Eugenio Suarez had an RBI double and scored on a suicide squeeze byRamon Cabrera as the Reds pushed across a pair of runs against reliever Pat Neshek in the 11th inning to beat the Astros, 4-2, on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.
Right-handed batters were just 4-for-45 against Neshek this season prior to the 11th inning. Suarez and Adam Duvall, who scored from first on Suarez's double, were the first righties to post consecutive hits off Neshek in 2016.
"Neshek against right-handers is almost impossible," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Duvall was able to squib that one through the right side and Geno hit the double to left … just big plays for us, and a nice win."
Astros starter Lance McCullers held the Reds to two runs, eight hits and three walks in 6 2/3 innings, giving up the go-ahead run in the seventh on a groundout by Jose Peraza. Carlos Correa smacked a homer to open the eighth inning off Blake Wood to tie the game at 2.
The Reds took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Peraza reached on an infield single and scored onZack Cozart's double, and the Astros tied it in the sixth on Carlos Gomez's bases-loaded single. The Astros had a chance to add on in the inning, but Reds reliever JC Ramirez gotEvan Gattis to hit into a fielder's choice at home plate and then Luis Valbuena popped out.
The Astros went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded 14 on base.
"We had ample opportunity to beat them with a single and we just couldn't scratch one across at the end," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I always feel good when the game is decided between the two bullpens, not just the Reds, but really any team. We match up as good as anyone and felt we had plenty of innings left to give our offense a chance to score one run."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Squeeze play: Even after Suarez's go-ahead RBI double, the Reds still wanted some insurance. Cabrera gave them some extra cushion, executing a rarely seen suicide-squeeze bunt to bring Suarez home and double Cincy's lead. Suarez was about three-quarters of the way to the plate by the time Neshek fielded the bunt, never giving the reliever a chance to stop the run from scoring.
"A perfectly executed squeeze to get that second run, which really did play big with the Astros getting two guys on in the bottom of the 11th," Price said. More >
Springer goes airborne: Another game, another great defensive play by Astros right fielderGeorge Springer. The high-flying Springer made a spectacular diving catch in the gap in the sixth inning to rob Duvall of a hit. It was the second great defensive play by Springer in consecutive games after he threw out a runner at the plate in Wednesday's win in St. Louis.
"For a non-fence-type catch, it's as impressive as you'll see," Hinch said. "With the distance he covered, he had no margin for error. He had to go at the perfect angle and launch his body at the perfect time." More >
Lamb gives Reds a boost:John Lamb's 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts may not be noteworthy for most Major League teams, but Cincinnati's starting pitching has been such a bugaboo this season that his effort didn't go unnoticed. Given that Reds starters had a 4.95 ERA entering the game, Lamb's 108-pitch effort in a hitters' park was a welcome relief. The only run charged to him came after he was pulled in a tense sixth inning.
"I just put myself in a good state of mind and had some fun and attacked hitters, tried to keep them off balance," Lamb said. "Felt like I did a pretty good job doing that. … I just didn't make much of the bigger picture tonight and stayed in the moment and tried to execute the gameplan we had."
Gomez goes all out: Gomez enjoyed his best game of the season, going 3-for-5 with an RBI single in the sixth inning that tied the game. It was his third straight multihit game and his first three-hit game of the season. Gomez also had an impressive running catch to end the ninth.
"Pretty impressive and under control and contributing on both sides," Hinch said. "I thought his running catch was just as impressive as any of his hits."
QUOTABLE "Especially as we face these left-handed pitchers, he's going to get his opportunity to swing his way out of it." -- Hinch, on designated hitter Evan Gattis, who is 1-for-34 since June 6 with one RBI
WHAT'S NEXT Reds: Ballyhooed prospect Cody Reed will make his first career start at 4:10 p.m. ET on Saturday at Minute Maid Park. The hard-throwing lefty is Cincinnati's No. 3 prospect. Reed was 6-3 with a 3.20 ERA in 64 2/3 innings at Triple-A Louisville this season.
Astros: The Astros will turn to reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel on the bump at 3:10 p.m. CT. It hasn't exactly been a worthy award-winning follow-up campaign for the lefty. Keuchel has only posted two quality starts in his last five outings, with a season ERA of 5.54.