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Suarez leads bat attack as Reds take finale

June 17, 2018

PITTSBURGH -- It was the first Father's Day as a dad for Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez, and he was already enjoying it before taking the field vs. the Pirates. His wife sent him a video of their young daughter Nicolle -- born late last season -- saying "papa.""It gave

PITTSBURGH -- It was the first Father's Day as a dad for Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez, and he was already enjoying it before taking the field vs. the Pirates. His wife sent him a video of their young daughter Nicolle -- born late last season -- saying "papa."
"It gave me some energy. That one was real special before the game," Suarez said.
Suarez delivered a two-run home run in the fourth inning, and another two-run homer from Scott Schebler helped give the Reds an 8-6 victory on Sunday at PNC Park, taking the finale of the three-game series.

"That's impressive and it was so nice to hit a home run on my first Father's Day," Suarez said. "That's a pretty good moment right there. My heart was excited."
The Reds had a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Scooter Gennett hit a leadoff single, setting up Suarez, who drove a 1-1 cutter from Joe Musgrove into the left-field seats for his 14th home run of the season and his second in two games. It also put him back into a tie for the National League lead with 52 RBIs.

Over an eight-game hitting streak, Suarez is 9-for-29 (.310) with three homers. Overall, he's batting .297/.384/.569 in 54 games.
"He's been one of the best players in the league," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "He's always played his position well. He's a smart player and he's a very well-rounded baseball player."
In his third start of the season since coming off of the disabled list, Reds starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani gave up two earned runs over 5 2/3 innings on solo home runs to Colin Moran, leading off the bottom of the second, and Gregory Polanco, with one out in the fifth. DeSclafani allowed only three hits overall, with one walk and four strikeouts to earn his second win in a row.
"Other than the first inning, where there were some hard-hit balls, I was happy with how it went," said DeSclafani, now 2-1 with a 4.60 ERA. "My curveball was useable today. It wasn't great, but I got some outs with it. I got some strikes with it. It definitely made a little bit of a difference."

The Reds made it a 6-1 game in the fifth when Joey Votto hit a two-run double to the wall in right-center field. However, Jose Peraza ran past a stop sign from third base coach Billy Hatcher and got hung up between third base and home plate, costing the Reds an insurance run that would've had them breathing more easily as the Pirates began a late comeback.

"It was kind of a little bit of a momentum breaker, when we made the baserunning mistake," Riggleman said. "Those couple runs that maybe we didn't get there, you could just feel that it energized their dugout a little bit. The last few innings, they made it very hard for us to win that game."
Pittsburgh nibbled back, keeping the pressure on. Amir Garrett replaced DeSclafani with two outs in the sixth and pitched one inning. With two outs in the seventh, Garrett allowed a walk and a hit. Sinkerball reliever Jared Hughes took over and got ground balls from pinch-hitter David Freese and Josh Harrison, but both found holes and resulted in RBI singles.
Hughes, who came in with the longest active streak in the Majors at 19 1/3 scoreless innings, had his own two-out trouble in the eighth. Closer Raisel Iglesias relieved him with two on and allowed his first batter, Polanco, to slug a double into the gap in right-center field, scoring one run to make it a 6-5 game. Josh Bell was waved around third base to try and score the tying run, but was thrown out with a perfect relay to the plate.
Iglesias returned for the ninth and notched his 10th save, but not before giving up a two-out RBI single by Austin Meadows. By salvaging a win after dropping the first two games of the series, the Reds completed a winning 3-2 road trip to Kansas City and Pittsburgh.

"It was a big win for us," Suarez said. "We are heading back home, and can enjoy the off-day tomorrow."
Go-ahead runs plated: Pittsburgh was leading, 1-0, in the third inning when Curt Casali hit a leadoff single off of Musgrove and Billy Hamilton added a one-out single. Both runners advanced on a Musgrove wild pitch, which set up Cincinnati's first run, when Casali scored on a Schebler groundout to second base. Peraza's RBI single to right field provided the go-ahead run and snapped Cincinnati's collective 0-for-20 stretch hitting with runners in scoring position.

In the bottom of the first inning with two outs, Hamilton made a spectacular diving catch on the warning track to rob Francisco Cervelli of an extra-base hit. According to Statcast™, the play had only a 2 percent catch probability, tied with a catch by Milwaukee's Lorenzo Cain on March 30 for lowest of the 2018 season. Hamilton covered 83 feet of ground in 4.3 seconds and reached a sprint speed of 30.1 feet per second.
"That has to be up there with one of my top plays," Hamilton said.

On the play at the plate in which Bell was out in the eighth, the Pirates challenged both whether Casali broke the rules regarding blocking the plate and if he made the tag in time. Replay officials confirmed the out call on the field that there was not an illegal block by the catcher, and also ruled that the play stands because it was inconclusive if Bell beat the tag with his head-first slide.
"I know as soon as I have the ball, I can stand in front of the plate and force him to go outside or go through me," Casali said. "Just take advantage of the rules."
"If it's tied, that's [Felipe] Vazquez in the game in the ninth for them. That was a huge play," Riggleman said.

Following an off-day Monday, the Reds return home to Great American Ball Park for a six-game homestand that begins with Tuesday's 7:10 p.m. ET game vs. the Tigers. In the opener of the two-game series, Sal Romano will pitch for Cincinnati against Detroit lefty Matthew Boyd. Romano pitched a season-high (and career-high-tying) eight innings with one run allowed last Tuesday for a no-decision before the Reds took a 5-1 victory in 10 innings over the Royals.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.