Reds lose as bullpen blows lead
The Associated Press
PHOENIX — The Cincinnati Reds blew a five-run lead and almost won anyway.
Then came one misplaced fastball by Nick Masset that Chris Young transformed into a three-run Arizona home run and the Diamondbacks took two of three from the Reds with a 10-8 victory on Sunday.
It was a game the Reds dominated most of the way.
“What did we have, two bad innings?” manager Dusty Baker said.
Very bad, actually. The Diamondbacks scored five off Mike Leake in the fifth inning, three on Ryan Roberts’ home run that put Arizona up 6-5, and four in the eighth, after Jonny Gomes’ two-run homer had put the Reds ahead 7-6 in the seventh.
The Reds led 5-1 entering the fifth and Baker was trying to get Leake through the inning so the right-hander, not so long ago a star at nearby Arizona State University, could get the victory.
“You get those opportunities to ice the game you have to put your foot on their throat,” Baker said. “We had opportunities to ice that game and we didn’t. They got right back in the game.”
Cincinnati came to the desert after a 5-1 start to the season at home and leave for San Diego with a 6-3 record.
Stephen Drew’s fourth hit of the game, an RBI single, tied it at seven in the eighth, then Young drove a 3-2 pitch from Nick Masset (0-2) into the seats in left-center to put Arizona ahead for only the second time all day.
“The play of the game was the pitch before,” Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said, “when he fouled the little, light cutter off, got a piece of it, then he got something he could handle the next pitch and pounded it.”
The Reds led 5-0 after 2 1/2 innings before Arizona scored five in the fifth off Leake, the last three on Ryan Roberts’ homer, to go up 6-5.
“What hurt us was a pair of two out, three-run homers,” Baker said. “It was a matter of location. One ball was suppose to be in, the other away and they were down the heart of the plate and they didn’t miss them.”
Heilman (1-0) allowed two runs on two hits in three innings to get the win.
J.J. Putz got through a shaky ninth inning to earn his third save in three opportunities.
Joey Votto tied a career best with four hits, the last a single to put runners on first and third with no outs in the ninth. Scott Rolen hit a shot to right-center but Young ran it down to limit it to a sacrifice fly. Gomes singled, but Putz came back from a 3-1 count to strike out pinch-hitter Juan Francisco, then fanned Jay Bruce to finally end it.
The Reds took advantage of Arizona starter Joe Saunders’ control woes to lead 5-1 going into the bottom of the fifth.
The Diamondbacks opened the inning with four consecutive singles. With two outs, Roberts — the last player to make Arizona’s 25-man opening-day roster — hit Leake’s 1-0 pitch into the seats in left-center to put the Diamondbacks ahead 6-5.
“I got a couple of unlucky rolls with infield hits then a big mistake throwing a fastball down the middle,” Leake said. “He made me pay.”
Heilman retired the side in the sixth, but in the seventh Rolen singled with one out and Gomes lined one into the left-field stands to put the Reds ahead 7-6.
Leake, in his first appearance against the Diamondbacks, allowed six runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings, striking out four and walking two.
Saunders lasted just three innings, giving up five runs, four earned, while walking five and striking out one.
Saunders walked three in the first inning, including one with the bases loaded, as Cincinnati jumped out to a 3-0 lead. With two outs in the second, Saunders walked Drew Stubbs, then Brandon Phillips doubled to put runners on second and third. Votto singled to right to bring home Stubbs, but Justin Upton threw out Phillips trying to score from second. Henry Blanco made the tag after Phillips slid past the plate.
“For those guys to pick me up was special,” Saunders said of his teammates. “I’m just proud to be a part of this club.”
NOTES: Drew reached base five times, the fifth on a walk. … The Diamondbacks rested C Miguel Montero, whose .500 average (13 for 26) leads the NL, to give Blanco his first playing time of the season. … Cincinnati’s Dusty Baker needs one win to become the 11th manager in major league history to win 250 games with three teams (San Francisco, the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati). … Arizona, on a nine-game homestand, plays the next three against St. Louis, starting Monday night.