CINCINNATI — CINCINNATI (AP) — Rookie Connor Phillips pitched three-hit ball in seven innings for his first major league victory, Will Benson drove in three runs and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Minnesota Twins 7-3 on Monday in a game with postseason implications. for both teams.
Cincinnati (79-73) won for the fifth time in seven games and trails Chicago (78-72) by .0003 in the fight for the final NL wild card spot, both half a game behind Arizona (79-72). ). Miami (78-73) fell half a game behind the Reds, losing 2-1 to the New York Mets.
“It was a great start for our team,” Reds coach David Bell said. “We talked about how important these games are. That’s a team that hits well there. It was an important match. Going deeper into the game gave our bullpen a little break. In many ways, it was a great start.”
Minnesota (79-72), closing in on its third division title in five years, held a seven-game lead over second-place Cleveland in the AL Central with 11 games remaining.
Spencer Steer had three hits and Joey Votto capped a three-run seventh with a two-run single off Dallas Keuchel.
Phillips (1-0), a 22-year-old right-hander making his major league debut, had not gone more than five innings in either of his first two major league starts. He allowed solo home runs to Royce Lewis in the fourth and Alex Kirilloff in the seventh.
“Tonight everything fell into place,” he said. “I was able to get ahead early. Whenever I do that, the results are usually pretty good.”
Phillips matched his season high with seven strikeouts and walked one. He threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of 26 batters.
“We couldn’t get much against Phillips,” said Twins bench coach Jayce Tingler, filling in as interim manager while Rocco Baldelli is on paternity leave. “Give him some credit.”
Derek Law and Alex Young finished with five hits.
Joe Ryan (10-10) fell to 1-4 in his last seven starts, allowing four runs, five hits and three walks in five innings.
“You have to make good pitches in good times, and I didn’t do that tonight,” Ryan said. “It’s frustrating. If I put the ball in better places, it’s a totally different output.”
An RBI single by Noelvi Marte and a sacrifice fly by Benson built a 2-0 lead in the second. Michael A. Taylor, fresh off the disabled list after missing 14 games with a right hamstring strain, jumped up and gloved Benson’s drive off the top of the center field wall.
Benson increased the lead to 4-1 in the fourth with his 11th home run, a 404-foot, two-run shot to right-center field.
“I’ve seen him do that before,” Benson said of Taylor’s jump. “On the second one, he was yelling, ‘You can’t steal that one.'”
Steer singled and drove in a run in the seventh.
A walk leading off the second inning set up a two-run inning for the Reds and Ryan walked Noelvi Marte with two outs before Benson’s home run.
“I thought, mostly, his stuff was fine,” Tingler said. “It was good, but we couldn’t cover the walks.”
Minnesota INF Kyle Farmer was honored before the game as Cincinnati’s 2022 Most Valuable Player and with an award for his media cooperation.
NEXT GENERATION TWINS
Baldelli and his wife Allie welcomed their twins on Sunday, the day he left the team to return home for the births.
Twins: INF Carlos Correa left after an inning with aggravation of plantar fasciitis in his left leg. … OF Jordan Luplow was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Taylor.
Reds: OF Sturt Fairchild and LHP Alex Young returned from rehab assignments and were activated from the COVID-19 injured list. … OF Harrison Bader (right groin strain) was placed on the 10-day disabled list. … OF Hunter Renfroe was designated for assignment. … RHP Vladimir Gutierrez is scheduled to have surgery Wednesday to remove bone chips in his already surgically repaired right elbow.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Twins RHP Kenta Maeda (5-7, 4.50, 104 strikeouts) and Reds RHP Fernando Cruz (1-1, 4.05) are scheduled to start Tuesday night.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB
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