The Reds left Great American Ball Park after Wednesday’s 11-inning, 4-3 walkoff win over Arizona expecting to face Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker in Thursday afternoon’s series finale.
They showed up the next morning and learned that Walker had left the team overnight to tend to his wife Heather, who’d gone into labor. Left-hander Patrick Corbin was Arizona’s substitute starter, but Cincinnati manager Bryan Price wasn’t concerned.
“We’ve got all the data, and we saw Corbin in the last series,” Price said before the game. “It’s not like they’re bringing somebody up from the minors who we know nothing about and have no data on. We’re not in the loop as far as Walker and his wife and their baby, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. We didn’t change the lineup.”
The Reds pitching meant whomever started for the Diamondbacks really didn’t matter. Jake Lamb drove in a career-high six runs with two three-run home runs and Corbin allowed just one run while pitching into the eighth inning as the Diamondbacks earned their second win in a three-game series against the Reds with a 12-2 shellacking.
Gregor Blanco tripled and homered and Ketel Marte also homered for the D-backs, who lost a three-game series to the Reds in Arizona right before the All-Star break.
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Eugenio Suarez logged his third career multi-homer game and second this season for the Reds, who went 3-0-1 in their last four series before the All-Star break. They dropped to 1-6 on their 10-game home stand. They have allowed opponents to reach double figures in runs in four of those games, just another in what to Price is a litany of examples of what ails his sinking team.
“The problem is clear,” the former Cincinnati pitching coach said. “When we give six or fewer runs, our winning percentage is over .600 (39-25, .609). Unfortunately, we’ve given up double figures in runs in four of these games. That’s the constant thing. We need to pitch better. It’s a worn-out record. I’m tired of talking about it.”
Corbin (7-9), 0-3 over his previous five starts, including 2-1 to the Reds in Arizona on July 9, allowed seven hits and one run in a season-high 7 1/3 innings – the longest he’d lasted since 2013. He struck out six and walked one.
The D-backs needed just 11 Luis Castillo pitches to jump out to a 3-0 lead. With two runners on, Lamb smacked an 0-1 pitch by Cincinnati’s rookie right-hander off the bottom of the center-field batter’s eye for his 21st homer of the season.
Castillo fixed a mechanical problem and rebounded to retire 12 of the next 13 D-back batters.
“He has a tendency to open up his front side,” Price said. “He has to get focused on staying in line with the plate. (Pitching coach) Mack (Jenkins) had a good talk with him. After the first three hitters, he retired 11 of the next 12. He did a nice job. We had to have it. He didn’t pitch up to the best of his ability, but he gave us what we had to have with the state of our bullpen.”
“I think I was working too fast, and that’s why my front shoulder was opening up,” said Castillo, who grounded a single up the middle in the third for his first career hit. “After that, everything got back to normal. After the first inning, I got back to normal again.”
Lamb added a three-run homer off of Ariel Hernandez in Arizona’s six-run ninth.
After Suarez led off the fourth with a homer, the Reds loaded the bases with nobody out on singles by Joey Votto, Adam Duvall and Scooter Gennett, whose line-hugger to Lamb at third base originally was ruled a groundout before being overturned on a video review.
Corbin bounced back to get Devin Mesoraco on a 3-1 popup, strike out Scott Schebler and end the threat on Jose Peraza’s popup
“We had a good matchup with Devin and Corbin and he got into a good count, but he couldn’t square it up,” Price said. “That was only one inning, but it was a big moment. We need to put together more of those opportunities. That was the one chance we had to either knock Corbin out of the game or put up some big numbers.