DeSclafani misses mark in finale with Cards

Peraza stays hot, sets franchise mark with 11 hits in series

July 15th, 2018

ST. LOUIS -- The healthy return of starting pitcher is one of the reasons the Reds were able to catch a spark and start turning things around. In fact, a DeSclafani win over the Cardinals on June 10 began the club's 21-9 stretch that was best in the National League.

However, DeSclafani didn't have anything close to his best stuff during Sunday afternoon's 6-4 loss to the Cardinals in the series finale at Busch Stadium. As he took his first loss since his season debut on June 5, the right-hander allowed a season-high six earned runs and five hits over 3 1/3 innings with two home runs.

"Today was obviously not the way I wanted to go into the All-Star break," said DeSclafani, who walked one and struck out three. "It would have been nice to win today. But I just wasn't good. I was terrible. I wasn't throwing quality strikes. The slider was kind of loopy. I was not getting ahead of guys. I've got to figure something out to be a little bit more consistent there."

The game started ominously when DeSclafani's first pitch of the afternoon was a fastball lifted into the right-field seats by Matt Carpenter for a leadoff home run.

"I thought he would swing at the first pitch and I tried to get ahead. I tried to be too fine. He hit it in the seats," DeSclafani said.

's two-out solo homer in the second inning put the Reds in a 2-0 hole, and gave DeSclafani 12 home runs surrendered in 44 innings this season.

"Anthony wasn't as sharp as normal. Some of that goes to the Cardinals offense," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said.

Cincinnati's lineup backed up DeSclafani as it batted around in the fourth inning against All-Star . Joey Votto started the rally with a leadoff double and it led to the bases being loaded with one out. After just missing a grand slam when the ball hooked foul, tied the game with a two-run single through the left side. DeSclafani bunted for a hit to load the bases again, and 's two-out comebacker to the mound wasn't fielded well by Mikolas. It went for a RBI single that gave the Reds a 3-2 lead.

DeSclafani did not seize the moment in the bottom of the fourth as the Cardinals mounted their own rally and batted around. The killer proved to be an 0-2 pitch that hit and loaded the bases with none out.

"That definitely gained some momentum right there. I've got to put him away," DeSclafani said. "You've got to let him put the ball in play and give myself a chance. You can't just give a free base right there, especially 0-2. The slider was kind of crappy today and right there, I yanked it, as I did with some other ones. I felt like I was either yanking them or hanging them. Nothing really too crisp today."

With one out, Tommy Pham hit a two-run single to center field. replaced DeSclafani for his first career relief appearance and got pinch-hitter to hit a RBI groundout to shortstop. Carpenter was intentionally walked and added another run with an RBI single to left field.

The outing raised DeSclafani's overall ERA nearly a point from 4.43 to 5.32 to go with his 4-2 record in eight starts. He missed the first two months of the season with a strained left oblique.

Reliever kept the Reds hitless for four innings and a pair of two-out singles against included Scooter Gennett's RBI single. But Cincinnati (43-53) concluded its nine-game road trip with a 5-4 record and finished the first half in fifth place in the National League Central.

Since Riggleman took over on April 19, the club is 40-38. He told his players to enjoy their four-day break.

"I really appreciate the way they've gone hard," he said. "They give great effort win or lose."

PERAZA'S MILESTONE MOMENT

Against Hicks with two out in the ninth, Peraza hit a single to right field. It was his third hit of the day, but it was also his 11th hit in the series. That's a Reds record for most hits by one player in a three-game series. Amazingly, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench or Votto don't have that record, but now Peraza does.

"I was feeling really good in this series," Peraza said through interpreter Julio Morillo.

Peraza, who had a career-high five hits in Saturday's series-clinching win, has raised his overall average to .293.

"He's really seeing the ball, putting the barrel to ball, running the bases, playing great defense," Riggleman said. "If anybody's not ready for the break, it's him. He'd like to keep playing. He's becoming a special player."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS

Duvall came within inches of a grand slam in the fourth inning. The ball hooked just foul by the pole in left field. Some video replays showed it was possible the ball grazed the pole, but Reds bench coach Pat Kelly called video coordinator Bo Thompson. The club came away confident it wasn't a grand slam and didn't ask for a review. Following the game, Riggleman took a closer look for himself.

"There was a pretty good gap," Riggleman said.

UP NEXT

When play resumes following the All-Star break, is set to start when the Reds open a three-game series against the Pirates at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday at Great American Ball Park. Mahle will be coming off the worst start of his short career in a 19-4 loss to the Indians on July 11. In only 2 1/3 innings, he allowed a career-high seven runs (five earned) on six hits. He had gone 4-0 with a 2.04 ERA in the previous seven starts. is scheduled to start the second half for Pittsburgh.