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Votto, Reds stun Tribe with 7-run 9th

MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- There wasn't anything Joey Votto could do against Indians starter Trevor Bauer. Despite an 0-for-4 showing against the right-hander, the All-Star first baseman got the last laugh Tuesday at Progressive Field.

With reliever Dan Otero on the mound in the ninth, Votto ripped a full-count fastball to the right-center-field alley to clear the bases, which gave the Reds (41-51) their first lead in an eventual seven-run comeback in the ninth inning to beat the Indians, 7-4.

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CLEVELAND -- There wasn't anything Joey Votto could do against Indians starter Trevor Bauer. Despite an 0-for-4 showing against the right-hander, the All-Star first baseman got the last laugh Tuesday at Progressive Field.

With reliever Dan Otero on the mound in the ninth, Votto ripped a full-count fastball to the right-center-field alley to clear the bases, which gave the Reds (41-51) their first lead in an eventual seven-run comeback in the ninth inning to beat the Indians, 7-4.

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"Who do you want up in a 3-2 count in the bottom of the ninth inning in the World Series?" Reds starter Sal Romano asked, smirking. "Joey Votto. He got the pitch he wanted, and he knew what to do."

Video: CIN@CL: Romano strikes out Perez swinging

It wasn't until after Bauer's departure that the Reds could manufacture anything on the bases -- the Indians' All-Star went eight innings, allowing three hits and striking out 12. The Reds tallied six runs in the ninth off Indians closer Cody Allen. Allen started the inning by hitting Scooter Gennett with a pitch and giving up an infield single. Jose Peraza scored the team's first run on a bloop single just past the reach of Yonder Alonso down the first-base line, and a pinch-hit, two-run double for Adam Duvall brought tensions to a head.

Votto, the ninth man to bat in the tumultuous rally, ripped the fastball off Otero, who came in to repair Allen's jam. Eugenio Suarez knocked in Votto with a single, but a baserunning mishap by Gennett ended the frame. Raisel Iglesias came on in the bottom of the ninth to secure his 19th save.

Video: CIN@CLE: Iglesias gets groundout to earn 19th save

"I knew he was going to give a good at-bat," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said of Votto. "But you don't know, he might hit that ball, and it may go right to the right fielder. Once you hit it, you're kind of out of control."

Though Votto's hit was about as clutch as any for the Reds this season, it may not have happened without a communication error between Indians manager Terry Francona and pitching coach Carl Willis.

Francona called for left-hander Oliver Perez to warm up and face Votto, a lefty. Willis heard "O.T.," Otero's nickname, rather than "O.P." for Perez. What ensued may have caused the Tribe to lose its fourth in a row.

"That one lands squarely on me," said Francona. "There's no getting around it. I've got to be responsible for that."

Riggleman said pregame that his team has shown nothing but fight when faced with adversity. Votto said, with the Reds winning four of their past six, momentum is helping the team through its hardships.

Video: CIN@CLE: Votto rips go-ahead 3-run double in the 9th

"With each and every win, with each and every comeback win, with a performance of the night from somebody different, I think our team gets more confident, and I think we get more excited about the present and the future," Votto said. "The Cleveland Indians are for real, but with every win, with every comeback, we feel like we're more for real."

Despite a sluggish start from Romano -- who gave up home runs to Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez in the first and allowed two more runs in the second -- he pitched into the eighth. The righty finished with four runs (three earned) yielded in 7 1/3 innings.

"I think I was a little pumped up in the beginning, that's just normal," Romano said. "But I kinda just realized that I couldn't overthrow anymore. I was leaving the ball up in the zone.

Video: CIN@CLE: Duvall lines a 2-run double to left in 9th

"That was the most fun I've ever had in a baseball game, watching those guys do what they did in the ninth inning. I give all the credit to them and all the plays they made in the field today -- I think I struck out one guy. We were able to get some weak contact and get some groundouts and some weak popups. So it was just an unbelievable win."

LISTEN: Morning Lineup Podcast on Reds' comeback

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Progress for Romano: The 24-year-old right-hander settled down nicely after the first two innings. Following homers from Lindor and Ramirez, the Tribe put up two more the next inning -- Romano led off the inning by walking Jason Kipnis and giving up a double to Tyler Naquin. Roberto Perez reached on a fielding error by Suarez, which scored Kipnis, and a groundout from Lindor scored Naquin.

But after Lindor's groundout, Romano set down the next 13 in order before letting two on with one out in the seventh. He then retired Greg Allen and Lindor to get out of the jam. Romano's night ended after two walks, one strikeout and 100 pitches -- he gave up a one-out double to Ramirez, who was stranded at third after Kyle Crockett retired two in a row to escape the inning. Crockett notched the win.

Video: CIN@CLE: Crockett fans Kipnis, gets out of trouble

"I looked up at the scoreboard a couple of times and was kind of like, 'Hey, we're starting to get in cruise control right now. I have to keep this team in the game,'" Romano said. "At the end of the game, the Reds won, and I think that's what's most important."

Romano said his outing against the Tribe could be enough to help him change the path of his season. He entered the game with losses in five of his past 10 starts, and he was averaging 1.61 homers per nine innings -- the ninth-worst among all starters in the Majors.

"To be able to [go up] against that kind of lineup, a lefty-heavy lineup, the experience they have with the postseason and stuff like that," Romano said. "And the way I started, to be able to battle through and to pitch into the eighth inning against a team like that is definitely a confidence booster. And learning how to pitch in the big leagues, I really learned a lot about myself today. I know I just didn't want to give up on the team, and we came out on top in the end."

SOUND SMART
Since becoming the Reds' interim manager after the team's 3-15 start under former skipper Bryan Price, Riggleman has led the Reds to a 38-36 record. The win Tuesday marks Riggleman's 700th overall as a manager. Riggleman, 65, began his managerial career in 1992 with the Padres, and he went 112-179 over three seasons. He also got chances with the Cubs, Mariners and Nationals. Through 13 seasons, he's 700-860.

Video: CIN@CLE: Votto, Duvall, Riggleman on comeback win

HE SAID IT
"He's much sharper than I remember. He's just gotten better. I think his fastball command is better. I think his curveball command is better. He seems to have a much better idea. I just think he's a better pitcher. This is probably what he had in mind from when he entered the league. This is the version of the pitcher he probably wanted to be, and he showed it tonight. He was a handful for us. We ended up scoring all of our runs when he exited the game. There's a reason why he's an All-Star, and there's a reason why he's fast becoming one of the better pitchers, if not one of the best pitchers, in the game." -- Votto, on Bauer

Video: Then and Now: Votto's clutch bases-loaded knocks

"He can hit everything. It's a chess match, like I said earlier. So I went to throw something that I don't typically throw in those counts. That makes it tough for 'Berto. He knows how I like to throw. So going through the progression, normally it's, 'This pitch in this count, not that one, then it's this one. OK, not that one, maybe this one. All right, what haven't I called yet?' That's all that was. Just trying to mix things up. Play the chess match a little bit and keep him off-balance." -- Bauer, on shaking off eight signs from catcher Perez before pitching to Votto

Video: CIN@CLE: Bauer shakes off sign 8 times prior to pitch

UP NEXT
Tyler Mahle (7-6, 3.66 ERA) will take the mound at Progressive Field on Wednesday to attempt to complete the sweep. The 23-year-old right-hander struck out a season-high 12 and gave up three runs (one earned) on six hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Brewers on June 30, then yielded just one run over 6 2/3 to the Cubs on Friday. The Tribe will counter with right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who got the win last Friday against the A's. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.

Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com.

Cincinnati Reds, Adam Duvall, Sal Romano, Joey Votto