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Reds rally in the seventh to snap skid

Votto, Suarez fuel three-run rally; 'It was a game we really needed to win'
@m_sheldon
June 9, 2019

PHILADELPHIA -- Joey Votto knew that his team really needed a win on Sunday over the Phillies. That’s what made his defensive gaffe on a pop-up in the third inning all the more infuriating to the Reds first baseman. But it also made his game-tying two-run single in the seventh

PHILADELPHIA -- Joey Votto knew that his team really needed a win on Sunday over the Phillies. That’s what made his defensive gaffe on a pop-up in the third inning all the more infuriating to the Reds first baseman.

But it also made his game-tying two-run single in the seventh feel all the more redeeming after a 4-3 victory at Citizens Bank Park stopped a three-game losing streak.

Box score

Deprived of wins for much of the past week and having lost six of the previous seven games, the Reds could ill-afford to drift any further out of orbit. The last-place team in the National League Central came into the day a season-most seven games below .500 while the divisional leaders -- the Cubs and Brewers -- seemed to be pulling away.

“You’ve got to stop the bleeding at some point,” Votto said. “Today was the true definition of a team win. I think that was really important for us to remind ourselves today that we’re a legitimate team and we can be competitive, and we’re going to stay in this.”

Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola had a stretch in which he retired 15 of 17 batters and had a 3-1 lead before the Reds sparked a two-out rally with some good breaks. Curt Casali slashed a ball to third base, where Maikel Franco made a diving stop, but threw wildly from his knees and missed the bag.

“I’m just trying to get something going,” Casali said. “I know I’m not exactly the best dude to get something going, just in terms of speed and everything, but we just needed baserunners at that point.”

Pinch-hitter Josh VanMeter drew a four-pitch walk to end Nola’s day, and against reliever Jose Alvarez, pinch-hitter Nick Senzel singled on a slow grounder to the shortstop to load the bases.

On Alvarez’s next pitch, Votto lifted his two-run single into center field to tie the game before Eugenio Suárez’s RBI single to left field off Vince Velasquez plated the go-ahead run.

Wood feels good after first bullpen session

“It was one good at-bat after the next to extend the inning,” Reds manager David Bell said. “It was a big hit by Joey. It was obviously a big hit by [Suarez], too, to come through right there when it hasn’t been easy for him in this series. It’s just another example of guys staying with it.”

“It was an opportunity to hopefully make up for that early-game mistake,” Votto said of his game-saving hit.

In the bottom of the third inning, Reds starter Sonny Gray had the bases loaded with two outs and a 1-0 lead. Cleanup hitter Rhys Hoskins was a grand slam threat, but Gray got what initially appeared to be a routine popup to first base. But Votto, who was not wearing sunglasses, lost the ball in the sun,and it dropped safely on the dirt for a two-run single that put Philadelphia ahead.

“For us to be a winning team, the details matter,” Votto said. “I’m out there missing pop-ups in the middle of the infield, and it’s scoring two runs. We’re playing these close games, and those sorts of mistakes can’t happen. Without making excuses, I should have my glasses out there and I’m giving myself a really good chance at catching the ball, and I didn’t.”

Gray was able to keep the game tight, allowing only a sacrifice fly in the fifth to Jean Segura, which came just before he and Casali acted quickly as Bryce Harper attempted to steal home. Gray was able to rush a slider to Casali, who tagged Harper for the third out.

“It was a game we really needed to win,” said Gray, who pitched 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision. “You could tell kind of the way the game was unfolding, it wasn’t really easy for us.”

The Reds’ bullpen delivered the remaining 3 2/3 scoreless innings to enable the comeback, with Raisel Iglesias getting the final four outs for his 13th save.

“I felt like guys really dug deep today. After the two losses here, this game takes everything you have,” Bell said. “Just a lot of good things happened today to be able to win that game.”

For Cincinnati (29-35), the schedule ahead isn’t relenting, with some difficult opponents to take on after Monday’s off-day. The next three series are eight Interleague games vs. the Indians (second in the American League Central), followed by a second-place Rangers team and the first-place Astros, both in the AL West. Then the Reds play four against the Brewers at Miller Park.

“We don’t feel like we’re out of any game in particular,” Casali said. “Today, it feels really good to come out of here with a win and get some momentum back on our side going into an off-day.”

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook.