Drury Homer Edges Reds Past Diamondbacks

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Reds 5, Diamondbacks 4

PHOENIX, Jun 13 — Cincinnati Reds designated hitter Brandon Drury smacked a three-run home run, sparking a come-from-behind 5–4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday night.

The starting pitchers — Diamondbacks righty Merrill Kelly and Reds lefty Mike Minor — traded zeroes in the first two innings. In the bottom of the third, the Diamondbacks broke through. Second baseman Ketel Marte doubled to the fence in left with two outs. First baseman Christian Walker brought him home with a towering drive near the left-field pole, a 446-foot blast to the second deck. This gave the Diamondbacks a 2–0 lead.

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Reds Flip Script on Diamondbacks

The Reds slashed it in half in the top of the fourth, also with two outs. Shortstop Kyle Farmer doubled off the wall in left and scored on a single by second baseman Matt Reynolds. The Diamondbacks made it 4–1 in the bottom half. Catcher Carson Kelly led off with a single and advanced to second on a one-out infield single by center fielder Alek Thomas. That brought up shortstop Geraldo Perdomo, whose single scored Kelly and advanced Thomas to third. The first-to-third advancement paid off when left fielder Jordan Luplow followed with a fly to left. Had Thomas been on second, it would have been a routine fly-ball out. But with Thomas being on third, he could tag up and score, making Luplow’s fly a sacrifice fly.

The top of the fifth saw the tables turn, all with one out. After catcher Chris Okey singled and center fielder Nick Senzel walked, Drury hit a screaming liner into the left-field bleachers for a game-tying three-run home run. The Reds took the lead in the sixth, also with one out. Reynolds singled and stole second, putting him in scoring position for a follow-up RBI single by Mike Moustakas on a dying quail to shallow right.

Late-Inning Drama

In the top of the seventh, the Reds threatened to extend their lead. A pair of walks from reliever J.B. Wendelken sandwiched a Drury strikeout, bringing up slugging first baseman Joey Votto with an RBI opportunity. Votto blistered a liner, destined for right field, only to have Walker make a lunging catch across his body and above his right shoulder. Senzel, the runner on second, had already bolted toward third, so when Walker made the grab, Senzel was a dead duck. Walker threw to second for the easy double play, ending the frame. In the bottom half, Marte hit a one-out single. Walker could not advance him, instead popping to first for the second out. Right fielder Daulton Varsho crushed a drive that would have easily gone for extra bases. However, it went directly to Senzel, ending the inning on a frustrating atom ball.

In the top of the eighth, Farmer led off with a rocket to third off Wendelken. It one-hopped Rojas, who stuck up his glove to keep the ball from taking his head off. The ball was hit so hard that Rojas had plenty of time to recover, gather the ball, and throw Farmer out at first. “It was a reaction play,” Rojas said. “It was hit really hard. I just stuck my glove out there and got it. Once I got it, I (knew I had) plenty of time, (since) it was hit hard enough.” The play was the first out of an eventual 1-2-3 inning, one that ended with lefty Kyle Nelson retiring fellow lefty Mike Moustakas on an unassisted groundout to Walker.

Diamondbacks Threaten, but Reds Put Them Away

The Diamondbacks had a runner reach third with two outs in the eighth. An infield single by center fielder Alek Thomas, coupled with a stolen base and throwing error, put him 90 feet from tying the game. However, shortstop Geraldo Perdomo swung and missed a two-strike hung slider, making the efforts go for naught.

Ian Kennedy took the hill for the Diamondbacks in the ninth. After a walk by right fielder Albert Almora on a fly to center by pinch-hitter T.J. Friedl, Senzel hit a sinking liner to right. It threatened trouble, but Pavin Smith, who took over in right field that inning, made a sliding catch for the second out. Another walk brought up left fielder Tommy Pham with two outs, but Kennedy got out of the jam with a called third strike.

Pinch-hitter David Peralta welcomed closer Hunter Strickland to the game with a hard line drive, but it was another atom ball, this time to the right fielder. Rojas and Marte went down on strikes and on a fly to shallow right, respectively, to cement the victory for the Reds.

Postgame Reflections

Manager Torey Lovullo felt his team should have won this game but let it get away. “I’m pretty frustrated,” he said. “We let a couple of situations and the game get away from us. We were feeling pretty good with a 4–1 lead and Merrill (Kelly) on the mound, but there were a couple of mistakes that ended up getting hit. The three-run home run was the difference in the game.

“This was a game that we had plenty of opportunities (to win) in a lot of different areas. I can’t even possibly go into all of them. We just couldn’t get over the hump offensively; we were putting some runners on base and had an opportunity to score some runs but couldn’t get that big hit. I was very satisfied with our approach overall. We picked up the baseball defensively. I just feel like there were some key situations where we didn’t execute on the mound, and that was a difference in the game today.”

Frustrating Moments

The atom balls also frustrated Lovullo, especially because there’s nothing a team can do about them. “There were several balls that we hit over 100 miles an hour — I can think of three of them, including David’s in the last inning. Those are frustrating moments for all of us. But at the end of the day, when we are following the process and having a good result, I’m pleased, as frustrating as it is.

“I think we’re all going through a lot of frustration right now, because I felt like we had this game. This should have been a game that we won, but they clipped us in some key moments, and that’s the beauty of baseball. You don’t have to play a perfect game. Although they played a good game, I don’t want to take that away from them. They had some clutch moments that they came through, and of the balls they hit hard, one of them carried out of the ballpark. And that was the difference.”

Looking Ahead

Minor (1–2, 7.36 ERA) earned the win, while Kelly (5–4, 3.68 ERA) took the loss. Strickland, with a 1-2-3 ninth, notched his second save of the season. The Diamondbacks (29–34) and Reds (22–39) meet again Tuesday night at Chase Field in the second game of their three-game series. Zach Davies (2–3, 4.21 ERA) will take the mound for the Diamondbacks against Reds righty Tyler Mahle (2–5, 5.07 ERA). First pitch will be at 6:40 pm Arizona Time.

Main Photo:
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Players mentioned:

Brandon Drury, Merrill Kelly, Mike Minor, Ketel Marte, Christian Walker, Kyle Farmer, Matt Reynolds, Carson Kelly, Alek Thomas, Geraldo Perdomo, Jordan Luplow, Chris Okey, Nick Senzel, Mike Moustakas, J.B. Wendelken, Joey Votto, Daulton Varsho, Kyle Nelson, Ian Kennedy, Albert Almora, Pavin Smith, Tommy Pham, David Peralta, Hunter Strickland, Torey Lovullo, Zach Davies, Tyler Mahle