Third time's a charm for Reds in walk-off
After coming up empty with bases loaded in previous 2 innings, Suarez breaks through in 9th
CINCINNATI -- The Reds had their chance in the seventh, and then again in the eighth. But it was the ninth inning that finally yielded the much-needed tiebreaker in Friday's 3-2 win at Great American Ball Park.
After knotting it up in the sixth, he Reds loaded the bases against reliever Zach Duke in the seventh with one out, but Matt Bowman came in and kept the Reds off the board. In the eighth, Kevin Siegrist walked three batters, two of which came with two outs, but managed to get Billy Hamilton swinging to get out of the inning.
In the ninth, the Reds drew a walk and two singles within the first four batters.
"We kept getting in trouble," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "You go into the seventh, eighth and ninth and load the bases, it's hard to make things happen. Guys did a good job pitching out of it."
Third baseman Eugenio Suarez wouldn't fall to the same fate as his teammates in the previous two innings, driving a ball past a drawn-in infield to give the Reds the win.
"My first career walk-off -- I feel great," Suarez said. "I knew that this moment would come to me soon, but today gave me the opportunity, God gave me the opportunity, and I just tried to make it game over. That happens when you have concentration in that moment, that's what I do right now. I just try to hit a ball right in the middle and watch them for a good pitch to hit in the middle. I know it's coming, something like that, sinking in like that, and I get it."
The walk-off wouldn't have happened without two other plays that led up to it, though.
The first, in the at-bat before Suarez, right fielder Scott Schebler took a 3-2 pitch through the right side of the infield to load the bases.
The second moment, which Reds manager Bryan Price described as unsung, came right after Schebler's single. After the ball made it through the infield, Zack Cozart aggressively rounded third, but was held by third-base coach Billy Hatcher. Had Hatcher waved Cozart, he likely would have been thrown out by the strong-armed right fielder Stephen Piscotty.
"Hatch didn't get overaggressive, and Piscotty closing on that ball, he throws well," Price said. "He didn't get so excited in the moment to send the runner and gave us that opportunity, because he would have been dead out. So it gives us that opportunity to get that game-winner for Suarez."