The news before the Cincinnati Reds played the Detroit Tigers Saturday was not good.
Newly acquired Matt Davidson tested positive for Covid-19. Catcher Tucker Barnhart was placed on the three-day maternity leave list.
Then they played the game and it got worse, much worse.
Reds starter Luis Castillo was superb — six innings, one run, six hits, one walk, 11 strikeouts. And he turned a 3-1 over to the bullpen.
The bullpen is the biggest concern for the Reds and it reared its ugly head that resulted in a 6-4 defeat.
Three Reds relievers, Robert Stephenson, Michael Lorenzen and closer Raisel Iglesias, gave up five runs.
Most notably was Iglesias, taking up where he left off last season when he lost 12 games, usually when he was asked to pitch in non-save situations.
Such was the case Saturday. It was 4-4 when he was asked to protect the tie in the ninth inning.
Just two hitters into the ninth it was 6-4 Tigers.
Iglesias gave up a leadoff single to Austin Romine.
That brought up No. 9 hitter Jacoby Jones and manager Ron Gardenhire asked him to bunt the runner into scoring position. Instead he fouled off two bunt attempts.
Then he launched a two-run home run that barely cleared the left center wall.
Stephenson replaced Castillo in the seventh with the Reds leading, 3-1.
Like Iglesias, the bottom of the Tigers’ toothless offense assaulted him. Stephenson’s second pitch of the 2020 season, a 1-and-0 pitch to Romine, landed in the seats for a home run.
The Reds still led, 3-2, but Jones singled to right field. After Stephenson recorded a strikeout, he was replaced by Michael Lorenzen. He retired Jonathan Schoop for the second out.
That brought up Miguel Cabrera, whom Iglesias had struck out three times. But Cabrera pulled a 3-and-2 fast ball down the left field line and into the seats, a two-run home run for a 4-3 Detroit lead.
The Reds tied it in the bottom of the seventh on No. 9 hitter Curt Casali’s opposite field home run to right field.
That set up the 4-4 tie that Iglesias could not preserve.
Iglesias fell behind in the first inning on Jonathan Schoop’s infield hit and C.J. Kron’s double.
The Reds tied it in the bottom of the first on Joey Votto’s second home run in the first two games. And they took a 3-1 lead in the second when Nick Senzel walked and Freddy Galvis clubbed a home run.
In the first two innings the Reds had three hits off starter Ivan Nova. Then they added only three more hits in the final seven innings.
After Casali’s home run in the seventh, Votto singled for his second hit of the night. But Eugenio Suarez flied to right.
Pinch-hitter Josh VanMeter made his season’s debut with a four-pitch, one-out walk in the ninth against Detroit closer Joe Jimenez.
Votto lined hard on one hop to the first baseman, moving Van Meter to second. Suarez, though, popped out and is 0 for 8 to start 2020.
Mike Moustakas and Nick Castellanos were both 1 for 4 and Shogo Akiyama was 0 for 3.
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