Gray: Victory against Cubs ‘a step in the right direction’

Reds starter lowers his ERA from 4.03 to 3.94

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Sonny Gray's great week ended with his fourth victory of the season. He pitched the Cincinnati Reds to a 6-3 victory against the Chicago Cubs on Friday at Great American Ball Park, striking out six and allowing four hits and two earned runs in 6 1/3 innings.

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Gray took just as much delight in a game he wasn't even able to watch two days earlier because the Reds were playing at the same time. On Wednesday, Gray's college team, the Vanderbilt Commodores, beat Michigan 8-2 to clinch their second College World Series championship in four seasons. Gray surprised his former coach Tim Corbin by calling into a Nashville radio station to congratulate him.

“I told him being a former player, it’s just as fun to watch as when I was there,” Gray said. “It’s a great program.”

Gray pitched Vanderbilt to its first College World Series appearance in 2011. He would like to help the Reds reach the postseason for the first time since 2013. Success against the Cubs in this three-game series and against the Milwaukee Brewers in a four-game series next week would improve the Reds chances.

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The victory moved the Reds (37-42) within 5½ games of the first-place Cubs. The Reds also snapped a four-game losing streak.

“We know what we’re capable of,” Gray said. “We know there’s going to be some ups and downs, some peaks and valleys in the duration of the season. We just need there to be more peaks than valleys. We need to play well in the rest of this homestand before the break, and tonight was a step in the right direction.”

The second-biggest Great American Ball Park crowd of the season (36,919), boosted by thousands of Cubs fans, saw the Reds jump out to a 6-0 lead in the first four innings. Phillip Ervin homered and doubled. Joey Votto recorded a season-high four hits. Jose Iglesias drove in two runs.

The offense did its part after back-to-back 5-1 losses on the road to the Los Angeles Angels.

“It’s very important against a really good team to jump out,” Reds manager David Bell said, “and it gave Sonny a little room to work with. A good night offensively. A lot of guys had big nights.”

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