BOSTON -- Already playing with a lineup missing three regular contributors, and having to add a designated hitter for Interleague Play at Fenway Park, the Reds were quite shorthanded on Tuesday night vs. the Red Sox.
But this was a game that could have been won, and the Reds knew it. In a game where both clubs missed early chances repeatedly, the Red Sox handed Cincinnati a 4-3 loss in 12 innings on Grady Sizemore's walk-off RBI single off the Green Monster.
"We've been beat up from Day 1. It's no excuse," said left fielder Ryan Ludwick, who had a double and sacrifice fly. "That's baseball. Some teams get hurt. Some teams don't. Unfortunately, we've caught a couple of bad breaks as far as guys with injuries."
The Reds lacked Jay Bruce, who was on the disabled list and Billy Hamilton, who is dealing with two sprained left knuckles. Brayan Pena did not start behind the plate in favor of rookie Tucker Barnhart. Rookie Neftali Soto, now 2-for-27 in the big leagues, was the DH.
"These guys don't want any sorrow from anybody. None of us do," said manager Bryan Price, who has had a big league high 11 players on the DL this season. "We're not going to lower our standards or our expectations and say, 'We're not supposed to win against the better teams because we're a little banged up.' It was a disappointing loss. It was a game that was winnable and we didn't win it."
While the Red Sox were 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position and stranded 13 in the win, the Reds were 3-for-10 RISP and left 10 men on base.
Boston had a 3-1 lead when the game became a battle of the bullpens in the later innings. The Reds had been retired five in a row before getting to reliever Junichi Tazawa in the top of the eighth for two runs. Joey Votto drew a one-out walk and Brandon Phillips scorched a liner down the left-field line for a double. Todd Frazier's hard single lined to left field scored Votto and Phillips plated the tying run on Ludwick's sacrifice fly to right field.
After Tazawa, Koji Uehara survived Barnhart's ninth-inning warning track drive to right field for a 375-foot out and then left runners on the corners in an inning where the Reds turned to Hamilton to pinch-hit for Soto and sacrifice bunt. Hamilton later tried unsuccessfully push-bunting for a hit in the 11th inning.
Following 1 1/3 of scoreless innings by J.J. Hoover, Manny Parra gave the Reds a scoreless frame. Sam LeCure took over for Parra with one out in the bottom of the ninth and gave up a single to Dustin Pedroia, who was caught stealing. Following two-out walks to Shane Victorino and David Ortiz, LeCure escaped and then retired the side in order in the 10th. Logan Ondrusek gave up a two-out double to Pedroia in the 11th but kept the game going into the 12th.
Ortiz scorched a leadoff single off Ondrusek through the shift into right-center field. Next was Mike Napoli, who shot a single past diving shortstop Zack Cozart up the middle. Then, Sizemore ended the game.
Back in late January, the Reds thought they had Sizemore all but locked up to make his comeback in Cincinnati after two seasons out of baseball because of knee injuries. Then at the last moment, Sizemore jumped on a deal with the Red Sox. On Tuesday to cap a game that stretched over four hours, he burned his former suitor.
"I kind of turned that page," Sizemore said. "You know, it's one of those things where, this is my team, this is what I'm focused on, and just kind of moving forward."
Reds starter Homer Bailey wasn't crisp, but he got through six innings and allowed three runs and five hits while he walked five (one intentional) and struck out five. It was good enough for a quality start and a no-decision.
Bailey's evening began with a four-pitch walk to Pedroia and the laboring continued intermittently after Pedroia scored on a Napoli groundout. The third inning was an eight-batter battle where a walk to Napoli with the bases loaded put Boston ahead, 2-1. Sizemore's single into right field scored Pedroia for the two-run lead before Bailey skirted further damage.
"They had some really good at-bats. Of course, I was kind of all over the place and they took advantage of it," Bailey said. "I had several walks, which is kind of uncharacteristic of me. I just didn't have the right feel tonight. It was just one of those games that I had to grind out."
Red Sox lefty Felix Doubront wasn't much more efficient than Bailey, with 97 pitches over 5 1/3 innings, but he managed to minimize Reds threats. In the top of the second, Skip Schumaker notched his first hit and RBI as a Red with a single up the middle, but chances to add on were foiled.
"I think any time you lose a game, you think about missed opportunities," Ludwick said. "Obviously, it's tough when you play extra innings. Guys always want to win those games. It's a momentum builder a lot of times. It's a tough one. We've got another one tomorrow."