CINCINNATI (AP) TJ Friedl drove in the game-winning run with a ninth-inning single and the Cincinnati Reds snapped a six-game losing streak with a 7-6 come-from-behind win over the Texas Rangers on Monday night.
José Leclerc (0-1) walked Jonathan India to lead off the ninth. India went to second on a passed ball and scored on Friedl’s sharp single to right off left-hander Will Smith.
“At first I was just trying to get Jon to second," said the left-handed Friedl, who squared around to bunt on several pitches. "Then I was trying to get him to third. I kind of pulled off. I trust my bunting, but I’m comfortable pulling the ball when he was on second. Smith is a heavy slider guy I knew I had a good chance to pull it.
“I’ve been a lot more comfortable hitting off lefties the last couple years. I made some adjustments matching the plane. I can pick the ball up better, and with my bunting, it helps a lot.”
The Reds came back from a 5-1 third-inning deficit and tied the game in the eighth on back-to-back bases-loaded walks to Henry Ramos and Nick Senzel by Leclerc.
“I don’t know how they do it, taking pitches that close," Reds manager David Bell said. "That plate discipline has been a strength of ours and it showed up tonight.”
Leclerc and Dane Dunning combined to hand out five walks in two innings.
Alexis Díaz (1-1), Cincinnati’s fourth relief pitcher, pitched a perfect ninth for the win.
Josh Jung hit home runs in consecutive innings and drove in three runs for the AL West-leading Rangers.
Jung, whose career-high 10-game hitting streak was snapped Sunday, hit a game-tying solo homer 392 feet down the left field line in the second inning before blasting a two-run shot 418 feet to center field for a 5-1 lead in the third.
Ezequiel Duran had three hits for the Rangers, who had won six of seven, seven of nine and and 10 of 13 while climbing into first place.
Nathan Eovaldi tied his season highs with six innings and seven strikeouts. Eovaldi allowed six hits and four runs - three earned - with one walk. He also hit Friedl right after walking India to open the Reds' three-run third inning that let them back in the game, setting up Spencer Steer's two-run triple, the first of his career.
“It was great to see some balls fall," Steer said. "That’s been the story lately. Even when we have hit the balls hard, they were catching them. I hit the triple well. I knew I had to run my butt off. I saw he almost caught it. I didn’t realize it was that close. I honestly thought I hit it better. We’ve been going through a tough stretch. Tonight even though it was 5-1, the energy was still there.”
“It’s tough," the right-handed Rangers pitcher said of the control issues. "I’m missing arm side, which is unusual for me. I’m usually down and away. I don’t know what is. We’re up 5-1 and I let team back in the game. It started with that leadoff walk. We definitely scored enough runs to win the game.”
Friedl finished 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to a career-high eight games.
The Reds scored more runs than they had during the losing streak.
Nick Lodolo, who allowed a career-high 12 hits in his last start, gave up nine and six runs with two walks and six strikeouts in four innings.
Jung committed a two-out error in the first inning, allowing Jonathan India to score from third base and giving the Reds their first lead since an 8-1 win over Tampa Bay on April 17.
The lead lasted one out into the second inning. After Jung’s one-out shot, Duran and Leody Taveras hit back-to-back doubles before Marcus Semien delivered a two-out RBI single.
Bubba Thompson, who had 18 stolen bases in 55 games last season, notched his first of 2023 in his 14th game.
Ramos got a hit and an RBI in his Cincinnati debut after being promoted from Triple-A Louisville earlier in the day.
Eovaldi's strikeout of Senzel in the second inning was Great American Ball Park's 25,000th strikeout. The ballpark is in its 21st season.
Rangers: SS Corey Seager (left hamstring strain) is tossing and taking swings on soft tosses, manager Bruce Bochy said.
Reds: Friedl was hit in the right upper arm by a pitch in the third inning.
Texas LHP Martín Pérez (3-1) is scheduled to face Cincinnati RHP Luke Weaver (0-1) in the second of the three-game series on Tuesday.
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