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4-run 8th fuels series-opening win vs. White Sox

Blandino hits game-winning double; Castillo gives solid start
July 2, 2018

CINCINNATI -- The Reds have the most at-bats in the Major Leagues this season with the bases loaded (107), the most runs scored (98) and the most grand slams (9). They won't always get the big hit in those situations but given enough chances, they often make something happen.And that

CINCINNATI -- The Reds have the most at-bats in the Major Leagues this season with the bases loaded (107), the most runs scored (98) and the most grand slams (9). They won't always get the big hit in those situations but given enough chances, they often make something happen.
And that was certainly the case during Monday's 5-3 come-from-behind win over the White Sox at Great American Ball Park. The Reds had the bases loaded in the first and seventh innings but came up empty. The bases were full once again in the eighth inning, and that time they cashed in, albeit not in normal fashion.
"Tonight was a weird one, but we got one across," Reds left fielder Adam Duvall said.
Trailing 3-1 in the eighth inning, with one out and the bases loaded against White Sox reliever Chris Volstad, the Reds caught a break as Duvall hit a ground ball to first base. Matt Davidson fielded the ball and threw to the plate on the run just before touching the bag, and Scooter Gennett beat the tag with a slide.
Since Davidson didn't erase the force play, Chicago catcher Omar Narvaez only needed to touch home for Gennett to be out.
"I had no idea. That's why I kind of did a straight-end hook slide," Gennett said. "I was thinking, 'Is this a forceout or not?' But I just tried to avoid the tag."

Duvall didn't get a good look at what Davidson was doing but almost didn't touch first base until being alerted by coach Freddie Benavides.
"When [Davidson] threw the ball, I had to get out of the way, so I was more focused on not getting hit by the ball," Duvall said. "To me, it looked like he made a play to touch the base, which he was going to, and then he changed his mind and went home with it."
Billy Hamilton followed Duvall with a sacrifice fly to center field. The throw home was cut off by Davidson, who fired to third base to get Jose Peraza. But Peraza was able to narrowly beat the tag with his foot as he slid, avoiding the third out and allowing Eugenio Suarez to score the tying run.

Pinch-hitter Alex Blandino sat on his first four pitches from Volstad, drawing a 2-2 count. Blandino fouled off the next pitch, then sliced a two-run double near the right-field line for a two-run Cincinnati lead.
Blandino came into the at-bat 3-for-his-last-33 (.091) with 15 strikeouts, several of them on called strike threes.
"It's tough to talk about the strike zone, especially as a rookie," Blandino said. "But I think some adjustments need to happen for sure on my end. Part of it is being more aggressive earlier in the count. Albeit tonight, I got to two strikes again. Moving forward, that's something I can change."
Dylan Floro got two outs in the top of the eighth for the win, and Raisel Iglesias worked the ninth for his 16th save. Cincinnati has won 12 of its last 15 games and three in a row.

"If you put it in play, something good can happen," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "Duvall put it in play. He forced them to make a decision there at first base, and it went our way. It was a good at-bat."
Votto swings on 3-0: When the Reds had the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh inning while trailing, 2-1, Joey Votto batted vs. Luis Avilan and drew a 3-0 count. Votto got a fastball over the plate the next pitch and swung away. He tattooed a ball to deep center field, but it was caught for the third out. Entering the at-bat, Votto had a career .588 average (20-for-34) with five homers and 18 RBIs on 3-0 counts. Riggleman had no problem with his best hitter swinging away in a 3-0 count.
"Tucker [Barnhart] was hitting 3-0 [ahead of Votto], but the pitch was ball four. It was in, and he took it. It's a matter of trust," Riggleman said. "I trust that Tucker is going to swing at a strike or take a ball, and I trust that Joey will do the same. That's what he did. He got a good rip with that pitch."
Lost in the shuffle during a no-decision was a very strong performance by Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo. In one of his best starts of 2018, Castillo tied a season high of 6 2/3 innings and was charged with one earned run on six hits. He didn't walk a batter and struck out six. It was the most innings the right-hander has worked since April 16, at Milwaukee. He took a shutout into the seventh inning, but Amir Garrett gave up his inherited run and one of his own with two hits allowed.
"That was a little more like last year, and we saw a few of those here this year. It's been the best one in a while," Riggleman said.

"That's my athletic ability. Everybody's laughing in here, but I truly believe somewhere across the line in my family tree there was some type of ninja black belt, and it came out today." -- Gennett, on his slide at the plate in the eighth inning
There were consecutive replays during the pivotal eighth inning, both going in the Reds' favor. First, the White Sox challenged the Gennett safe call at the plate, arguing that Narvaez got the tag on him in time, but the replay official confirmed the safe call with Gennett clearly getting his hand on the plate before the tag.

On the Hamilton sacrifice fly that drew a cut-off throw to third base, Peraza was ruled safe on a slide at third. With the White Sox out of challenges, a crew-chief review was ordered and, upon review, the replay official determined that the call stood.

The Reds will put Anthony DeSclafani (3-1, 4.45 ERA) on the mound Tuesday for the second game of a series with the White Sox at 7:10 p.m. ET at Great American Ball Park. DeSclafani, who touts a four-game unbeaten streak, gave up four earned runs and five hits over 6 1/3 innings vs. the Brewers on Thursday, but was the victim of a blown save in a 6-4 Reds loss. Chicago will start right-hander Lucas Giolito (5-7, 6.59).

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.