CINCINNATI (AP) — Slumping Jesse Winker hit a three-run homer — one of four off White Sox starter Jonathan Stiever — and the Cincinnati Reds extended their surge into playoff contention with a 7-1 win Friday night for their season-high sixth victory in a row.
The Reds moved to .500 (26-26) for the first time since Aug. 3. They’ve had a winning record only once, after their season-opening victory over the Tigers. Their winning streak has them in playoff position, in second place in the NL Central behind the Cubs.
Chicago arrived in town a few hours after a long-awaited breakthrough.
The AL Central-leading White Sox clinched their first playoff berth since 2008 with a win over the Twins on Thursday night. They have the AL’s best record and much bigger goal of a division title.
Their momentum hit a snag as Stiever (0-1) got hit hard in his first major league road appearance. The 23-year-old right-hander allowed Winker’s shot and solo homers by Joey Votto, Nick Castellanos and Tucker Barnhart.
Winker’s homer in the third made it 6-0 and ended his career-high 0-for-23 slump.
Stiever made his debut against Detroit on Sept. 13 and allowed one run and two hits over 3 2/3 innings. The Reds piled up five hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings.
Tyler Mahle (2-2) got his first win since Aug. 28, allowing four hits and fanning eight in 5 2/3 innings. Chicago managed only one run out of a bases-loaded, none-out opportunity in the sixth.
Chicago left-hander Garrett Crochet, the 11th overall pick in the 2020 draft, was added to the roster pregame. He made his debut in the sixth and retired the side in order, fanning two with a fastball that topped out at 101 mph. He’ll pitch out of the bullpen for now.
Despite the loss, the White Sox lead the series 17-7, including an 11-5 mark at Great American Ball Park.
“It was a very bright moment, certainly not the brightest moment we anticipate for this club or hope to see for this club over the next several months or next several years, but it was a momentous event and something that needs to be celebrated, especially in these times right now.” — White Sox GM Rick Hahn, on clinching a playoff spot.
White Sox: RHP Evan Marshall went on the 10-day injured list with a sore right shoulder. RHP Ian Hamilton was designated for assignment.
Reds: 3B Eugenio Suárez returned from the three-day paternity list. RH R.J. Alaniz was optioned. OF Nick Williams cleared waivers and was outrighted to the alternate training site.
White Sox: LHP Dallas Keuchel (6-2) hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last two starts. He’s 0-0 in two career starts against the Reds and will be making his first appearance at Great American Ball Park.
Reds: Trevor Bauer (4-3) has allowed two earned runs in three September starts. He’s 8-5 career against the White Sox in 20 games.