Reds 3, Indians 2: Home runs doom Indians in loss

The Associated Press
Cleveland Indians' Zach Plesac (34) reacts to a two-run home run by Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto during the sixth inning during a baseball game in Cincinnati, Monday, Aug. 3, 2020.

CINCINNATI — Joey Votto hit a two-run, go-ahead homer, Nick Castellanos also homered and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Indians 3-2 Monday night.

The Indians played again without ill manager Terry Francona.

Sonny Gray shook off a tough start to the game to complete six strong innings, and the Reds ended a six-game home losing streak against their in-state rival.

Votto snapped an 0-for-11 skid when he followed Shogo Akiyama’s leadoff single in the sixth with a no-doubt shot off Zach Plesac (0-1). Votto, the 2010 National League Most Valuable Player sat out a doubleheader Sunday after self-reporting coronavirus symptoms, but he was cleared to return to the lineup Monday and hit his third homer following a negative test.

Grounds crew seated behind first base cheered and played instruments — some provided by Votto — as he rounded the bases, and Votto pointed to the fan section after touching home plate.

Francona missed his second consecutive game and the first of four Reds-Indians games while dealing in Cleveland with a gastrointestinal condition not believed to be connected to COVID-19. First base and catching coach Sandy Alomar managed in Francona’s absence.

The series shifts on Wednesday to Cleveland for the final two games.

The Indians led 2-0 after two innings, scoring as many runs off Gray as they scored while losing three in a row over the weekend in Minnesota.

Gray (3-0) gave up two hits in the first inning, including Francisco Lindor’s third home run of the season, a two-out line drive into the right field seats for a 1-0 lead.

Gray’s control problems led to the Indians’ second-inning run. Oscar Mercado singled softly to center field, advanced to second on Gray’s errant pickoff throw and came around to score on two wild pitches.

Gray retired 12 consecutive batters before Lindor singled with one out in the fifth. He allowed four hits and two runs, one earned, with two walks and eight strikeouts.

Michael Lorenzen pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, Nate Jones struck out Lindor with two outs and the tying run at third in the eighth, and Raisel Iglesias pitched the ninth for the Reds’ first 2020 save.

Plesac extended his shutout streak to 11 innings over two starts this season before Castellanos lined a shot into the left-center seats for his fifth homer leading off the fourth inning. Plesac allowed four hits and three runs with one walk and six strikeouts in seven innings.

Training room

Indians: Catcher Roberto Pérez (right shoulder strain) will be re-examined Tuesday ... Outfielder Delino Deshields (unavailable) and outfielder Tyler Naquin (hairline fracture of right big toe) had scheduled game activity at Cleveland’s alternate training site rained out Monday. They’ll try again Tuesday.

Reds: Center fielder Nick Senzel was scratched from the original starting lineup with a sprained left ring finger. He was hurt sliding into second base on Sunday in Detroit.

Up next

Indians: Right-hander Shane Bieber (2-0) has piled up a combined 14 scoreless innings over his first two 2020 starts, striking out 27.

Reds: Right-hander Tyler Mahle starts on Tuesday in place of left-hander Wade Miley, who went on the 10-day injured list on Friday with a left groin injury.

Cincinnati Reds' Nicholas Castellanos (2) celebrates his solo home run with teammate Eugenio Suarez (7) in the fourth inning during a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Cincinnati, Monday, Aug. 3, 2020.