Reds’ winning streak ends at 6
CLEVELAND (AP) — Dusty Baker’s instincts are usually right.
After seeing two home runs in the first inning and seven runs scored in just two, the Reds manager made a prediction.
“I told somebody early, ‘This is going to be a 10-9 game,”’ he said. “I hope it’s just us with the win.”
It wasn’t. And Cincinnati’s winning streak was stopped at six games.
Mat Latos was roughed up for four innings and the Reds couldn’t outslug the Cleveland Indians in a 10-9 loss Monday night.
“They just outhit us,” said second baseman Brandon Phillips, who had three hits and three RBIs. “There were a lot of entertaining plays. It was a tough game to lose, but a very fun game.”
Afterward, Latos implied the Indians were stealing signs with runners at second.
“I was a little up in the zone, but I thought I made some pitches they spit on with a runner on second,” he said. “The outcome changed when we changed up the signs. But I was up in the zone and they hit them.”
Joey Votto and Jay Bruce homered for the Reds and Phillips hit a “Little League” homer in the fifth, when Cincinnati scored twice to tie it 7-7.
But the Reds had some tough breaks and dropped the series opener after sweeping three games from the Indians last week at home.
There were no brushback pitches or angry comments this time as Baker and Indians starter Derek Lowe behaved and did not reopen their long-running feud.
Lonnie Chisenhall finished a double short of the cycle and had three RBIs, and Casey Kotchman drove in three runs for the Indians.
“We couldn’t stop them,” Baker said. “They couldn’t really stop us. They just got one more run.”
Chisenhall and Kotchman hit two-run homers, and both drove in runs in the sixth inning off Sam LeCure (2-2) as Cleveland snapped a 7-7 tie.
Shin-Soo Choo led off the first with a homer for the Indians, who won for just the second time in seven games and pulled within one-half game of first place in the AL Central.
In the eighth, Chisenhall needed just a double to become the eighth Cleveland player to hit for the cycle and first since Travis Hafner in 2003. It has been nearly 79 years since the Indians had a player hit for the cycle at home. Hall of Famer Earl Averill did it in August 1933.
“That’s all I was thinking about,” Chisenhall said. “Everybody was like, ‘Anything that happens you’re going two,’ so if it short hops (Reds right fielder Jay) Bruce there or gets down I’ve got to go to second.”
Despite coming up short of his first cycle since “high school or summer ball,” Chisenhall called his performance “my best game in the major leagues so far.”
Joe Smith (5-1) replaced an ineffective Lowe in the sixth, and Chris Perez worked the ninth, giving up one run, before getting his 22nd straight save. Perez’s streak is the second-longest in one season in team history. Jose Mesa saved 38 in a row in 1995.
Perez let the Reds close within one run in the ninth on Bruce’s two-out RBI single, but the colorful closer struck out Ryan Ludwick looking for the final out.
Trailing 9-7 in the seventh, Votto walked and Phillips followed with a liner that Kotchman snagged at first and stepped on the bag for a double play. Cincinnati had tied it 7-7 in the fifth on Phillips’ shot down the left-field line that turned into an unexpected trip around the bases for the second baseman.
With Votto on with a double, Phillips pulled a pitch just inside the bag at third, the ball sneaking past left fielder Johnny Damon, who crashed hard into the railing. As Damon retrieved the ball, Phillips never slowed after rounding second and scored just ahead of the relay throw with a headfirst slide.
In the seventh, Phillips thought he was about to have another bizarre hit before Kotchman’s grab.
Phillips, who already had scooted around the basepaths, thought he was going to do it again.
“He made a real nice play, but I was ready to start running,” Phillips said. “That’s how crazy this game is.”
There was plenty of humidity on a sultry night at Progressive Field, but none of the heat was generated by angry words or actions.
It was a slugfest, just not the one expected.
Last Wednesday, Lowe and Baker pointed fingers at each other during a game in Cincinnati and exchanged disparaging comments afterward.
Baker had told Latos to brush back Lowe with a pitch, and the right-hander took exception, wagging a finger at the Reds manager, who said he ordered the inside pitch as payback for one Lowe threw a few years ago. Lowe responded by hitting Phillips later.
Both managers did all they could to avoid the issue before the series opener.
Moments ahead of Baker’s pregame availability, a Reds spokesman asked reporters to refrain from asking questions about the manager’s past with Lowe.
Outside Cleveland’s clubhouse, Indians manager Manny Acta downplayed the Lowe-Baker conflict, taking some of the tension out of the rematch.
Still, both Lowe and Latos got pummeled.
Lowe allowed seven runs and 11 hits in five innings, while Latos was charged with seven runs and eight hits over four.
Lowe was dismissive when asked if the feud with Baker was over.
“Holy smokes, yes,” he said.
The RBIs by Kotchman and Chisenhall made it 9-7 in the sixth before Bruce’s 16th homer got the Reds within a run in the seventh.
The Reds took a 5-4 lead in the third on Ludwick’s RBI double and Scott Rolen’s run-scoring single.
Votto, who has destroyed Cleveland pitching, hit a two-out homer in the first to put the Reds ahead 1-0. It was Votto’s 13th homer this season and ninth in 26 career interleague games against the Indians.
Notes: Bruce has homered in three of his last four games. … Rolen went 2-for-4 in his first game since May 12 because of a sore left shoulder. He was activated from the DL before the game. … Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer and his 13-year-old son, Nate, threw out ceremonial first pitches. Meyer grew up in Ashtabula, Ohio, rooting for the Indians and wanted to be drafted by the club in 1982. However, he was selected in the 13th round by Atlanta and spent two years in the Braves’ organization.
By JOE KAY AP Sports Writer Ohio State is paying football coach Urban Meyer a minimum of $4 million... read more