By Scott Merkin and Mark Sheldon
MLB.com |@m_sheldon |
CHICAGO -- Johnny Cueto allowed four runs on six hits over 8 1/3 innings, striking out seven and walking one, to lead the Reds to a 10-4 victory over the White Sox on Saturday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field in Game 1 of a doubleheader, brought about by Friday night's postponement.
"He had a lot of stuff. He throws hard, he has good offspeed stuff and he has gamesmanship too," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Cueto. "He kind of sped up his delivery and [started] getting ahead real quick. I think he just kind of has that feel for it."
The first run of the game for the White Sox came on Alexei Ramirez's solo homer with two outs in the seventh, marking the 100th of his career, and Jose Abreu chipped in his sixth homer during a three-run ninth. It covered 441 feet.
Hector Noesi started for the White Sox, but it was Scott Carroll who suffered the loss in relief. Noesi left in the second after taking a Billy Hamilton line drive off of his right hip, leading to 4 2/3 innings thrown by Carroll. The Reds scored their first run on a Zack Cozart forceout in the sixth, when Ramirez and Micah Johnson were unable to turn an inning-ending double play. They added another run that frame on Skip Schumaker's double.
The Reds could have had a more commanding lead, but had three runners thrown out at the plate. They erased any doubt about the outcome by scoring seven in the ninth off of Dan Jennings, who walked three and gave up three hits. Six of the seven runs were charged to Jennings, capped off by Marlon Byrd's three-run homer.
"We had a few opportunities earlier in the game to kind of break it open a little bit and get the separation," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "That seven-run ninth was big for a lot of reasons. Johnny was going to go back out with [Aroldis] Chapman behind him in that situation, because he was throwing the ball so well. That separation allowed Johnny to stay in there a little bit and give us some room to bring in [J.J] Hoover and hopefully have a fresh Chapman for the second game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Early exit: Noesi lasted just 1 2/3 innings before departing due to Hamilton's line drive off of his right hip with two runners on in the second. Noesi threw a couple of warmup tosses under the watchful eyes of White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider and manager Robin Ventura, but eventually left with a lower back contusion. He is listed as day to day. More >
Textbook takeout: With runners on the corners and one out on Cozart's grounder to shortstop, Brayan Pena did a nice job sliding into Johnson to break up what would have been an inning-ending double play. Johnson's errant throw allowed a run to score and extended the inning. Pena showed sportsmanship by giving Johnson a hug and helping him up.
Not safe at home: This game stayed scoreless into the sixth, thanks to two somewhat odd double plays executed perfectly by the White Sox. In the third, Todd Frazier was running from second to third on a pitch to Brandon Phillips, who tapped the ball out in front of the plate. Catcher Tyler Flowers made the play, but Frazier kept coming home with Flowers out of position. Flowers made it back near the plate, took the throw from Abreu and tagged out Frazier. In the fourth, it was Avisail Garcia nailing Cozart at the plate on Schumaker's short fly ball to right. Flowers also tagged out Schumacher trying to score from third with one out in the eighth on a Zach Putnam wild pitch that bounced right back to him. More >
Unusual path to scoring: The Reds added a run in the top of the seventh without the benefit of a hit, despite sending seven men to the plate against Carroll and Putnam. There were two walks issued before Jay Bruce's groundout scored Hamilton to make it a 3-0 game. The inning also featured a stolen base by Hamilton, an error by third baseman Conor Gillaspie and a hit-by-pitch before the bases were left loaded.
Todd Steverson, the White Sox hitting coach, picked up his first career ejection in Game 1 of the doubleheader after objecting to home-plate umpire John Hirschbeck's balls-and-strikes calls in the second. Hirschbeck called out both Flowers and Johnson looking to end the frame.