McCoy: Reds fall to Padres, lose eighth straight series

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The key to the long, long 162-game MLB season is not winning every game. That’s an impossibility, unless it’s the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings (57-0).

The key is to win as many series as possible and to that end the 2024 Cincinnati Reds have misplaced the key.

With a 6-4, 10-inning loss Thursday afternoon to the San Diego Padres, the Reds have lost eight straight series.

In order, they’ve dropped series to Texas, San Diego, Baltimore, Arizona, San Francisco, Arizona, Los Angeles and San Diego.

And the last time they didn’t lose a series, they didn’t win it. They split four games with the Philadelphia Phillies in late April.

During the Phillies series, they won back-to-back games on April 23-24 and haven’t won back-to-back games since.

They’ve lost 17 of 21 and nine of their last 10 in Great American Ball Park.

While losing eight straight series, the Reds are 6-20 and it gets uglier by the day.

On Thursday, Cincinnati starter Frankie Montas spotted the Padres a 4-2 lead after two innings.

Then Montas, Fernando Cruz (three batters, three strikeouts), Lucas Sims and Alexis Diaz kept the Padres off the scoreboard for seven consecutive innings.

San Diego starter, knuckleball specialist Matt Waldron, turned a 4-2 lead over to Enyel De Los Santos in the sixth inning.

The previous five hits off De Los Santos were home runs. He didn’t give up a home run to Spencer Steer. He walked him.

Then came the home run, Nick Martini, back with the Reds recently after a short exile to Class AAA Louisvile. That made it six hits, six homers, off De Los Santos.

That tied the game and gave the Reds misplaced hope.

After Martini’s no-out home run, the final 17 Reds produced one hit, two walks and nine strikeouts.

It stayed 4-4 until Sam Moll took the mound for the Reds in the 10th with free runner Luis Campusano on second.

Luis Arraez produced 10 hits in the three-game series and his fourth hit Thursday was a bunt single that put runners on third and first with no outs.

Fernando Tatis Jr. doubled home a run and Jake Cronenworth’s sacrifice fly made it 6-4. A double play prevented more damage.

The Reds, though, could produce no damage in the bottom of the 10th with free runner Stuart Fairchild on second.

Padres closer Robert Suarez struck out Elly De La Cruz, Elly’s fourth whiff of the afternoon. Jeimer Candelario walked and represented the potential tying run with one out.

But Mike Ford popped to left and Steer popped to short and that was that … again.

Montas gave up two runs in the first and two in the second. Arraez singled to open the game and was forced at second. Jurickson Profar singled and Manny Machado doubled for two runs and a 2-0 lead.

The Reds scored one in the bottom of the first on Candelario’s triple after Jacob Hurtubise was hit by a pitch.

The Padres scored two more in the second on a couple of singles, a wild pitch, a run-scoring fielder’s choice and a run-scoring single by Arraez.

The Reds once again answered with one run in the bottom of the second on Martini’s leadoff single, a walk and Luke Maile’s run-producing single.

And that’s where it stood until Martini’s game-tying home run in the sixth.

Montas pitched six innings and gave up the four runs in the first two innings, nine hits and a walk, but held steady after the second.

Along the way the Reds had their usual base-running faux pas … a couple of them.

Candelario was thrown out at home trying to steal it on the back end of a double steal in the first, the last out of the inning.

De La Cruz doubled with one out in the fifth and stole third, his 31st theft. Then he tried to score on Candelario’s grounder to third and Manny Machado threw him out.

The defeat was Cincinnati’s 30th in 50 games and they joined 30-game losers Miami, Colorado, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels and Oakland.

The degree of difficulty gets much steeper this weekend. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who took three of four from the Reds in Chavez Ravine last weekend, visit Great American Ball Park for a three-game series that begins Friday night.

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