Reds rally to break up no-hitter, avoid shutout vs. Giants

August 30th, 2023

SAN FRANCISCO -- If not for , the Reds' week would have gone from bad to worse in a hurry.

From a disappointing weekend in the desert to an untimely injury to one of its best players, Cincinnati has stumbled through a key stretch of its schedule to cap a month in which the team has fallen flat. The frustration reached a near-boiling point when the Reds came an out away from being no-hit by right-hander Alex Cobb in a 6-1 loss to the Giants on Tuesday at Oracle Park.

Stepping in against Cobb with two outs in the ninth, Steer ripped a double to right-center field to drive in Nick Senzel, who had walked, breaking up the no-hit and shutout bids. The pressure was high in that moment, but Steer has performed reliably in those kinds of situations to this point in his rookie campaign.

"It's important to continue to play like that, and that's not going to change" manager David Bell said. "Spencer [has] been doing that all year. It doesn't matter what the situation is, he's the same guy. He's the same no matter what: very, very consistent, very steady with everything he does, and that's going to really help him as a player for a long time."

Breaking through was a relief for Steer and his teammates alike, but they had to tip their caps to Cobb and his 131-pitch gem.

"He pitched unbelievable tonight," Steer said. "His fastball, his splitter, everything was moving a ton, and he was living on the corners all night. … I feel like we’ve got a pretty good lineup, and to do that against us is pretty tough.”

Tuesday night's game loomed large for the Reds' playoff aspirations, which took another hit as they lost the season series to the Giants and thus the head-to-head tiebreaker in the National League Wild Card race. San Francisco moved into the third spot, and Cincinnati now sits two games out.

The Reds are more than halfway through a make-or-break stretch in their schedule that includes three consecutive series against fellow Wild Card contenders. With the series losses to the D-backs and the Giants, the upcoming four-game set against the Cubs at Great American Ball Park will take on even more significance.

Cobb's one-hitter was almost the ultimate insult to injury to the scuffling Reds, but even more frustrating for the team was how the no-hit bid materialized.

Senzel was the only Red to reach base against Cobb in the first eight innings, legging out an infield grounder that took Giants third baseman Casey Schmitt into foul territory, where he made a long throw over to first base that was off the mark. It was initially ruled a hit with two outs in the third inning.

Then, when the fourth inning rolled around, the official ruling changed to a throwing error on Schmitt. All of a sudden, the Reds were hitless, and Cobb had a no-hit bid in the works.

"It's a tough play for him, long throw," Senzel said. "He's got to hurry because I can run. He kind of throws it high. It's a bang-bang play either way, but it was a little frustrating because I saw a hit for an inning, almost. And for them to change it, it's kind of a weird scenario where the crowd's getting amped up over a potential no-hitter when I saw in the third inning we had a hit."

Though Steer and the Reds rallied, the loss was nonetheless another deflating game in a tough August in which Cincinnati has gone 9-17, the second-worst record in the National League. With one game remaining on their three-city, 10-game road trip out west, the Reds are determined to finish strong and lock back in for the stretch run.

"I mean, you lose the first two of a series, you've really got to dig in [and] go for the third," said starter Brandon Williamson, who allowed five runs (three earned) in six innings. "Especially against the team that we're trying to play for a Wild Card spot against. I think we'll all go home and give 'em our best tomorrow."