Phillies aim to bounce back from disappointing loss to Reds

After back-to-back dramatic wins in their last at-bat, the Cincinnati Reds look for a third straight victory when they visit the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday in the middle game of a three-game series.

On Monday, the Reds erased an early 2-0 deficit to tie the game before closer Alexis Diaz escaped an eighth-inning jam and tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings and prompt extra innings.

Diaz turned around the script from Saturday when he blew a 6-4 lead in the ninth and took a 7-6 loss to the Nationals. On Sunday, the Reds were down to their last out before wiping out a 5-3 deficit with back-to-back homers in a 6-5 win over Washington.

The Cincinnati closer entered the Monday game in the eighth inning with runners on first and second with one out in the eighth. He kept the game tied when he picked a runner off second base and then struck out J.T. Realmuto to end the threat.

After a scoreless ninth, Diaz earned the win when Spencer Steer socked his first career grand slam in the 10th to lead the Reds to a 6-3 win over the Phillies.

“That’s our guy. He’s always been our guy,” Steer said of Diaz. “That’s our closer and we have all the confidence in the world when he comes out of that bullpen. So it was awesome to see him get the results (Monday), but like I said, he’s always been our guy and he’s going to be that guy going forward.”

Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz went 1-for-5 on Monday to extend his career-best hitting streak to nine games, dating back to the final week of the 2023 season. He has yet to log a multi-hit game this season, though.

Cincinnati will send right-hander Graham Ashcraft (7-9, 4.76 ERA in 2023) to the mound Tuesday, making his first start of the season and rounding out the Reds’ first full turn through the rotation. Ashcraft allowed four hits in six scoreless innings on April 15, 2023, to win his only previous start against the Phillies.

Philadelphia will counter with right-hander Spencer Turnbull (1-4, 7.26 ERA in 2023) in his first appearance of 2024. He opened last season with the Detroit Tigers but was sent to the minors in May and never made it back to the majors.

Turnbull is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two career starts against Cincinnati, having allowed six hits and three runs while striking out 14 and walking five in 11 innings.

Connor Brogdon was the Philadelphia reliever who surrendered the game-winning grand slam to Steer. Brogdon threw seven straight pitches out of the zone, then got a called strike before coming over the plate with a fastball that Steer hammered over the fence in left-center.

“I don’t even know how many balls I’d thrown in a row before I showed him a strike, so at that point I was just like, man, just throw the ball in the zone,” Brogdon said. “You just can’t leave a ball there to a big-league hitter, he’s going to hit it out.”

Philadelphia’s Alec Bohm drove in two with a first-inning double on Monday, extending his hitting streak against Cincinnati to 15 games, dating back to Aug. 15, 2021.

–Field Level Media