OAKLAND -- Hope shone for the Reds through the darkness of the Oakland Coliseum, where the A’s Stephen Piscotty hit a walk-off home run in the 13th inning to give Oakland a 5-4 victory on Wednesday night.
The brilliance materialized in the form of shortstop José Iglesias, who turned double plays in the fourth and 10th innings that showed off an enviable combination of range, footwork and manual dexterity. Not to mention a firm throwing arm.
Cincinnati is accustomed to excellence at shortstop -- Roy McMillan, Leo Cardenas, Dave Concepcion, Barry Larkin. At 29, Iglesias might reveal that his potential already has exceeded its expiration date and that he’s incapable of joining this august group. The veteran of 689 Major League appearances has been cast off by Detroit and Boston. But on this night, he looked primed to rejuvenate his career, if not sustain it.
At the very least, he expects to contribute.
“That’s my job. That’s what I’m here for,” Iglesias said, referring to his defensive prowess. “I’m a believer that if you can’t get the job done with the bat that day, I’ll get it done with the glove. At some point, I’m going to help this team.”
Reds manager David Bell was suitably impressed.
“The range, the way he throws -- his ability to throw from any angle allows him to make really incredible plays,” Bell said. “It’s so much fun to watch him play, because he has so much fun playing. He’s all over the field.”
Unfortunately for the Reds, Iglesias couldn’t station himself in the left-field seats, where Piscotty deposited Robert Stephenson’s 2-1 pitch leading off the A’s half of the 13th with the score even at 4 apiece.
The Reds, who were no-hit in Tuesday’s series opener by Mike Fiers, collected only four hits down the stretch after staging a four-run, four-hit outburst in the second inning.
“All I know is our guys are giving it their best effort,” Bell said. “It’s going to turn around.”
Reds starter Sonny Gray, the former Oakland ace, couldn’t recapture his vintage form. He yielded four runs (three earned) and six hits in 4 1/3 innings. His five walks were particularly galling.
“You don’t deserve to win if you walk five guys,” Gray said.
Cincinnati’s bullpen provided 7 2/3 shutout innings between Gray’s departure and Stephenson’s arrival. The workhorse was right-hander Jared Hughes, who worked three innings for the third time in his 740-game career.