CINCINNATI — Maybe Great American Ball Park isn’t so small after all?
The Reds played an extra six innings Monday night but for the 10th straight game, including fourth in a row at home, they failed to score more than three runs. Three runs at least would have been enough offense to get them a win as they lost for the ninth time in 10 games, 2-1 in 15 innings to Arizona.
It was a night of offensive futility for both teams but the Diamondbacks got the deciding run in the top of the 15th on a two-out RBI single by shortstop Nick Ahmed off of reliever J.J. Hoover to score Martin Prado from second base. It was just the eighth hit of the game for the Diamondbacks but that was better than the six hits the Reds produced.
The teams struck out a combined 30 times. Reds batters struck out 18 times, with 10 of them coming from the first three hitters in the lineup: Billy Hamilton (three), Jay Bruce (three) and Todd Frazier (four). Hamilton struck out against Arizona closer Addison Reed to end the game with Ramon Santiago on first base as the potential tying run.
"We just didn’t score any runs," said manager Bryan Price. "I can’t be critical of the effort because it’s been outstanding but we’re not producing at all and we need to. We can’t waste this type of pitching. You can’t play in this ball park 15 innings and score a run. That can’t happen."
Starter Homer Bailey allowed one run on five hits in his eight innings. Relievers Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Broxton, Jumbo Diaz, Sam LeCure and Hoover pitched seven innings and gave up just one run on three hits but it wasn’t enough to overcome the lack of offense.
"The pitchers went out there and did a great job, gave us all of the opportunity in the world to win and we couldn’t get any runs," said catcher Devin Mesoraco, who provided the lone run with a solo home run leading off the second inning. "There’s not a whole lot to say at this point. Everyone is trying. Everybody is giving a good effort and working hard before the game and we’re just not doing our jobs out on the field. That’s all there is to it."
Mesoraco has been typical of the rest of the lineup the last 10 games. He had just four hits in 22 at-bats since returning from his first All-Star game appearance before sending a 419-foot home run into the upper deck in left field. It was his 17th homer of the season and ended the first streak of three straight homerless games in GABP’s history.
The Reds have scored 17 runs since the All-Star break; seven of them have come on solo home runs. At no point have they had a lead of more than one run in the 10 games. They had an opportunity in the second to add on to Mesoraco’s double. Brayan Pena had a one-out double but was easily thrown out at home plate when third base coach Steve Smith waved him around third on a bloop single to center field by Kristopher Negron.
Negron went to second base on the play but Zack Cozart flew out to right field to end the threat.
The Reds didn’t get another hit until Negron led off the eighth inning with a single to right. It was the first two-hit game of his career, but he was again stranded at second base.
Miguel Montero, Arizona’s All-Star catcher, tied the game in the fourth inning with a RBI single off the wall in the right field to score Mark Trumbo, who had doubled. Jay Bruce ran down Trumbo’s drive into the right-center field gap but the ball hit off his glove as he made a leaping attempt to catch it.
That’s the way things stood until the 15th. The Reds never got another runner past second base. The Diamondbacks were retired 14 times in a row at one point, but in a game that at some point someone was going to break through, they did.
The Reds have fallen one game under .500 (52-53) for the first time since they were 36-37 on June 21.
"I think this is a tough team and there’s a lot of heart on this club," said Bailey. "We just have to keep believing. Yesterday is gone. Last week is gone. Somewhere along the way we’re just going to have to turn it around and that’s going to come from the 25 guys who are suiting up every day. It’s not just the hitters. It’s not the defense. It’s not the pitching. Either we’re going to have to find a way or we’re going to be going home early. There’s no secret about that."