After taking two-of-three from the Indians in Cleveland last weekend, the Reds gave up two-of-three this weekend in Cincinnati. They capped off the performance this afternoon with a 6-3 loss.
Eric Milton gave the kind of start we would have loved out of him last year, allowing three runs (earned) on six hits and two walks through six innings.
Kent Mercker put up a hitless seventh. David Weathers identified himself as next to be replaced by giving up two runs on two hits in the eighth for the loss. Matt Belisle allowed one more run on a solo shot in the ninth.
In fact, this game looked very winnable most of the way through. The Reds' matched the Indians' run in the second with a solo shot by David Ross. They took the lead in the third when Felipe Lopez walked, advanced to second on a Brandon Phillips single, and scored on a Adam Dunn single. Ross sent flying another solo shot in the sixth to keep it close.
A bad call in the eighth sent Dunn back to the dugout when he should have been safe at first and Jerry Narron to the showers when he should have been sitting calmly on the bench, watching a beautifully executed come-from-behind victory.
Austin Kearns then walked with one out and no one on, instead of no outs and one on. Scott Hatteberg singled and sent Kearns to third, instead of also sending Dunn home.
When Ross hit into a double play, the inning was over with no runs scoring, instead of two away, one run scored, and Juan Castro coming to the plate. Casto doubled when he came up in the ninth.
Sigh. Two games in a row with bad calls and two winnable games in a row with a notch in the loss column.
The loss brings the Reds' record to 44-38 and starts the mathematical second half off wrong. They head to Milwaukee tomorrow to send Aaron Harang up against Dave Bush.