Travis Wood flirted with no-hit history for the Cincinnati Reds – then suddenly could not get a much-needed out.
Article continues below ...
Wood held Cleveland hitless into the sixth inning, then got only one more out as the Indians mounted a four-run rally to tie the score at 4, then beat the Reds 5-4 on a pinch-hit bunt RBI single in the eighth by raw rookie Ezequiel Carrera on Friday night.
”This was a tough one to lose, especially with the way Wood was working,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. ”It was a perfect bunt, well executed.”
Carrera bunted home Shin-Soo Choo from third base with two outs to give the Indians the win in the Ohio Showdown’s series opener.
Called up from Triple-A Columbus earlier in the day when Travis Hafner went on the disabled list, Carrera dropped the first pitch from Nick Masset down the first-base line, scoring Choo, who had tripled off Bill Bray (1-1). The speedy Carrera was able to avoid a tag by first baseman Joey Votto for an unforgettable hit in his first at-bat in the majors.
”It’s awesome,” said closer Chris Perez. ”That was special. He’ll never forget it, and I’ll never forget his first big-league hit. To be able to put that bunt in and miss the tag, wow.”
Vinnie Pestano (1-0) got two outs in the eighth for his first career win. Perez worked the ninth for his 11th save in 12 tries.
After Choo’s two-out triple off the wall in left-center, Baker ordered Bray to intentionally walk Cleveland cleanup hitter Carlos Santana. When right-hander Masset came on, Indians manager Manny Acta sent up Carrera to hit for Shelley Duncan.
”Santana, even when he’s not hitting, is one of their most dangerous hitters,” Baker said. ”I thought they might hit (lefty Travis) Buck, but even with a kid up from Triple-A, I still felt comfortable.
”I figured he might try to bunt. He did and it was perfect.”
Wood was nearly perfect for 5 1-3 innings, yielding only a leadoff walk to Santana in the second. Santana was erased when former Reds infielder Orlando Cabrera bounced into an inning-ending double play.
Former Reds outfielder Austin Kearns broke up the no-hitter with a line single and things quickly unraveled for Wood even though Baker went out to talk to the 24-year-old right-hander.
”I’ve seen guys lose no-hitters and then lose the game, that’s why I went out there,” Baker said. ”He got two strikes on a couple hitters, then left breaking balls up and they were hit. We got two strikes on Choo before he hit it off the wall, too.”
Jack Hannahan and Michael Brantley followed with singles to make it 4-1. Wood walked Asdrubal Cabrera to load the bases and then hit Choo with a pitch to force in Cleveland’s second run. Logan Ondrusek came on and walked Carlos Santana on a 3-2 pitch, making it 4-3.
Shelley Duncan followed with a sacrifice fly to tie it, capping another improbable rally by the Indians, who have been doing it all season.
”To not get out of that inning was unbelieveable,” Wood said. ”That can’t happen. I had to find a way out of it and bear down.
”I’m not sure what happened. I was throwing strikes, then the next thing you know the bases were loaded. Then I walked a guy, hit a guy and it was a downward spiral.”
That has happened to a lot of opponents at Progressive Field of late. The Indians’ last six wins at home have come in their final at-bat. Cleveland overcame three errors to improve baseball’s best record to 27-15, including 16-4 at home.
Jay Bruce had two hits for the Reds, who lost their third straight.
Cleveland starter Alex White lasted only three innings before leaving with a sore right middle finger.
White walked the bases loaded in the third, after appearing to injure himself on a breaking pitch. As he completed his follow through, White reacted as if he had been stung by a bee, jumping and shaking his hand.
Acta and trainer Lonnie Soloff came out to check on the rookie, who stayed in after throwing a couple of warmups.
However, he seemed bothered by the finger and walked Paul Janish, Drew Stubbs – after an 11-pitch at-bat – and Jonny Gomes in order. White nearly got out of the jam, getting Votto to bounce to first baseman Matt LaPorta for a potential double play. But LaPorta’s throw to second was wild and went into left field, allowing Janish and Stubbs to score and make it 2-0.
The Reds went up 4-0 in the sixth, helped by Orlando Cabrera’s error at second base.
Notes: Cincinnati hasn’t had a no-hitter since Tom Browning’s perfect game in 1988. … Reds 2B Brandon Phillips is hitting .395 (17 of 43) with nine RBIs during an 11-game hitting streak. … The Indians announced that Saturday’s game is sold out, the club’s first sellout other than for opening day since May 24, 2008. … The Reds began a season-long, 10-game road trip that includes stops in Philadelphia and Atlanta. … Hafner joined Grady Sizemore (bruised knee) on the DL. He is expected to miss at least three weeks with a strained muscle on his side.