Two years ago Rookie Davis was working toward making a start for the New York Yankees. On Monday he started against them in the 10-4 loss to the Bronx Bombers.
The 24-year old was the Yankees’ 14th round selection in the 2011 draft. Davis spent four years in the Yankee system but was traded to the Reds on December 28, 2015 for Aroldis Chapman.
He and young Yankee slugger Aaron Judge exchange texts regularly, having been brought through the New York system together. Judge was not in the lineup but the other Yankess treated Davis like a step-child, scoring three runs in the first inning and one in the second.
"Rookie was aggressive," Bryan Price said. "They were recognizing the slider out of his hand and didn't bite on them. It is a new pitch for him. He has some work to do on it. It was like Homer Bailey when I first got here. He would throw one just off the plate and they would take it. Sometimes it's just a new grip that makes it look like a fastball out of their hands then it breaks away from a right-hander and in on the back foot of a left-hander."
The Reds scored in the first inning for the fourth straight game.
Billy Hamilton singled against Yankee starter Masahiro Tanaka. Red hot Zack Cozart singled to right as Hamilton raced to third. Votto singled and the Reds had a run in and no outs. Adam Duvall flied to left. Eugenio Suarez hit into a double play.
The Yankees got to Davis again in the second inning.
Another former Reds’ prospect, Ronald Torreyes singled to open the inning. Tanaka bunted Torreyes to second. With two outs, Hicks singled him home.
Davis settled in, pitching two scoreless innings. He struck out the side in the fourth.
"I have to find my release point," Davis said. "The pitch count got up. I have to do a better job of executing my pitches.. The last two starts I pounded the zone pretty well but pitching fewer than six innings to me is unacceptable."
The Reds wasted a New York sized opportunity in the fourth., Holliday, playing first base absent the designated hitter, couldn’t handle Chase Headley’s throw on Duvall’s grounder. Suarez singled and Scott Schebler hit a smash that ate up Holliday at first to load the bases. The inning that could have turned momentum around ended abruptly. Peraza popped out to Torreyes at second on the first pitch. Tucker Barnhart hit a high hopper right at secondbase the Gregorius turned into an easy double play.
The Yankees got two straight one-out singles from Holliday and Ellsbury. Austin Brice relieved Davis and gave up a run scoring single to Sanchez.
Davis finished with 5 1/3 innings allowing five runs, four earned.on seven hits and three walks. He struck otu four.
The Reds scored an unearned run in the fifth. Arismendy Alcantara singled. Cozart forced Alcantara for the second out of the inning. Votto reached on Headley’s error and Duvall’s single plated Cozart.
The game went south when Drew Storen couldn’t hit his spots but plunked three Yankees. in the seventh. Storen hit Hicks, Sanchez and Headley and walked Holliday. Torreyes singled in another run but Hamilton threw Sanchez out at the plate.
It was the first time that a Reds' pitcher hit three batters in an inning since Raul Sanchez hit three Phillie batters in the eighth inning of the first game of a doubleheader.
Wandy Peralta hit Gardner in the ninth inning.
"It was a very unusual inning. There was no intent," Price said.
Joey Votto’s two-run home run got the runs back, temporarily.
Gardner hit a two-run home run off Barrett Astin and Holliday hit a solo shot in the ninth. Ellsbury walked for the third time and Sanchez reached base for the fifth time with his third single of the game. \\
"We didn't play very well," Price said. "They got momentum and laid some lumber on the young guy."