CINCINNATI -- It was a comeback, and then some, for the Reds on Monday as they scored 12 unanswered runs -- 10 in the sixth inning -- for a 12-5 victory over the Tigers in their makeup game at Great American Ball Park. With its biggest rally of the year, Cincinnati avoided setting a season-high losing streak after it had lost the previous nine in a row.
Detroit had a 5-0 lead through four innings against Reds starter Keyvius Sampson, including a four-run first inning where nine men batted. J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer and Nick Castellanos added a solo shot in the nine-batter inning vs. Sampson, who lasted only four innings while throwing 100 pitches.
Tigers starter Buck Farmer kept the Reds hitless for 4 1/3 innings before it all came apart in the sixth. Eugenio Suarez and Brandon Phillips each hit home runs as 14 batters came to the plate and faced three different pitchers as seven straight batters reached safely after the first out. Jay Bruce added an RBI double and Skip Schumaker delivered a two-strike, two-out, two-run single to center field for the go-ahead runs to keep the rally alive. Collin Balester was credited with the victory after he pitched two scoreless innings behind Sampson.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Just Delivering: Martinez feasts on fastballs and took advantage of a struggling Sampson, who fed him back-to-back heaters with two on in the opening inning. The first was low and away, the second over the plate, where Martinez turned on it for his 33rd home run of the year and a 3-0 Tigers lead.
Remember me? Acquired from the Tigers in the offseason trade for pitcher Alfredo Simon, Suarez got the Reds on the scoreboard with a one-out solo homer in the sixth inning. Suarez, who had four homers in 85 games for Detroit last season, has nine this season in 60 games for Cincinnati -- including three over his last 10 games. It sparked the big comeback inning, where he later added a two-run blooped double near the right field line in a 3-for-5 game.
"When you look at his numbers for a guy that has 200 at-bats, and looking at the run production, the extra-base hits and RBIs, those are big numbers if [you project it out]," Reds manager Bryan Price said.
Four-RBI sixth for Phillips: Two batters after Suarez, Phillips launched his 10th home run of the season -- a two-run shot just inside the left-field foul pole -- that gave him career RBIs No. 800 and 801. More came later in the sixth with two outs as Phillips ripped a two-run triple to right field to cap the scoring in the gigantic rally.
This inning took a left turn at Alburquerque: With the game getting away from Farmer in the sixth, manager Brad Ausmus bypassed his long relievers and turned to normal middle reliever Al Alburquerque with a 5-3 lead and Tiger killer Todd Frazier at the plate. Alburquerque didn't have his slider working and paid for it, giving up a Bruce RBI double following Frazier's bunt single, then walking Jason Bourgeois. Alburquerque and Tom Gorzelanny faced four hitters combined without an out recorded. More >
"Al probably would want that back today," catcher Alex Avila said. "He's a lot better than that. Today he just couldn't command his pitches."
"And it just seemed like one guy after the next came up with the big at-bat, certainly none bigger than Schumaker and then Brandon hitting the [triple] -- the add-on runs were just huge." -- Price, on the big sixth inning
"I think [Farmer] hit a little bit of wall when the inning started. And then everything blew up." -- Ausmus, on the sixth inning
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Balester picked up his first big league win since he was a member of the Tigers on May 15, 2012.
"You don't think about it because you come in [trailing] 5-0 and all you're thinking about is putting up zeroes so they can come back, and all of sudden, they have a 10-run inning," Balester said. "It was unbelievable -- it was the best inning I'd ever seen."
REDS WIN LATE CHALLENGE
In an outcome that proved anti-climatic between two superstars, Miguel Cabrera hit a squib on the third-base line vs. Aroldis Chapman in the top of the ninth. Catcher Tucker Barnhart snatched the ball up before it rolled foul and fired to first base, where Cabrera was ruled safe by first-base umpire Andy Fletcher when Joey Votto's foot came off of the bag. The Reds challenged the call and it was overturned upon review when it was determined Votto had possession of the ball before losing contact with first base.
WHAT'S NEXT Tigers: After a one-game visit to Cincinnati, the Tigers resume their homestand with a three-game series against the Angels at Comerica Park. Simon, who one-hit the Rangers last time out, matches up with old Tigers nemesis Jered Weaver in the series opener Tuesday at 7:08 p.m. ET.
Reds: The homestand continues at 7:10 p.m. ET when the Dodgers visit for the first of three games. John Lamb will start the opener for Cincinnati against Alex Wood The same pitchers faced one another on Aug. 14 at Los Angeles, with the Reds emerging with a 5-3 loss. Lamb worked mostly smooth until a four-run fifth inning that featured an Adrian Gonzalez three-run homer.