With three runs in the 10th inning, the Reds wrapped up the abbreviated regular season with a 5-3 win over the Twins in extra innings.
Tucker Barnhart had the go-ahead hit with a single to score pinch-runner Michael Lorenzen. The Reds tacked on two more runs with a bases loaded walk from Joey Votto and an RBI single from Eugenio Suarez.
The result ultimately had no impact on playoff seeding. Because the Cardinals defeated the Brewers on Sunday, the Reds remained the No. 7 seed in the National League. They’ll face the No. 2-seeded Braves in the opening round of the postseason.
The Reds close out the regular season having won their last five series, building some valuable momentum heading into the playoffs.
Sonny Gray gave up just two hits in his final tuneup start before the postseason. While he wasn’t missing a ton of bats (4 strikeouts, 11 whiffs on 87 pitches), Gray prevented the Twins from elevating the ball. He coaxed nine ground balls against only one fly ball, one pop-up, and two line drives. But his four walks came back to bite him. Free passes played a direct role in both runs he gave up in 5.1 innings.
The Reds right-hander held the Twins scoreless through four-and-a-half innings, but the 0-0 tie was finally broken in the bottom of the fifth. Gray walked Jake Cave to lead off the inning, which was followed by a strikeout and a groundout that moved Cave to second. Gray fired a curveball into the dirt on the first pitch of the next at-bat, advancing Cave to third. In a 2-2 count against Marwin Gonzalez, Gray attemped a quick pitch that looked to be right down the middle for strike three — but he was called for a balk, allowing Cave to score.
In the sixth, Gray again issued a leadoff walk followed by a single. He struck out Nelson Cruz to end his day, but uncorked a wild pitch during the at-bat to move runners up to second and third. Tejay Antone came on in relief and allowed a sacrifice fly before striking out Cave to end the inning.
Antone fired a scoreless seventh inning as well, racking up three strikeouts in 1.2 innings.
Amir Garrett had a rough go of it in the eighth inning. He gave up a bloop single to Mitch Garver (73.7 mph exit velocity) to start the inning. After striking out Max Kepler, Garrett got Luis Arraez to hit a ground ball back to the mound. What could’ve been an inning-ending double play resulted in no outs, as Garrett airmailed the throw to second base.
Lucas Sims saved the day, though, getting Nelson Cruz to hit into the inning-ending double play that was botched one batter prior. Sims struck out the first two batters of the ninth inning before allowing a single. Raisel Iglesias recorded the final out of the inning by striking out Jorge Polanco. Iglesias gave up an RBI single (an unearned run, by the way) to begin the 10th, but retired the next three batters — two via strikeout — to end it.
The Reds offense couldn’t generate much against 40-year-old lefty Rich Hill, picking up two hits and three walks while holding the Reds scoreless through five innings. Cincinnati finally broke through the third time through the lineup. Joey Votto drew a two-out walk, forcing Hill from the game at 88 pitches. Eugenio Suarez greeted former Reds teammate Matt Wisler rudely by hitting an RBI double to right-center field to tie the game at one.
Once the Reds began to face the Twins’ right-handed relievers, David Bell used pinch-hitters for four of the five batters who came to the plate in the seventh inning, and it paid off. Jesse Winker (pinch-hitting for Kyle Farmer) doubled with one out and Freddy Galvis (pinch-hitting for Jose Garcia) followed with a single, tying the game at two.
In the 10th, the Reds took advantage of having pinch-runner Lorenzen start on second base. He advanced to third on a single by Curt Casali and scored the go-ahead run on a single by Barnhart. Two batters later, Votto drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home another run. Suarez followed with a run-scoring single to extend the lead to 5-2.
Reds Most Valuable Players
- Lucas Sims: .255 WPA (Win Probability Added)
- Freddy Galvis: .234 WPA
- Eugenio Suarez: .125 WPA
Play of the Game
- Lucas Sims: .175 WPA | GIDP vs. Cruz in 8th inning
- Mike Moustakas: 107.5 mph | Single in 2nd inning
- Eugenio Suarez: 104.3 mph | Single in 10th inning
- Jose Garcia: 102.9 mph | Flyout in 3rd inning
- Joey Votto: 101.3 mph | Flyout in 4th inning
- Jesse Winker: 99.7 mph | Double in 7th inning
Highest Velocities By Pitcher
- Tejay Antone: 97.7 mph
- Raisel Iglesias: 97.7 mph
- Amir Garrett: 95.3 mph
- Lucas Sims: 95.1 mph
- Sonny Gray: 94.4 mph
Unluckiest Out of the Day
- Jose Garcia: 75% hit probability | Flyout in 3rd inning
Expected Batting Averages
- Reds: .251
- Twins: .203
The Reds will get the next two days off before starting the NL Wild Card series on Wednesday in Atlanta. The start time has not been announced yet, but we do know it’ll be a battle of aces.