The Reds held a 3-1 advantage heading into the third inning thanks in part to an RBI double by starter Amir Garrett -- his first Major League hit -- but shortly thereafter the left-hander ran into trouble on the mound for the second game in a row.
After issuing a one-out walk to Francisco Lindor, Garrett allowed three straight hits, the last of which was a two-run home run by Edwin Encarnacion on a fastball left over the plate. Two batters later, Yan Gomes homered on another fastball, giving Cleveland a 6-3 lead.
"When your mistakes happen in one inning like that, it [stinks]," Garrett said. "If it was spread out, it'd be better. When it's one inning like that, it's the worst."
Garrett, ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Reds' No. 2 prospect, has allowed six or more runs in two consecutive starts. He gave up four home runs against the Indians -- three of which came on four-seam fastballs -- in five innings of work.
A sizable deficit wasn't anything new for Cincinnati. In each of its three games against the Rockies over the weekend, the club trailed by five runs or more heading into the home half of the sixth inning. The Reds didn't lay down in any of those games -- they even completed their biggest comeback of the year in a 12-8 win Saturday -- and they certainly didn't go away quietly against the Indians, either.
In the bottom of the seventh, Cincinnati trimmed the deficit to 7-4 after an RBI single from Adam Duvall. Next up was the pinch-hitting Eugenio Suarez, who lifted a three-run homer into the seats in right-center to tie the game at 7.
"We lost, but I'm happy because I do my work and I try to help my team," Suarez said. "And we battled. We battled that game, and that happens when you play hard."
The Reds found themselves behind once again after a Drew Storen wild pitch scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth, but there was still a chance to rally. With Jose Peraza on second and two down in the bottom of the inning, Zack Cozart hit a bloop single into right field. Peraza tried to score, but he was thrown out by right fielder Daniel Robertson at the plate to end the inning. The Reds also put two on with one out in the ninth before they were snuffed out for good.
"They have a really good offensive club," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "If you make a mistake, as we found out, they can put up some numbers in a hurry. ... There was traffic all night. With the walks, the hits, hit batsmen, it seemed like they had two guys on every inning. And the one inning, they cashed in. Fortunately, we scratched one across and made it hold up."
It's still a loss, sure, but the Reds once again showed they don't quit when faced with a deficit at any point in the game.
"Again it's another game where we fall behind early and we rally to make it a ballgame," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "And in this situation, we tied the game and had a chance to win it. I think we're a hard team to take lightly, I'll tell you that, even when you get ahead."
Jeremy Vernon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati.