CLEVELAND -- The chances of a ninth-inning comeback victory two days in a row wasn't a probable outcome for the Reds on Wednesday.After upsetting the Indians with a seven-run rally in the ninth to beat the Tribe at Progressive Field on Tuesday, the Reds (41-52) had two rocky innings that
CLEVELAND -- The chances of a ninth-inning comeback victory two days in a row wasn't a probable outcome for the Reds on Wednesday.
After upsetting the Indians with a seven-run rally in the ninth to beat the Tribe at Progressive Field on Tuesday, the Reds (41-52) had two rocky innings that led to a 19-4 loss, but Cincinnati still took two of three from its division-leading Interleague opponent.
The Reds' seven-run rally Tuesday may have been one of the team's biggest wins in recent memory, but any momentum from the victory quickly faded after the Indians hit their stride against starter Tyler Mahle.
"They got on us early last night, too, but we were able to regroup," interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "That just wasn't going to happen tonight. Tyler has been so good for us. He's really been an outstanding pitcher for us throughout the first half of the season here before the All-Star break. You're going to get one like that now and then."
Mahle was tagged for five earned runs in the worst start of his career. The 23-year-old right-hander was unable to escape the third, yielding seven total runs off six hits in 2 1/3 innings. The Indians started things in the first inning with a two-run homer by Jose Ramirez. Mahle walked two, but did not give up a hit in a scoreless second frame. He faced six batters in the third before getting pulled for reliever Tanner Rainey.
"I just didn't pitch well -- it's as easy as that," said Mahle, who is now 3-1 against Interleague opponents. "I knew it was going to be tough today, because nothing was really working. I was hoping to battle through it, but they got me in the third inning."
Michael Brantley reached on an error by Joey Votto to start the third. After getting Ramirez to fly out, Mahle gave up four straight singles before his night was done, exiting with the Tribe leading, 5-0. Rainey was unable to stop the bleeding, allowing RBI singles to Tyler Naquin and Brantley, walking Francisco Lindor and giving up a three-run shot to Ramirez, capping off the nine-run frame.
Rainey let all four batters he faced in the fourth inning reach before he was chased out -- including a two-run homer to Jason Kipnis and an RBI double to Naquin. Rainey was tagged for eight earned runs on five hits, walking three in two-thirds of an inning.
Between the third and fourth frames, Reds pitchers faced 22 batters on 93 pitches, combining for 15 runs, 11 hits, four walks, seven singles and three home runs.
"With that lineup over there, if you're not at the top of your game, they are going to get you," Riggleman said. "It feels like a couple of losses when you get beat that bad, but it's a loss."
Tribe starter Carlos Carrasco (10-5) limited the Reds to one run over five innings while striking out seven. Billy Hamilton led off the fifth with his fifth triple of the season and scored on a sacrifice fly from Jose Peraza. Scooter Gennett led off the sixth with a homer off right-hander Adam Plutko for the second baseman's 15th jack of the year. Jesse Winker also went deep, clubbing his seventh home run of the season to the right-field seats for a two-run shot in the eighth to finish 2-for-4.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Reserve infielder Alex Blandino pitched the bottom of the eighth, allowing a single to Erik Gonzalez -- who replaced Ramirez in the sixth -- and striking out Brandon Guyer swinging and Roberto Perez on a foul tip. He was the only Reds pitcher to not yield a run.
"It's definitely different than being on the infield," said Blandino, who also admitted he had not pitched in a game since high school. "When Jim gave me the nod and asked me if I could do it, I said, 'Absolutely,' and went out there. I knew I could throw it over the plate."
Blandino used 15 pitches and reached 90.4 mph with his fastest pitch, the third strike to Perez. The single given up to Gonzalez was hit right at Blandino with a 103.5-mph exit velocity, according to Statcast™. Blandino wasn't quick enough to snag the liner as it went into center field.
"I was pretty disappointed I didn't catch it as an infielder," Blandino said. "It was hit hard, it was hit really hard. He hit it and I kind of had a little moment of panic there, but luckily I got my glove up. I don't know, it's something you haven't seen as an infielder before." More >
HE SAID IT
"I think it's just one of those games, they came out swinging. They're obviously swinging it very well and I can't say one reason or another why things went that way today. I know we'll be ready to go in St. Louis. This is kind of one you have a short memory on. I look at the positives, we won the series against a first-place team, we beat them two out of three times, that's the goal, just to win the series. I think there's a lot of frustration in here today after a loss like that, but at least winning the series is a positive." -- Blandino, on taking the positives out of the 19-4 defeat
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Riggleman challenged a close play at the plate in the bottom of the third inning, after Tribe first baseman Yonder Alonso was called safe on a relay home from right fielder Scott Schebler. Yan Gomes singled to Schebler, who fired home to get Alonso and the throw beat him to the plate, but the tag from Tucker Barnhart wasn't applied in time. The call from home-plate umpire Ryan Additon was safe. After further review, the call stood, keeping the door open for Cleveland's monstrous nine-run inning.
The Reds will take an off-day Thursday before returning to action for a three-game series against the Cardinals on Friday at Busch Stadium. Matt Harvey (4-5, 4.80 ERA) will take the mound for Game 1. Harvey gave up three runs (two earned) across 5 2/3 innings against the Cubs Saturday. St. Louis will counter with right-hander Carlos Martinez (6-4, 3.05 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET.
Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.