CINCINNATI -- The Reds could soon introduce new acquisition Matt Harvey to their rotation, and they'll hope he can turn things around for himself and the pitching staff. But in two games vs. the Mets since they traded for Harvey from New York, Reds starters haven't waited for help. They
CINCINNATI -- The Reds could soon introduce new acquisition Matt Harvey to their rotation, and they'll hope he can turn things around for himself and the pitching staff. But in two games vs. the Mets since they traded for Harvey from New York, Reds starters haven't waited for help. They simply provided back-to-back solid outings.
Adam Duvall walked off the Reds to a series win with his lead-off home run in bottom of the 10th inning for Wednesday's 2-1 victory over the Mets at Great American Ball Park. But the foundation for the win was Sal Romano's start and excellent work from the bullpen.
"They definitely did their job today," Duvall said.
Cincinnati earned just its second series win of the season and its first back-to-back victories since April 23-24. On Tuesday in a 7-2 win, Luis Castillo began with 4 2/3 perfect innings before eventually giving up two runs in 5 2/3 innings. On Wednesday, Romano turned in six strong innings with one earned run, four hits, one walk and seven strikeouts.
The only blemish on Romano's line came in the top of the third inning after Brandon Nimmo led off with a triple to right-center field. Next batter Asdrubal Cabrera hit a sharp grounder to first base that was stopped by a Joey Votto dive, but it scored Nimmo to make it a 1-0 game. Romano retired 12 of his final 14 batters -- including striking out the side in the fourth.
"I think just trying to be confident out there and trusting my stuff," said Romano, who is 2-3 with a 3.83 ERA in eight starts. "Today, out of everything, I really had all four of my pitches now working for me. I was able to go to my curveball when I was behind in the count or that little cutter I've been working on was actually pretty good today. I threw some good changeups as well. I think it was just an overall mix of pitches and trying to keep guys off-balance as much as I could. There's times when you feel like it's a little bit of a pitcher's duel, so you don't want to be the first to break."
When Romano struck out the side in the fourth, he used offspeed pitches for strike three each time -- the final two on mid-80s curveballs to ex-Red Devin Mesoraco and Michael Conforto.
"There's times this year that I fell in love with my fastball," said Romano, who threw 96 pitches. "I think there's times where I've just become a thrower and guys can really sit on my fastball. But today I really tried to mix it up and keep the guys off balance and I think I did a pretty good job of that today."
Cincinnati's rotation has the worst ERA in the National League at 5.38, but Romano has started to find a groove with a 2.33 ERA over his past five starts.
"Sal is doing good," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "He knows what he is -- a power pitcher with a good, hard sinker. And he pitches to that. Just keep running him out there and hope it continues."
Mets starter Zack Wheeler took a shutout into the bottom of the sixth, but a leadoff walk to Jesse Winker began the game-tying rally. Jose Peraza bunted for a single, and Votto's line-drive single to right field made it 1-1.
The Reds' bullpen backed up Romano with four hitless frames. Jared Hughes got three groundouts in a perfect seventh and Amir Garrett issued a leadoff walk but escaped with a scoreless eighth. Capping a nice day for the pitching staff, Reds closer Raisel Iglesias got the win with two scoreless innings and three strikeouts while retiring all six batters faced.
That set it up for Duvall, who pulled a 2-1 pitch from AJ Ramos into the left-field seats to end the game and give the 10-27 Reds a rare winning streak as they begin a seven-game road trip to the West Coast.
"It starts with starting pitching," Riggleman said. "When you get six and maybe even a little more from your starters, your bullpen lines up correctly and you've got a chance."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Duvall needed that: Duvall entered the game in the ninth inning as part of a double switch and was definitely in need of optimism. He came into the day batting .169 and was 3-for-22 on the homestand. The jolt into the left-field seats off of Ramos was the first walk-off homer of his career.
"Fastball, middle in. I got the barrel to it, so that was exciting," Duvall said. "A walk-off home run, it's something good to get the ball rolling and hopefully carry it into tomorrow."
When he retired the side in the top of the ninth, Iglesias walked off of the field holding his left arm and appeared to be in pain. However, it did not affect him when he returned for the 10th.
"One of the balls back to him, he reached up to catch and he just felt a little something in his left arm," Riggleman said. "He went up in the cage and worked it out and actually threw better in the 10th than he did in the 9th.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The game had some early confusion when the Mets batted out of order in the top of the first inning, when Wilmer Flores and Cabrera reversed spots in the lineup. Fourth batter Jay Bruce was called out and Cabrera's at-bat was ruled to have been skipped, and the inning ended with umpires explaining the situation to both benches.
"I want to say as little as possible about that because that's a bad feeling for anybody. I felt bad," Riggleman said. "It's so easy to have happen. We noticed it in the first inning. I looked earlier and I noticed Flores was hitting third, and it just stuck in my mind that Flores was hitting third today. And then when he walked up there second, it clicked that I thought he was hitting third. So I looked at the card again and realized a mistake had been made." More >
HE SAID IT
"I had no idea what was going on. I was a little confused, but hey, it worked out for us," -- Romano, on the Mets batting out of order.
The Reds will try to reverse their recent fortunes vs. the Dodgers when they open a four-game series in Los Angeles at 10:10 p.m. ET Thursday. Cincinnati is 0-5-1 in six series against the Dodgers over the past three seasons, and the Reds have dropped 17 of the last 20 games -- including eight in a row -- against them. Tyler Mahle (2-4, 4.35 ERA) will make the start for the Reds against top Dodgers prospect Walker Buehler (2-0, 1.13 ERA), who tossed six innings as Los Angeles' starter in a combined no-hitter vs. San Diego his last time out.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.