BALTIMORE (AP) — Andrew Abbott has been quite an addition for a pitching-starved Cincinnati team.
Abbott was impressive on the mound again, and Matt McLain and TJ Friedl both homered to lift the Reds to a 3-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night. McLain also hit an RBI double for the Reds, who rebounded from a 10-3 loss Monday night. Cincinnati had dropped three in a row following a 12-game winning streak.
“You want to get back on the winning track,” said manager David Bell, whose team took the NL Central lead back from Milwaukee. “We still feel good about the way we’re playing, but it’s all about winning games.”
Rain was a factor for a second straight night. The game was delayed for 1 hour, 43 minutes following the seventh inning.
Although they’ve played well of late, the Reds have one of the worst ERAs in baseball. Abbott (4-0) has done his part to improve that. He allowed a run and two hits in six innings in his fifth career start Tuesday. This outing actually raised his ERA slightly to 1.21. The rookie lefty struck out eight with three walks.
“Just go out and do a job as best you can each day,” Abbott said.
Lucas Sims pitched a scoreless seventh despite two walks and a hit batter. Buck Farmer worked the eighth, and Alexis Díaz pitched a hitless ninth for his 22nd save in 22 chances. Díaz has converted 27 opportunities in a row, the longest active streak in the majors.
He’s also one shy of Rob Dibble’s club record of 23 consecutive saves to start a season in 1991.
The Orioles put two men on in the ninth. Ryan O’Hearn was hit by a pitch, then he took second on what looked like defensive indifference until he turned around and headed back toward first, apparently thinking the ball had been fouled off.
The Reds had a chance to retire O’Hearn for the final out while he was between bases, but after he realized his mistake and tried to make it back to second, Díaz threw wildly to second and he was safe. The play was scored as a caught stealing and an error on Díaz.
After a walk to Adam Frazier, Austin Hays lined out to center to end the game.
Tyler Wells (6-4) allowed two runs and four hits in six innings. He struck out seven with one walk.
The Orioles went ahead 1-0 on a second-inning sacrifice fly by Ryan McKenna. McLain’s double tied it in the fourth, and he gave the Reds the lead two innings later with a drive to right-center. Friedl added a solo shot of his own in the eighth.
Second baseman Jonathan India made two terrific plays in the field, a catch of Anthony Santander’s shallow fly in the sixth, and a lunging catch-and-tag to nab Cedric Mullins stealing after he walked to lead off the Baltimore seventh.
“Lucas got a scoreless inning, but it wasn’t the easiest inning,” Bell said. “That particular play was a big part of it.”
Cincinnati designated RHP Luke Wong for assignment after he made his big league debut Monday. The Reds selected the contract of RHP Alec Mills from Triple-A Louisville.
Orioles: Hays hobbled around a bit after running into the wall while trying to make a catch in foul ground in left field in the ninth. He stayed in the game.