Two days removed from getting blown out by the White Sox, Cleveland followed a similar blueprint in Friday’s series opener against Cincinnati, getting buried early in a 10-3 loss to the Reds.
Logan Allen faced the minimum through the first two innings before failing to record an out in the third. It was truly a comedy of errors, sparked by an actual error from José Ramírez that allowed Kyle Farmer to reach base. Allen then plunked Tyler Stephenson on the foot, bringing Reds starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman to the plate. Hoffman turned an inside fastball into a 65.1 mph bloop single to center and allowed Farmer to score from second, tying the game.
It was all downhill from there. Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos delivered back-to-back RBI singles to give the Reds a 3-1 lead before Terry Francona sent Allen to the showers. Unfortunately, Phil Maton did not fare much better in relief. He hung a curveball to Eugenio Suárez on his second pitch of the game, giving up a two-run double. The exclamation point on the inning came courtesy of Joey Votto, who crushed a two-run homer to cap a seven-run burst.
The problem for Allen was a combination of bad luck and poor command. The first three batters of the third inning reached base on an error, a hit-by-pitch, and a bloop single. Not much you can do about that. But Allen’s breaking pitches, which were so effective the first two innings, also got away from him. An errant slider struck Stephenson, Winker was able to lay off the slider and get ahead in the count before taking an inside fastball up the middle, and Castellanos drilled a hanging slider.
Cal Quantrill, who was in competition with Allen for a rotation spot in the spring, did his best to emulate the game’s starter, walking the bases loaded in the fifth inning before giving up a two-run single to Stephenson and extending the Reds’ lead to 9-1. But he did manage to succeed where Allen failed, retiring Hoffman on a groundout and denying him another RBI.
Not wanting to feel left out, Trevor Stephan came on to pitch the sixth and surrendered a solo blast to Castellanos, his eighth career home run against Cleveland. Oliver Pérez bucked the trend and pitched a scoreless eighth inning, notching a pair of strikeouts.
Offensively, Cleveland had plenty of opportunities to score runs and make a game of it but squandered all of them. Josh Naylor left the bases loaded in the top of the third inning. Immediately after the Reds took a 7-1 lead, Jake Bauers and Ben Gamel — I repeat, JAKE BAUERS and BEN GAMEL — gave Cleveland runners on second and third with one out in the fourth. They came away with nothing thanks to Andrés Giménez’s weak fly ball to shallow left field and a César Hernández groundout to end the inning. The team got their leadoff hitter aboard in the fifth and sixth innings, but both innings also saw Cleveland ground into double plays.
Amed Rosario’s no-doubt solo shot in the second inning would have been the lone offensive highlight of the night if not for Jordan Luplow’s ninth-inning homer.