“They got hot at the good moment,” he said. “They played really good baseball and that’s all that mattered. You have to play baseball like they did it. To win 17 in a row is amazing. Good for them and congratulations to them because they did it in a really good moment.”
Manager David Bell, an optimist right until the moment the Cardinals won Tuesday night, addressed the moment head-on.
“When it becomes official, it’s tough because from day one of spring training we had one goal and that was first to get to the postseason and win a championship. And all along we believed it was going to happen. It is a tough night.
“We did struggle for a few weeks, there’s no question,” he said. “And it came at a time when it was really important. There were multiple reasons, but I’m not there yet. The season is not over for us. I haven’t taken the time to completely reflect on what we could have done better. But I will absolutely do that because we will be in this position again.”
Needing to win and needing the Cardinals to lose, the Reds were put in an early bind against the White Sox, winners of the American League Central Division.
With Luis Castillo on family emergency leave, the Reds called up a rookie pitcher to make his debut for the second straight night.
On Tuesday, Reiver Sanmartin made his debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates and was the beneficiary of 13 runs and was the winning pitcher in a 13-1 game.
On Wednesday, it was Riley O’Brien summoned from Class AAA Louisville to make his big-league debut.
He lasted only 1 1/3 innings. He gave up a home run to the second hitter he faced, Luis Robert. He gave up a second-inning home run to Yoan Moncado, then two walks, and he was done.
“It was a great experience, but obviously not the result I wanted,” he said after pitching briefly in front of 40 relatives and friends. “I was able to learn some things and all my teammates have been so supportive.
“The past two days I have been more nervous than I’ve been my entire life,” he said. “As soon as I walked on the field and started my warm-ups, it all went away. It was surprising but my mechanics weren’t too crisp.”
Luis Cessa gave up a home run to Davin Sheets in the fourth and Michael Lorenzen was touched for two runs and three hits in the sixth.
To put a tight ribbon on this one, Robert hit his second home run on the night in the eighth, a two-run shot of Amir Garrett that was last seen headed for the Chicago Loop.
The Reds only run came off the bat of Suarez, a fifth-inning home run, his 30th, and extended his hitting streak to eight games.
Suarez’s weird season continues. The home runs are there, but he spent most of the season hitting in the low .170s. By hitting .380 in September his average is up to .193.
“This has been tough for me personally, talking about average,” he said. “But I know what I can do. And I am so proud of myself for this last month.
“I always believe in myself and hitting 30 homers in one season is a lot for me,” he added. “That’s all that matters right now, doing my best every time. I did it this last month and I can keep doing it. I always say it is not how you start, it is how you finish.”
The entire Reds team can attest to that.
Reds at Pirates, 6:35 p.m., Bally Sports Ohio, 700, 1410