Frazier grand slam in 13th lifts Reds over Tigers
Cincinnati — It brought rain. Miguel Cabrera's cannonading three-run blast halfway up the bleachers in right field in the top of the sixth inning, literally brought rain.
It also, literally, stopped the show. It took the Tigers from 2-0 down to 3-2 up. And, it brought about a one hour and 14 minute delay.
Turns out, it was just an intermission. There would be much more drama, as the teams slugged it out for another seven innings after the delay.
But it ended poorly for the Tigers. At 1:20 a.m. Thursday, in the 13th inning, Todd Frazier hit a two-out, two-strike grand slam off closer Joakim Soria to give the Reds an 8-4 win.
"It was a curve ball and it was up in the strike zone," said Soria. "And he was able to hit it hard…When was the last time somebody hit my curveball out of the ballpark? I trust my pitch. He's just really hot right now."
Ian Krol started the 13th and gave up a single to Skip Schumaker, then walked Billy Hamilton with one out. Manager Brad Ausmus brought in Soria at that point.
Soria gave up a single to Brandon Phillips to load the bases. He struck out Ivan De Jesus for the second out before Frazier stepped up and ended it. It was his second homer of the game and the fourth in the last two against Detroit.
It was an exhausting, exasperating and at times exhilarating, night.
"Thank God we've got a night game tomorrow," Soria said. "Everybody has a chance to rest. We will come back tomorrow expecting to win."
After the Reds answered Cabrera's home run with a run in the bottom of the sixth, Tyler Collins hit a pinch-hit home run in the top of the eighth — on the first pitch from reliever Ryan Matteus — to put the Tigers up 4-3.
Again, the Reds answered, this time in a rather unconventional manner. Joba Chamberlain got the first two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Left-handed hitter Jay Bruce hit a long fly ball to left. Yoenis Cespedes got back to the wall, but couldn't make the catch. It seemed he mistimed his jump.
"That's a tough play for Cespedes, jumping up against the wall," Ausmus said.
Bruce was on second with a double. Then switch-hitting Brayan Pena hit a ground ball up the middle that hit off the bag at second and caromed into right field to score Bruce.
"(Jose) Iglesias said he had a beat on it," Ausmus said. "Sometimes it's better to be a little lucky."
Ausmus was asked why he left Chamberlain in to face the lefty Bruce. Left-handed reliever Blaine Hardy was warm in the bullpen.
"I was leaving Joba in, I wanted Joba to pitch the eighth," he said. "Once Joey Votto got the hit, I was going to go to Hardy."
The Tigers offense went silent after Collins' home run, managing just two hits after the eighth.
Soft-tossing right-hander Donovan Hand stymied the Tigers, throwing breaking balls in the low 70s, some in the high 60s. He blanked them through the 10th, 11th and 12th.
The Reds, meanwhile, threatened to walk-off just about every inning.
The Tigers made a sensational replay play in the bottom of the 10th to extend the game. Again with two outs, Bruce singled off Al Alburquerque. Pena, the former Tiger who had four hits, doubled into the corner in right.
It looked like a winner. But J.D. Martinez dug it out of the corner and got it quickly to Ian Kinsler who fired a strike to catcher James McCann.
Bruce was out by a step. A perfect relay.
The Tigers averted the loss in the bottom of the 11th, as well. Alburquerque, working his second inning of relief, walked Schumaker and then balked him to second.
With two outs, a grounder by Billy Hamilton took a bad hop and hit Cabrera in the nose.
But Alburqueque was undaunted. He struck out Brandon Phillips to end the inning.
Can you stand one more Houdini act? The Reds put runners on first and third with one out in the 12th against Krol. But Krol got Pena to pop out to second.
With the pitcher's spot up and the Reds bench empty, manager Bryan Price sent up pitcher Michael Lorenzen to pinch-hit. The .250 hitter struck out.
The first act was pretty good theater, too — Price vs. Johnny Cueto, Cabrera's home run.
Cueto, a free agent-to-be who is supposedly on the trade market, was having himself quite a showcase. He breezed through the Tigers for five innings, allowing just a hit and a walk.
The Reds, meanwhile, got two runs off Tigers ace David Price and seemed in control.
But then came the sixth. Anthony Gose singled with one out and Kinsler worked a walk, setting the stage for Cabrera.
Cueto had been expertly mixing his slider and change-up but against Cabrera, he decided to bring some heat. He threw a 94 mph fastball on 1-0 that Cabrera fouled back — just missed it. The television cameras showed Cabrera cursing himself for missing it.
But Cueto threw it again, same 94 mph heater, on the next pitch. Cabrera didn't miss it twice. He hit it 418 feet into the bleachers in right field.
Here's the Hollywood part. As Cabrera was rounding the bases, the skies opened and a downpour ensued. It was like Roy Hobbs minus the pyrotechnics.
It was Cabrera's 15th homer of the season and the sixth straight game he's knocked in at least one run. That is his longest RBI streak since 2013.
Price, coming off two straight complete-game victories, might not have had his Grade-A stuff, but he was a long way from bad.
He gave up a leadoff double to Bruce in the second. Bruce would score on a perfectly-executed squeeze bunt by former Tiger Eugenio Suarez.
In the fourth inning, Price fell behind red-hot Frazier and decided to challenge him with a 3-1 fastball at 95 mph. Frazier, who hit two homers on Tuesday at Comerica Park, deposited it into the right-field bleachers — not quite as far up as Cabrera's (390 feet).