video thumbnail

NYY@CIN: Stubbs' hard slide gets Reds on the board

CINCINNATI -- The Reds have done anything but hit like the National League's No. 1 run producers lately.

American League East pitchers have made sure of it, and wily veteran Freddy Garcia was no different, as the Yankees handed the Reds a 4-2 loss in Game 1 of Wednesday's day-night doubleheader.

Loser of four of its past five games on the homestand, Cincinnati has notched only nine runs vs. the Blue Jays and Yankees and is batting .204 (33-for-162) in that stretch. Entering the day, they were tops in the league in runs scored and third in hitting.

When it's going like this, even one pitching mistake is devastating. For Reds starter Mike Leake, it came in the sixth inning, as Jorge Posada snapped a 2-2 tie with a two-run home run.

"You're on thin ice when you know you can't make one mistake," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It seems like that's been the ballgame every day. We've been close -- real close -- and make one mistake. It's a base hit or a home run like it was today."

With one out in the top of the third inning, Brett Gardner reached on an infield hit that tipped off of first baseman Joey Votto's glove, and he went to third base on a Curtis Granderson single. Nick Swisher grounded to Votto, who made a high throw home as Gardner slid in with New York's first run.

Robinson Cano's two-out single in the third put Leake in a 2-0 hole against a Yankees starting lineup that did not include Alex Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira.

The Reds tied the game in the fifth with two unearned runs. Drew Stubbs led off with a grounder to third base and reached on Ramiro Pena's throwing error that glanced off of Stubbs' face. Stubbs was OK and he advanced to third base on Edgar Renteria's lofted single into left field.

Pena, filling in for Rodriguez, made three errors on the day, and his second one in the fifth inning was costly. On Ryan Hanigan's fielder's choice grounder, Pena's throw home bounced in the dirt and off catcher Francisco Cervelli's chest as Stubbs slid into the plate.

There was one out in the Yankees' sixth when Cano hit a jam shot for a single into left field. Posada followed and attacked a first-pitch curveball up in the strike zone, depositing it in the seats in right field for his seventh homer of the season and first since April 23.

"I know what he had," Posada said of Leake. "I know pretty much what he was trying to do. The guy throws strikes, and I went after the first one my third at-bat."

A clearly disgusted Leake kneed his own glove, knowing that was the pitch he couldn't afford to let get away.

"I was trying to get a strike out of it. It didn't end up working out," Leake said.

Leake gave up four runs and five hits over six innings, with one walk and four strikeouts. His pitch count was elevated early because of four full counts over the first two innings, as well as several foul balls.

"It was tough, because he was still throwing the ball well," Baker said. "Things are magnified when you're not scoring runs."

The Reds had only three hits over seven innings against Garcia. Yankees reliever David Robertson gave up a two-out single to Brandon Phillips in the eighth. Mariano Rivera slammed the door with a 1-2-3 ninth for his 19th save.

The Reds have not reached double digits in hits since last Wednesday, when they had 11 at Los Angeles.

In the past five games, the Reds have gone 2-for-27 with runners in scoring position. They have drawn only three walks compared to 35 strikeouts. Garcia's lone walk was to Votto in the bottom of the first.

"They'll get back on track soon," Leake said. "I'm not too worried about our offense. We have one of the top offenses. We just have to keep going out and battling. Eventually, they will score runs for you."

The Reds tried forcing the issue at times. With one out in the fourth and nobody on, Jay Bruce tried bunting for a hit, but he grounded back to the mound.

"That's the objective of the bunt -- trying to get something going and get [Garcia] in the stretch, because he was in the windup almost all day long," Baker said. "It's tough to beat somebody when they're in the windup all day, especially a starter."

Bruce hit a one-out double off Garcia in the sixth, but he was nailed for an inning-ending double play on Scott Rolen's fly ball to left field. Bruce drifted too far off the base and Gardner made a perfect throw to get him.

"You're always trying to score. Sometimes, you try a little too hard," Baker said.

MLB.com Comments