by Chris Duzyk

Six run second inning leads to 7-4 win

The Reds came out swinging, putting up seven runs in the first two innings, while Sonny Gray looked dominant through the first four innings. The rout appeared to be on, but a rough 5th inning and the offense disappearing kept the game at 7-4 all the way to the end. The bullpen provided four innings of shutout baseball. The Reds were able to get off to a good start in the four-game series against the basement-dwelling Pirates.


Offense

Future Rookie of the Year, Jonathan India, started the game off with an upper-deck home run (106.8 mph 410 feet) to left field on a fastball left up in the zone to set the tone for the offense.

After Jesse Winker was hit by a pitch and Nick Castellanos drew a walk, Joey Votto lined into an unfortunate double play to squash the inning.

The Reds came back for more in the second. After Kyle Farmer stayed hot with a single to left, Tyler Naquin grounded a ball to second base that was booted on into the outfield by Wilmer Difo. After pulling a would-be home run foul, Eugenio Suarez connected on another ball to right-center that cleared the fence for a three-run home run (103.4 mph 388 feet).

Sonny Gray then got into the action with a swinging bunt that was thrown away down the line at first base but was ruled a single. After an India walk followed by a pop-out and fielder’s choice had two on and two out, Votto hit his first home run (98.1 mph 377 feet) since his seven-game home run streak had ended. Two more singles by Farmer and Tyler Stephenson had men at first and second, but both were stranded.

The offense went almost completely dormant after the third inning, only producing two base hits over the next six innings, including 12 straight retired to end the game.

Pitching

Sonny Gray threw four stellar, shutout innings before a shakey and unlucky fifth inning allowed the Pirates to get on the board. Gray ended his 98 pitch appearance with seven strikeouts generated by mixing in his curveball and slider well.

Gray opened the game, getting a check-swing strikeout before Kevin Newman put a weakly hit ball through the right side for a single. Gray came back to get the next two batters, including a second swinging strikeout on a curveball out of the zone.

Gray continued cruising in the second with a 1-2-3 inning, including a three-pitch strikeout on three straight curveballs. The third and fourth innings brought more of the same. Gray started the third by striking out Difo on a sinker that cut back over the inside of the plate and followed with another swinging strike three on a curveball. A walk, followed by a groundout, ended the third. The fourth was another 1-2-3 inning with two more strikeouts added to Gray’s total.

The Pirates finally got to Gray in the fifth. With one out, Gray issued a walk before Difo doubled down the right-field line. Phillip Evans hit a slow roller to Farmer, who had to attempt a barehanded pick-up to make the play but couldn’t field the ball cleanly, allowing a run to score. With men on first and third, Hoy Park grounded a ball to Votto, who looked to nab Difo at third after he had strayed off too far. Due to the shift and Suarez not breaking over to third on contact, it ended with another infield single and the bases loaded. After a fielder’s choice scored another, Ke’Bryan Hayes laced a ball up the middle to bring in the inning’s fourth run. A groundout finally stopped the bleeding, putting an end to Gray’s night.

Jeff Hoffman entered in relief and threw a shutout sixth inning with two strikeouts, only allowing a groundball through the left side for a single. After giving up a single, then hitting Bryan Reynolds with one out, Hoffman induced a 6-4-3 double play to get out of the seventh unscathed.

Justin Wilson threw another blank inning in the eighth, adding another strikeout to the team total.

Mychal Givens threw a quick 1-2-3 ninth, picking up the save.

Stats

Most Valuable Players

  • Eugenio Suarez: .126 WPA (Win Probability Added)
  • Jonathan India: .105 WPA
  • Jeff Hoffman: .099 WPA

Hardest-Hit Balls

  • Jonathan India: 106.8 mph | Home run in 1st inning
  • Tyler Naquin: 104.3 mph | Flyout in 5th inning
  • Eugenio Suarez: 103.4 mph | Home run in 2nd inning

Unluckiest Out of the Day

  • Jonathan India: .740 xBA | Lineout in 6th inning

Highest Velocities By Pitcher

  • Sonny Gray: 93.7 mph
  • Jeff Hoffman: 96.8 mph
  • Justin Wilson: 94.9 mph
  • Mychal Givens: 95.6 mph

Highest Pitch Spins

  • Sonny Gray: 2,810 rpm | Curveball

Most Pitch Movement

  • Sonny Gray: 61 inches vertical movement | Curveball
  • Sonny Gray: 18 inches horizontal movement | Slider

Team Expected Batting Averages (xBA)

  • Pirates: .184
  • Reds: .285
What’s Next?

The Reds continue the four-game set against the Pirates with game two at Great American Ball Park. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. EST as Wade Miley faces off against JT Brubaker.

Featured Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire


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Chris began his Reds fandom with family trips from central Kentucky to Riverfront Stadium. At a young age, he had to learn to swing a wiffle ball bat left handed to properly imitate Ken Griffey Jr. and Sean Casey in backyard games against his brother. A graduate from Centre College, he was able to combine his love of baseball statistics and analytics often into his statistics and econometrics courses. He currently is living in Northern Kentucky where all it takes is a simple walk across the bridge to enjoy the games. Find him on Twitter @cduzyk.