CINCINNATI — Opening Day was Opening Day again on the banks of the Ohio River after two straight seasons in which it was a shadow of its former self thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reminded there would be a full Great American Ball Park again Tuesday after there were no fans in 2020 and few fans in 2021, Cincinnati Reds first baseball Joey Votto said before the game, “It’s back to how it should be. It’s good.”
The home opener — but not the season opener — was a memorable one, too. The Reds battled back from a 4-0 deficit to tie the game 4-4 in the sixth but then gave up six runs in the ninth. They lost 10-5 to the Cleveland Guardians, falling to 2-3 after splitting four games on the road against the Atlanta Braves to open the season.
Two new Reds relievers gave up two home runs in the ninth. Andrés Giménez hit a two-run home run against Hunter Strickland with one out, and four batters later, José Ramírez hit a grand slam against Daniel Duarte.
Strickland, pitching for his eighth big-league team in nine seasons, signed with the Reds as a free agent in March. Duarte was making his second appearance. He made his big-league debut with a scoreless inning Friday against the Braves.
Indians ace Shane Bieber did not allow a hit in the first five innings but hit Kyle Farmer with one out in the sixth and then gave up a double to Jake Fraley. Jonathan India followed with a two-run double and pumped his fist in excitement at second base as the Reds cut the Cleveland lead in half.
The next batter, Tyler Naquin hit a two-run home run to tie the game.
Making his second start of the season, Tyler Mahle started for the Reds and gave up four runs on four hits in four innings.
Ramirez had the big early hit for the Guardians. His triple to center field scored two runs in the third to give the Guardians a 3-0 lead. Left fielder Tommy Pham and center fielder Nick Senzel collided while trying to make the catch on the play, but both players stayed in the game after being attended to by trainers.