CINCINNATI (AP) — C.J. Cron hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the ninth inning, and the Detroit Tigers got to Cincinnati’s bullpen for the second straight day in a 3-2 victory over the Reds on Sunday.
Miguel Cabrera led off with a 10-pitch walk before Cron connected against Michael Lorenzen (0-1), sending an opposite-field drive deep to right.
“Those guys — (Cron) and (Jonathan Schoop) and Miggy— they’re run-producers,” Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said. “They’re legit. When they’re looking for a pitch and get it, they hit it a long way. It’s all about coming up big in big moments.”
The Reds got one back when Freddy Galvis and Aristides Aquino opened the bottom half with consecutive doubles. Aquino advanced to third on Curt Casali’s fly ball to center, but Joe Jiménez got Joey Votto to bounce into a game-ending double play for his second save in two days.
“We took two out of three against probably the best pitching staff we’ll face all year,” Cron said. “That’s a big confidence-boost going home.”
José Cisneros (1-0) pitched the eighth for the win.
Cincinnati played without second baseman Mike Moustakas and center fielder Nick Senzel after each player was scratched. Moustakas was placed on the injured list because he wasn’t feeling well, according to manager David Bell. Senzel also reported feeling sick.
The moves came a day after Reds infielder Matt Davidson went on the injured list because he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Cincinnati wasted a terrific pitching performance for the second straight game. Trevor Bauer matched a career high by striking out 13 in 6 1/3 innings.
Luis Castillo struck out 11 and handed a 3-1 lead over to Cincinnati’s bullpen on Saturday. But Robert Stephenson, Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias allowed home runs in what became a 6-4 victory for the Tigers.
Wasting such efforts isn’t Lorenzen’s main concern.
“Just losing games is tough, no matter what the situation is or what’s gong on,” he said.
Cron also went deep in Detroit’s 7-1 loss on opening day, making a nice first impression after signing with the Tigers in free agency.
The Tigers jumped in front in the series finale on Niko Goodrum’s third-inning homer. But Votto responded with a tying RBI single in the fifth.
Spencer Turnbull pitched five effective innings for Detroit in his first start since he went 3-17 with a 4.61 ERA last season. He struck out eight and issued four walks.
When Bauer was lifted, he pantomimed a repeat of last season’s infamous throw to center field after he was pulled from a game while he was with Cleveland.
“Having fun,” he said. “Trying to keep the game light and entertaining for the fans. I get worn out about it a lot. Everyone on Twitter is like, ‘Go throw the ball over center field like a baby’ or ‘Have ánother tempter tantrum’ or whatever the case is, so I figured I’d give the trolls something to chew on.”
Detroit center fielder JaCoby Jones robbed Curt Casali of at least a double with a leaping catch before crashing into the wall. Jones fell to the ground and did a backward somersault before getting to his feet.
Jones also hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning of Saturday’s victory.