J. T. Realmuto hit two home runs and drove in four runs to provide the offense in the Miami Marlins 5-4 win over the Reds.
Robert Stephenson the Reds starting pitcher and Chris O’Grady the Miami Marlins starter shared the same clubhouse last spring at the Reds’ Gooodyear Facility.
Stephenson, the Reds’ number one pick in the 2011 draft was trying to win a spot in the starting rotation. O’Grady was a Rule V pick by the Reds off the Los Angeles Angels.
On Saturday the pitcher’s path converged at Great American Ball Park. Stephenson was recalled from Triple A. O’Grady was released by the Angels on April 6 The Marlins signed him on April 24.
Two of the NL’s top base stealers competed head to head. Dee Gordon singled off Stephenson, leading off the game. He stole second and third while Giancarlo Stanton batted/ It was his 33rd and 34th steals of the year. Stanton’s ground out initiated the scoring.
The Reds bounced back or should I say walked back. Hamilton hit an infield single. Zack Cozart walked. Hamilton stole thirdbase, his 41st. Joey Votto and Adam Duvall walked for the tying run. The Reds have been disappointed lately in bases loaded situations and this was no exception. Eugenio Suarez bounced to third on a 3-2 pitch. The Reds took a 2-1 lead but the chance for a big inning evaporated.
"We had opportunities," Bryan Price said. "We had an opportunity against O'Grady early and Tazawa late we just weren't able to cash in."
Realmuto went to work in the second. Justin Bour singled and Realmuto deposited his ninth home run into the leftfield upper deck on a 3-2 pitch.
Patrick Kivlehan hit his sixth home run off O’Grady to tie the game in the fifth.
Bour and Realmuto repeated their act in the sixth to chase Stephenson. It was Realmuto’s second two-home run game of his career, the last was September 8, 2015 against Milwaukee.
"There were positives and negatives," Stephenson said. 'It was hot out there. In the sixth inning I started to get tired. The third, fourth and fifth innings, I really feel that I got myself in a nice groove. After that the first, second and sixth inning it was the long balls that killed me. That's what I've been struggling with lately. I though I had some really close pitches Especially on that first homer, I had some really close ones there. I didn't get it. I thought the 2-2 pitch was pretty close. The next one he hit."
Michael Lorenzen and Asher Wojciechowski picked up for Stephenson.
"The bullpen did a nice job," Price said.
The Reds mounted another threat that came up short in the eighth. Junichi Tazawa hit Duvall with a pitch. Suarez singled. Scooter Gennett grounded an RBI single past Gordon at secondbase with Suarez going to third. Mesoraco struck out swinging. Kivlehan smoked a ball headed for the rightfield corner but Bour stabbed it and doubled Gennett to end the threat. It was the fourth double play that Miami turned in the game.
A.J. Ramos entered to nail down his 19th save in 21 chances. Cozart reached base for the fourth time with a two-out walk to give the Reds hope with Votto coming up. Votto struck out looking.
It was the Reds eighth loss in nine games in this 10-game homestand.
"I am at a loss for words and that's unusual for me," Price said. It is an accumulations of things We were so close and weren't able to do it."