Reds walk off on Rox to end extended skid
CINCINNATI -- The Reds' season-high nine-game losing streak ended when Skip Schumaker hit a pinch-hit double in the bottom of the ninth for a 2-1 walk-off victory over the Rockies on Tuesday at Great American Ball Park.
Rockies reliever Brooks Brown was on for his second inning of relief in the ninth, when Marlon Byrd drew a leadoff walk. Kristopher Negron's perfect sacrifice bunt moved Byrd to second base. On a 1-1 pitch, Schumaker then flared a hit over third baseman Nolan Arenado that landed inside the left-field line for the game winner that scored Byrd without a play at the plate. Teammates mobbed Schumaker at second base with excitement.
"We're trying to do everything we can to find a way to win that game, and hopefully that's a weight off everybody's shoulders and we can go back to just relaxing, playing baseball and having fun. That's how it's supposed to be," said Reds manager Bryan Price after his team snapped its longest losing streak since dropping 11 in a row in 1998.
Working a third straight game, Aroldis Chapman gave up a hit and a walk with one out but struck out the side for the win.
Called up from Triple-A Albuquerque earlier in the day to replace Jorge De La Rosa, who had an cut on his finger, lefty Chris Rusin delivered seven strong innings of work in his Rockies debut. Rusin had a 6.29 ERA in the Minors, but he gave up one run and four hits with four walks and five strikeouts vs. the Reds.
Also not getting a decision despite an outstanding effort was Reds rookie Michael Lorenzen, who was making his first start since May 10. Lorenzen threw seven innings, allowing one run and two hits while walking three and striking out three. At one point, he retired 15 of 16 batters, but the one blemish was costly as Nick Hundley hit a game-tying homer in the fifth inning.
"I don't think the rain had anything to do with it -- Lorenzen's got a good arm," said Rockies manager Walt Weiss, whose team's win streak ended at three games.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Schumaker's pinch-hit prowess: The game-winning double made Schumaker 7-for-19 (.368) this season as a pinch-hitter. He wasn't sure the ball he slashed the other way would get by Arenado, an excellent defensive third baseman.
"I know that when I hit it, I thought, great, of all places, then it landed and I just kept running just in case. It was exciting," Schumaker said.
"There haven't been a ton of at-bats," Price said of Schumaker being a role player. "He's found a way to not only contribute but help the guys on the bench to continue to learn how to be a quality bench player. It's nice when a guy can be rewarded with a walk-off win and a pileup and a big moment when those opportunities are few and far between as a pinch-hitter."
Ending the malaise: Lorenzen held the Rockies to one hit until two were out in the fifth, when Hundley delivered his second home run in his last four games to tie the game at 1. Hundley said Lorenzen made for an uncomfortable at-bat.
"He [Lorenzen] is sitting 94-96 [mph], sinking the ball arm side and four-seamer glove side, so fastballs to both sides of the plate and throwing three offspeed pitches for strikes," Hundley said. "When a guy's in the zone that consistently, you have to give him credit.
Hamilton with the RBI: Following a sacrifice by Lorenzen to move Byrd into scoring position in the bottom of the second, Billy Hamilton's two-out RBI single off Rusin was lined into right field and gave Cincinnati the 1-0 lead. Byrd slid in safely at the plate just ahead of Carlos Gonzalez's throw that traveled up the third-base line. The Reds notched only one more hit against Rusin the rest of the night.
"You're talking about CarGo out there, one of the strongest arms in baseball playing Billy [opposite field], before the pitch was thrown," Byrd said. "When it was hit, I knew it was hit hard enough to where he could get to it and put a good throw on it. If he puts it on the plate, I'm probably out. He put it up the line just enough."
Not this time: A day after scratching out the winning run against Reds lefty Aroldis Chapman, the Rockies had a chance when DJ LeMahieu singled and Gonzalez walked with one out in the ninth. But Chapman blew away Troy Tulowitzki on a 101-mph fastball and, after a wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third, climbed to 102 to fan Arenado, who at least grazed the ball.
"It's just that you've got to get a perfect pitch, and it's tough to lay off pitches because of the velocity," Tulowitzki said. "You've got to hope he makes a mistake or you're on top of your game."
Rockies: Righty Kyle Kendrick (1-6, 6.58 ERA) has pitched well over his last three starts with no victory to show for it. He'll start the series finale against Reds righty Mike Leake (2-3, 4.14) on Wednesday at 10:35 a.m. MT/12:35 p.m. ET.
Reds: Leake has lost his last two starts while struggling in both games. Over his last nine innings combined in those outings, he's allowed 14 earned runs, 18 hits, six walks and four home runs.
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