DETROIT – August 2, 2020 – Bill Ladsdon – MLB.com
On Sunday afternoon, Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani was taken off the 10-day injured list to make his 2020 debut and dominated the Tigers in a 4-3 victory in the first game of a scheduled doubleheader.
The first game was a seven-inning affair after Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announded recently that both games of doubleheaders would be seven innings in length for the duration of the 2020 season.
“I forgot [it was a seven-inning game],” DeSclafani said. “After [the sixth inning], we had one inning left to get it going and win. We didn’t have those extra three innings. Those seven-inning doubleheaders are different. In the long run, as long as we are getting games in …”
DeSclafani, who missed one start with a mild strain of the teres major, allowed three hits in five shutout innings. He established his heater early and was often ahead in the count.
DeSclafani was in trouble twice in the game, but the Tigers couldn’t take advantage of either situation. In the third inning, third baseman Jeimer Candelario led off with a triple, but didn’t score as Austin Romine and JaCoby Jones grounded out while Niko Goodrum struck out to end the threat.
“It’s about making pitches. At the end of the day, that’s what you have to do,” DeSclafani said. “I tried making those best pitches possible. I was focusing pitch by pitch. It ended up working out.”
Two innings later, the Tigers had runners on first and third with one out, but DeSclafani induced Romine to pop up to second baseman Mike Moustakas and Jones to fly out to right fielder Nick Castellanos to end the threat.
But DeSclafani was left with a no-decision as the Reds blew a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. It didn’t help that Castellanos misjudged a fly ball hit by Victor Reyes, allowing three runs to score.
“The body felt good, but I wasn’t as crisp as I would have liked to have been. There were some hard-hit balls in the beginning of the game. It went right at guys,” DeSclafani said. “But I think, all in all, after not facing hitters in two weeks, I was happy with today.”
The Reds took the lead back in the top of the seventh inning when Freddy Galvis scored on a single by Shogo Akiyama.
It was also a homecoming for Castellanos, who played with the Tigers for seven years before he was traded to the Cubs last summer. Castellanos hit two home runs and drove in all three runs.
Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016.