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Reds ‘all locked in’ as they close in on Wild Card

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DETROIT — September 12, 2023 – Article by: Dawn Klemish(

As the season winds down, the Reds are ramping up.

With every game crucial to their postseason hopes as they look to seize control of one of the National League Wild Card spots, grit and determination seem to be the team’s key ingredients for success.

Tuesday’s 6-5 victory over the Tigers in 10 innings at Comerica Park wasn’t pretty; it was a grind. But it also proved what Cincinnati is capable of when it sticks to the plan.

“It’s amazing, and we’re all in it. Everyone’s head is in it,” said Jonathan India, who hit a game-tying two-run single in the second inning. “You can just tell if you look at our dugout, we’re all on the top step. We’re all cheering. We’re just all locked in. We want it that bad.”

  • Games remaining: at DET (2), at NYM (3), vs. MIN (3), vs. PIT (3), at CLE (2), at STL (3)
  • Standings update: The Reds (75-71) are one game behind the D-backs (76-60) for the third NL Wild Card spot. Cincinnati has a half-game lead on Miami (74-71) and San Francisco (74-71) for the final spot, and it holds the tiebreaker over Arizona thanks to winning the season series 4-3.

Perhaps the biggest testament to grinding was Tyler Stephenson, who lined the eventual game-winning knock into right field to score pinch-runner Noelvi Marte from second base in extras. Cincinnati’s catcher is on fire in September after an ugly slump to start the second half, with four extra-base hits and six RBIs in his past 10 games, during which he’s hit .385.

“He’s just doing what he does,” manager David Bell said. “We know he can play, we know he can hit. He’s shown it really his whole career, and he’s just stayed with it.

“That was just great timing.”

Marte had been out since Saturday, when he sustained a nasal fracture pregame. His return date was tied to his comfort level, and it’s not hard to imagine that a broken nose would still be pretty sore three days later. Still, when the Reds needed his speed off the bench at second base to start the 10th, he didn’t hesitate to grab a helmet.

Marte hit the gas as soon as Stephenson connected and didn’t slow until he’d slid across home plate just ahead of the tag, throwing both hands in the air and clapping emphatically toward the visitors’ dugout as he popped up.

And on it went, with the series opener a testament to toughness.

Rookie Brandon Williamson was just eight pitches into his start when the Tigers homered, then he needed 29 pitches to work through the first inning and 20 to complete the second.

Williamson — in his return from a bout with COVID that had knocked the 25-year-old from action since Aug. 29 — bounced back to retire seven in a row. Though his final line included five runs, Williamson showed his mettle by holding Detroit scoreless for three consecutive frames after nothing seemed to go right early.

“I felt like I actually executed pretty decent at anything; [things] just kind of went their way,” Williamson said. “… They definitely hit good pitches. I left a few for them that they took advantage of, too, but [I was] mostly competitive.”

Nick Senzel survived a scare in the first and came back to double in a 2-for-3 outing. With one out in the bottom of the first, Kerry Carpenter’s single shot into left field and sent Jake Rogers speeding toward third base. As Senzel set to receive TJ Friedl’s throw, Rogers hit the dirt in anticipation of a close play.

The two became entangled at the bag as Senzel tumbled awkwardly to the ground, grimacing and holding his left knee as the ball dribbled away.

As ugly as the collision looked — Senzel’s knee appeared to bend inward as it collided with Rogers’ back as the latter popped up — Senzel was, in fact, just fine. A quick visit with team medical staff and Bell deemed him still fit for battle, and he showed no harm done while legging out a double in the top of the next frame.

It all came together for one crucial win at a critical juncture of the season.

“We’re playing meaningful games, and it was just a matter of time,” Bell said. “A lot of great things can happen at the end of the season that you can even take into next season. So it’s far from over and every game counts.”

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