Former Reds shortstop Didi Gregorius was one of four Yankees with two RBI. Gregorius, who was part of the December 2012 three-team trade that brought Shin Soo Choo to Cincinnati, was coming off an 0-for-8 game in New York’s 5-4 two-day win over the Cubs.
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Both teams went into the matchup of division leaders – New York in the American League East, the Reds in the NL Central – riding five-game winning streaks, and the Reds were 6-1 on the homestand. Cincinnati starting pitchers had teamed up to log five consecutive wins for the first time since July 2012, and the entire pitching staff had combined for a 1.60 earned-run average during the win streak.
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The luster of division leaders meeting was dulled somewhat by sloppy play that included a combined three errors, a catchable popup that fell in foul territory, one egregious baserunning blunder and Drew Storen hitting three batters in New York’s two-run seventh inning.
“That doesn’t happen very often,” Price said. “Obviously, there was no intent. That was a very unusual inning, for sure.”
The last Reds pitcher to hit three batters in one inning was Raul Sanchez on May 15, 1960, in the eighth inning of the first game of a doubleheader against Philadelphia.
Five of the first six Yankee batters reached base, including Gary Sanchez with a bases-loaded two-run single and Gregorius with an RBI single. One of the runs was unearned as Davis was charged with an error for failing to step on first base while covering on a grounder to second baseman Jose Peraza.
“I’ve got to be aware of where I am on that play,” Davis said.
The Reds opened the bottom of the first with singles by Billy Hamilton, Zack Cozart and Joey Votto to cut New York’s lead to 3-1, but the Yankees got that run back in the second on Ronald Torreyes’ leadoff single, Tanaka’s sacrifice bunt and Aaron Hicks’ two-out single.
New York loaded the bases with one out in the fifth on three straight singles, two off of Davis and one off of Austin Brice. Gregorius cashed in with a sacrifice fly.
Davis (1-2) threw 91 pitches, 55 for strikes, in 4 1/3 innings. The Yankees reached him for seven hits and five runs – four earned – and three walks while striking out four times. Davis struggled with the slider that he just recently added to his repertoire
“I’ll continue to work on it,” he said. “It’s a work in progress. I’ve only been throwing it for two months. It’s a matter of finding the right release point. Location-wise, it has to be better.”
“He was aggressive with his fastball, but they were recognizing his slider out of his hand and laying off it,” Price said. “He’d get ahead and throw one down and away just off the plate and they were laying off it. We’ve got to find a way to make that pitch more enticing.”
Arismendy Alcantara led off the fifth as a pinch-hitter for Brice with a single to right, extending to seven his streak of consecutive plate appearances with a hit. That’s the longest by a Reds player since Steve Selsky had hits in seven consecutive plate appearances last September. No Reds player has a longer streak since Bip Roberts had hits in 10 straight plate appearances in September 1992.