CINCINNATI -- A distinction former Cardinal Mark Whiten had alone held since his legendary performance on a September night back in 1993 was amended on Tuesday, back in the city where Whiten first made history.
In leading the Reds to a 13-1 win over the Cardinals, Scooter Gennett joined Whiten as the only players in Major League history to have a four-homer game that included a grand slam. Whiten would not have had to accept company, however, had the Cardinals not taken the unusual approach of erasing one of their own outs.
Long before the night trended toward historic, it turned in an inning where the Cardinals' gamble of sacrificing an out to eliminate a run backfired.
The uncharacteristic move came in the third after Zack Cozart tagged and scored from third when right fielder Stephen Piscotty was awarded a catch near the wall in foul territory. The Reds went ahead, 2-0, with the run, and Adam Wainwright readied to face Gennett with two outs and a runner on first.
That never happened.
Alerted by his staff that the ball had caromed off the wall before landing in Piscotty's glove, manager Mike Matheny chose to challenge the play. The call was overturned, Cozart was sent back to third and the run was erased from the scoreboard.
"I was OK with it. I liked it," Wainwright said of the unorthodox decision to give up an out. "I appreciated it. A run is hard to get in this game, so if you can take it off and still have a chance to get out of the inning … it's not a given you're going to score with a guy on third and one out. I thought it was worth the risk."
Matheny did, too, he said, largely because his team was already trailing. His club's offensive struggles likely factored into the decision, as well. In four of the team's past six games, the Cardinals hadn't scored more than two runs.
"We need to give [Wainwright] an opportunity to strike somebody out or get a double play," Matheny explained.
"I think that was the reasonable play," added Reds manager Bryan Price. "They're taking a point off the board, right? By having them overturn the call, it puts the runner back at third base. I certainly would have done exactly the same thing."
The decision did not pay off. Wainwright walked Suarez to set up a bases-loaded opportunity for Gennett, who capitalized with his first of four home runs on the night. He bruised a low fastball from Wainwright that came back over the middle of the plate.
What would have, at worst, been a two-run homer, was instead a grand slam, the second of Gennett's career. He followed that up with a two-run blast an inning later, a solo shot in the sixth and his record-tying two-run homer off John Brebbia in the eighth.
Gennett finished with 10 RBIs. Whiten had 12.