Two Reds rookies lead the way in walk-off win

October 5th, 2022

CINCINNATI -- One is a highly touted prospect, and the other took a longer road to reach the Major Leagues. But both and are Reds rookies who have been trying to navigate through tough times at the plate.

That made Tuesday's 3-2 walk-off win over the Cubs at Great American Ball Park a little sweeter for the team. Cincinnati was trailing, 2-0, in the seventh inning when Robinson hit the game-tying two-run home run. In the bottom of the ninth, Steer's RBI double to center field scored  to end the game.

"What these young players are experiencing right now at the end of the season … a lot of times when you have a successful season [as a batter], you can point back to the last week of a season or last few games," Reds manager David Bell said. "It can be one at-bat, one game where something clicks. They're at that point in their career where even one game can give you confidence, you can get a feel, you can experience what it takes to win a game and contribute to that."

On the heels of losing six straight games, Cincinnati has won back-to-back contests to move to 62-99 with one game remaining as it tries to stave off the second 100-loss season in franchise history.

It had the makings of a hard-luck game for much of the night. Starting pitcher allowed only one hit -- on Willson Contreras' solo homer in the fourth inning -- and left the game with a bruised left knee in the sixth. Against reliever Fernando Cruz in the seventh, Nico Hoerner's leadoff homer gave Chicago a 2-0 advantage.

In the bottom of the seventh against Keegan Thompson, drew a walk. Robinson hit a first-pitch curveball from Thompson to the opposite field for a homer that landed in the first row of right-field seats.

“That was an awesome moment for the team and for Chuckie. He’s been grinding, putting really good swings on the ball and kind of getting some bad luck here," Steer said. "That was a really sweet swing and a really good momentum boost for our dugout. Definitely some good morale after leaving the bases loaded an inning earlier.”

It was Robinson's second big league homer. He is batting only .136 since making his Major League debut on Aug. 24 but had been making harder contact of late, including his sixth-inning single to left field.

"That’s part of the game. You just keep your head down, keep working and then try to do anything to help the team," Robinson said. "I’m getting to know the guys, feel a part of the team. It just feels good to be able to help the guys win and help the team win, so it’s been a great experience thus far."

The Cubs put two runners on with two outs in the top of the eighth inning. Bell summoned closer Alexis Díaz, who finished the inning and completed a scoreless top of the ninth for the victory.

Fairchild drew a leadoff four-pitch walk in the bottom of the ninth against Cubs reliever Brandon Hughes. Steer hit a first-pitch fastball to the center-field wall, over the head of Christopher Morel, scoring Fairchild from first base.

"Just trying to stay on the heater and trust I got a good enough swing to put the bat on the ball," Steer said. "Last at-bat, I got kind of blown away by fastballs, so I was trying to get going a little earlier and make sure I didn’t miss the fastball I was looking to get.

“Once I saw it got over [Morel's] head, I saw that Stu had a really good jump and a really good read on the ball. He’s a really good runner. That was pretty sweet.”

After the run crossed, teammates mobbed Steer behind second base and ripped off his jersey during the celebration -- leaving him completely topless. 

“They were tugging at my jersey pretty hard," he said. "I guess the undershirt kind of came with it. You just kind of roll with it. They stole it away from me so I had to cruise into the dugout shirtless.”

Steer is batting .207 since his Sept. 2 big league debut, a game vs. Colorado in which he reached base safely four times and slugged a homer for his first hit. 

“It’s just big for confidence," Steer said. "It’s a tough game, it’s a game of failure so it’s an internal battle more than anything and trying to keep your spirits up. It’s a tough game and I realize that. You expect a lot out of yourself. It’s been a grind. I think going through failures like this can help you in the long run."