Graham Ashcraft got the start for the Reds on Thursday, and pitched into the seventh inning for just the fourth time in his 12 major league starts.
After allowing a leadoff single, Ashcraft got three straight strikeouts to end the first inning. He cruised through the second as well, facing the minimum with aid from a double play. The third and fourth innings provided some difficulty, as he allowed a two run home run in the third and a pair of hits that led to a run in the fourth. The run in the fourth would go as unearned, as a passed ball allowed the runner to get into scoring position.
Ashcraft allowed just a lone single in the fifth, and a walk in the sixth. He ran into trouble when he came back out for the seventh, ultimately allowing a run on a pair of doubles while also recording two ground outs. Ashcraft ended up pitching 6 2/3 innings, four runs (three earned) on eight hits, walking two and striking out six.
Alexis Diaz was brought on to bail out Ashcraft, and did so by striking out the first batter he faced. He remained in the game to pitch the eighth, retiring the side in order while striking out another.
Going into the ninth looking to hold onto a one run lead, things got rocky for Hunter Strickland, an all too familiar story for Reds fans this season. The first batter he faced cranked a home run to tie the game. He then walked a batter and hit a batter, all without recording an out, and was lifted from the game.
Buck Farmer was the next man up to try to keep the game tied. The tie did not last long, as the first two plate appearances ended in an RBI double and a sacrifice fly, putting the Reds down by a pair. A pickoff and a strikeout stopped the bleeding, but by that point the damage was done.
On the offensive side, the Reds had a solid day, accounting for six runs on 11 hits. The scoring started early, with Brandon Drury and Tommy Pham hitting back-to-back doubles in the first.
After Joey Votto was hit by a pitch, Donovan Solano came to the plate with two on and one out. What resulted was a scary play, with Marlins starter Daniel Castano being hit in the head by a Solano line drive. The ball deflected and was caught at third base, but the immediate concern was Castano’s health. Castano would leave the game, but would walk off the field under his own power.
Drury was the next Reds baserunner, singling in the third inning, but the Reds were unable to bring in a run. They got on the board again in the fourth, with a Tyler Naquin RBI groundout after a pair of singles by Matt Reynolds and Nick Senzel, and a wild pitch that allowed both to advance. Mark Kolozsvary then drove in Senzel with an RBI double.
Three consecutive singles by Pham, Votto, and Solano led to the Reds’ fourth run of the game in the fifth. Naquin played add-on in the sixth, hitting a solo shot off of a lefty. That was just Naquin’s seventh career home run against a LHP, compared to 50 against RHP. Despite the home run, the Reds would pinch hit for Naquin in the ninth inning against another LHP.
In the ninth, now trailing by two runs, the Reds made a run at a comeback. Back-to-back walks by Jonathan India and Drury followed by a Pham single trimmed the lead to one, but Votto would strike out to end the game.