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Batter(y) up: Mahle, Wallach make MLB debuts

Pitcher, catcher break into bigs after working together in Triple-A
Special to MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- In a situation where pretty much any athlete would be nervous, Tyler Mahle was surprised to find himself nervous.

"In [the clubhouse] before the game, I was a little nervous," Mahle said. "It was a little weird."

CINCINNATI -- In a situation where pretty much any athlete would be nervous, Tyler Mahle was surprised to find himself nervous.

"In [the clubhouse] before the game, I was a little nervous," Mahle said. "It was a little weird."

Mahle made his Major League debut Sunday, a mixed bag of pitching results during a 5-2 Reds' loss to Pittsburgh at Great American Ball Park.

Video: PIT@CIN: Price on Tyler Mahle's debut and the loss

The 22-year-old right-hander allowed three earned runs on four hits over five innings. He left after 92 pitches and with the Reds trailing, 3-1.

"I liked how he came after their lineup," Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said. "I was pleased by what I saw. Anybody who thinks a kid can come up and throw a complete-game shutout … well that would be a rarity."

Reds catcher Chad Wallach, also making his Major League debut, was Mahle's batterymate Sunday.

"He was calm, not too jacked up," Wallach said. "The most emotion I've ever seen out of him is a glove pat after a big out."

Mahle retired six of the first seven batters. He worked out of trouble in the third inning when third baseman Scooter Gennett, known as "Ryan" for Players Weekend, triggered an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play with runners at the corners.

Video: PIT@CIN: Mahle's parents join the Reds' broadcast

Things did not end as well in the fourth.

Mahle walked Josh Bell ("JB") and hit Josh Harrison ("J-Hay") with a pitch. John Jaso ("Easy J") belted a red-hot grounder that skipped past the bag at first base, then smacked off the barrier in front of the stands and back into right field. By the time Scott Schebler ("Scheb") was able to chase it down, both runners had scored and Pittsbugh had taken a 2-1 lead.

When Mahle walked the next batter, Sean Rodriguez ("Chich"), on four pitches, he received a visit to the mound from pitching coach Mack Jenkins. Mahle retired the next two batters, stranding two.

"[Jenkins] just tried to calm me down," Mahle said, "Especially with my fastball, I was a little wild. I needed to slow everything down."

The Pirates added a run off Mahle in the fifth to make it 3-1. Starling Marte ("Tato") led off with a single to right, was sacrificed to second, and scored when Andrew McCutchen ("Cutch") steered a base hit into center field.

Reds fans were particularly excited about Mahle's callup because of the degree to which he had dominated Minor League hitters this summer. He compiled a 1.59 ERA in 14 starts at Double-A Pensacola (including a perfect game April 22) and a 2.73 ERA in 10 starts at Triple-A Louisville. He is rated the organization's No 4 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com.

Mahle is scheduled for another start against the Pirates, this time at Pittsburgh on Saturday. He hopes to make some adjustments between now and then.

"If you can pinpoint [the adjustments that need to be made], you can have a really successful career," Mahle said.

Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati.

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