'Our hearts are with Tejay': Reds gutted after Antone exits

April 7th, 2024

CINCINNATI -- Sunday was more than a loss for many on the Reds’ pitching staff.

It was an emotional punch to the stomach to see one of their brothers who has battled back from a pair of Tommy John procedures leave after just one pitch during the sixth inning.

was making his fourth appearance in nine games this season when he felt something in his right elbow. Manager David Bell said after the game that Antone is scheduled for an MRI Monday.

Antone was relieving starter Andrew Abbott, but after his abrupt exit, it was up to lefty Brent Suter to enter and hold the Mets in check. He did just that over three scoreless innings, and Buck Farmer threw a scoreless ninth.

But there was no dramatic comeback Sunday as the Reds fell 3-1 to the Mets and dropped their first series of the season.

The Reds were held to three hits and one run over five innings by Sean Manaea, who picked up his first win of the year. Four relievers held the Reds hitless and scoreless over the final four innings, including Edwin Díaz, who saved his second game of the series.

Cincinnati lost its first series of 2024, dropping two of the three games.

As tough as it was to see a pitching teammate leave the game shaking his throwing arm, there was the business of the game itself. And Suter did his best to get ready fast.

“I just tried to go out there and pick up Tejay,” said Suter, who allowed just two hits over three scoreless innings. “Obviously our hearts are with Tejay, going down like that, just heart-wrenching. I just tried to kind of pitch for the guys as long as they needed me. So, I'll be good to pitch, probably on Tuesday.”

Suter said he was able to see Antone in the clubhouse in between innings.

"I tried to find him right away,” Suter said. “He was with the doctor right when I came in, but after my second inning, I came in and was able to give him a big hug and all of us were here for him -- whatever he needs. I just want to hug him all night.

“I was actually there when he snapped it the second time in Milwaukee and that was heart-wrenching even from the other side and now he's my teammate and close friend on the team and for him to go down like that, it's just gut-wrenching."

Bubba Thompson made an immediate impact in the first inning of his first start when he charged in to make a nice running grab on a soft fly to shallow center off the bat of Pete Alonso.

The play appeared to save the Reds a run after Francisco Lindor doubled with one out.

But Francisco Alvarez drove a hot smash off the glove of first baseman Christian Encarnacion-Strand that Santiago Espinal fielded at second. Espinal’s throw was wide of Abbott covering at first and went for an infield single, allowing Lindor to score.

Abbott lost command to start the second, walking Starling Marte before back-to-back perfectly placed bunts from Tyrone Taylor and Jeff McNeil loaded the bases with none out.

After Harrison Bader lined out to first, Abbott was ahead of Brandon Nimmo 1-2 before drilling him in the back to make it 2-0 Mets. Elly De La Cruz then started a well-executed 6-4-3 double play to escape further damage.

After Lindor’s first homer of the season to left in the fourth, the Reds got a run back in the bottom of the inning when Espinal drove home Jeimer Candelario with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly. With the bases again loaded, Manaea induced a 5-4-3 inning-ending double play from Thompson.

Despite the early traffic on the bases and high-stress situations, Abbott managed to give the Reds five innings Sunday on 95 pitches, allowing three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits, striking out four, walking two and hitting a batter.

“I think you have to always try to shoot for five, six or seven innings every single time out,” Abbott said. “It just takes a lot off the bullpen, takes a lot off the team. They're not down eight in three innings and whatnot and they don't have to rebound and make up such ground. So, just to hold them where they were, that was all I could do for the team today.”