias: 98.2 mph
  • Amir Garrett: 97.0 mph
  • Tyler Mahle: 96.7 mph

Unluckiest Out of the Day

  • Brian Goodwin: 80% hit probability | Lineout in 4th inning

What’s Next?

The Reds are off Thursday and will travel to Pittsburgh on Friday to play a doubleheader against the Pirates. First pitch for game one is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. EST — here’s the pitching matchup:

[Photo Credit: https://twitter.com/Reds/status/1147921825881559045]

Matt Wilkes got hooked on Reds baseball after attending his first game in Cinergy Field at 6 years old, and he hasn’t looked back. As a kid, he was often found imitating his favorite players — Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns — in the backyard. When he finally went inside, he was leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 or keeping stats for whatever game was on TV. He started writing about baseball in 2014 and has become fascinated by analytics and all the new data in the game. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in Columbus. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.

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pinson343
pinson343
16 days ago

Glad I didn’t watch this one, the top of the 9th alone would have exhausted me. The Reds did catch a break with Dexter Fowler being out. If he’s in the lineup, then with 2nd and 3rd and one out, Iglesias has to face Carpenter and Fowler. Iggy not as effective against lefties and Fowler a Reds killer, wouldn’t have liked those odds.

Imagine the crowd noise in the 9th if there were a crowd, with Iglesias striking out two with the bass loaded and Votto’s walkoff hit.

pinson343
pinson343
16 days ago

There are plenty of compilations of horrible Angel Hernandez calls on the web.

pinson343
pinson343
16 days ago

For the second game in a row, Moustakos hits a bullet that goes for an out. The only solution would seem to be to get on a home run binge.