Spencer Steer’s two-out, two-run homer off the facade of the upper deck in left field in the 11th inning gave the Reds a stunning 7-5 win over the Padres for their third straight win and their 15th in 18 games
The game capped a remarkable clutch performance by three rookies who have been the focal point of Cincinnati’s stunning resurgence this season.
Rookie shortstop Matt McLain’s homer with a runner aboard and two outs in the 10th tied the game, 4-4. In the 11th, Elly De La Cruz lined a double to the right-center gap to tie the game, 5-5, setting up Steer’s game-winner.
“Yeah, I mean, the belief in the dugout in the clubhouse is that it can be anybody, and you saw three guys come off the bench and have really good at-bats,” Steer said. “It could truly be anyone. It’s just a testament to how deep our roster is and just the character of everyone and just how hard we work.
“It’s just a blessing to be a part of this team. It’s truly special. The camaraderie and bond we’ve made over half a season. I’m just so excited to see what happens in the second half.”
The Reds began their second half with Friday night’s win after posting a 15-game improvement from the halfway point of 2022
Joey Votto went 0-for-3 Friday in his 2,000th career game, all with the Reds. Only four other Reds have reached that milestone, led by Pete Rose (2,722) and also including Dave Concepcion (2.488), Barry Larkin (2,180) and Johnny Bench (2,158)
The Padres, who began the season with World Series expectations and one of the highest payrolls in the majors, enter Saturday’s game with a season-long six-game losing streak and have fallen a season-low eight games below the .500 mark
Manager Bob Melvin acknowledges the Padres are enduring a stretch of baseball that no one in the organization saw coming
“I don’t think anybody could,” Melvin said. “We’ve been asked that a lot. Look, we have to put these (games) away and be mentally tough. We’ve got to, at some point in time, start over and understand this isn’t what we wanted, and there’s nothing we can do about it now but have a big second half.”
Despite their troubles, the Padres on Friday extended another impressive mark with their 38th quality outing from a starting pitcher. Seth Lugo, who was filling in for Yu Darvish, allowing one unearned run and five hits over six innings. The 38 quality starts lead the National League
The Reds send left-hander Brandon Williamson (1-1, 5.82 ERA) to the mound in the second game of the three-game set. The rookie is coming off a frustrating start in Monday’s 10-3 loss in Baltimore. Williamson did not return after a nearly two-hour rain delay, allowing three runs and two hits over two-plus innings. He walked four. He has never faced the Padres
San Diego counters with veteran right-hander Michael Wacha (7-2, 2.90). The staff ace, who missed his last start with shoulder fatigue, makes his 15th start of the season.
He has nine quality starts this season, including his last outing on June 19 when he allowed two runs and four hits over six innings in a 7-4 loss at San Francisco.
Nelson Cruz, who grounded out in the 11th inning in a pinch-hitting appearance Friday night, turns 43 on Saturday and is the second-oldest active player in the majors behind Pittsburgh’s Rich Hill.
–Field Level Media
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