CINCINNATI (AP) Stuart Fairchild and Matt McLain hit two-run homers in the fourth inning and Cincinnati handed Cleveland’s Noah Syndergaard his first loss in 10 career starts against the Reds with a 7-2 victory over the Guardians on Wednesday night.
TJ Friedl had three hits, scored three runs and made two spectacular catches in center field to back rookie left-hander Andrew Abbott (8-3) and help the Reds split the two-game Ohio Cup series. They are due to play Sept. 26-27 in Cleveland.
“Friedl was a huge factor,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "He scored three and took away two. He was all over the place tonight.
The sloppy Guardians committed a season-high four errors.
Abbott (8-3) didn’t walk anybody while giving up six hits and two runs with five strikeouts in five innings.
Friedl saved Abbott a two-run homer when he leaped above the fence to rob Ramón Laureano and end the third. Friedl followed by flagging down Oscar Gonzalez’s drive one step before crashing into the wall to start the fourth.
“We practiced that today," Friedl said. “We literally lined up in shallow right field and set up the machine. While the pitchers and infielders were doing PFP (pitchers fielding practice), we were working on robbing home runs.”
“Friedl’s catch was just sick," McLain said. "That’s all I’ve got to say. When he hit it I was like, ‘I think that’s gone.’ Then I saw him track it and it will be close. He just went up and robbed it. It was cool.”
“I asked TJ if he could dunk after that,” manager David Bell said. "He said he could if he could palm the ball. He really got up. He’s always looking to make a difference in the game and then his ability takes over, but it all starts with his desire to do something to help us win a game.”
Friedl couldn’t track down Gabriel Arias’s 429-foot drive to center on Abbott's changeup leading off the fifth.
Reds relievers Fernando Cruz, Sam Moll, Derek Law and Alan Busenitz combined to allow three hits in four shutout innings.
Syndergaard (2-6), acquired from the Dodgers on July 26, lasted 4 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and six runs, five earned, with two walks and three strikeouts while falling to 7-1 against the Reds.
“They capitalized on poor execution," he said. "It felt like I was pitching on ice. Every time I would try to use my legs, they would slip out underneath me. I had issues gripping the ball today. I had multiple changeups where I had no grip on the ball.”
Cincinnati (63-59), which surpassed its 2022 win total, went into the game tied with the Cubs for third in the NL Central. Cleveland (58-63) was second in the AL Central, 4 1/2 games behind Minnesota.
Fairchild gave the Reds a 3-1 fourth inning lead with a towering, 427-foot shot deep into the lower deck in left field off Syndergaard's 1-1 slider with Christian Encarnación-Strand on base following a leadoff single.
Following Friedl’s two-out single, McLain lined a 2-2 changeup 377 feet into the seats down the left field line. He finished with three hits and three RBIs.
“It is fun when you contribute like that to a win. It was just good to get back on track and back to my approach. That is all I’m trying to do. For it to show up today was a good feeling for me.”
Brayan Rocchio originally was ruled safe at first after scrambling back following second baseman Matt McLain’s catch of Gabriel Arias’s second inning line drive, but Rocchio overran the base. When the ball got past Joey Votto, Rocchio took off for second without retouching first. The Reds successfully challenged the safe call.
The Reds designated RHP Luke Weaver for assignment and recalled RHP Alan Busenitz from Triple-A Louisville.
Guardians: RHP Cal Quantrill (right shoulder inflammation) will meet with team officials Thursday to determine his next start after allowing one run on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings for Double-A Akron on Tuesday… C Cam Gallagher left the game after two innings for tests for a potential head injury.
Reds: INF Jonathan India (left foot plantar fasciitis) has been cleared to take batting practice and is scheduled for another MRI on August 24. … RHP Hunter Greene (right hip) is scheduled to make on Sunday his first start since June 17.
Guardians: RHP Xzavion Curry (3-1, 3.39, 46 strikeouts) is Cleveland’s scheduled starter Thursday at home against Detroit.
Reds: The starter Friday at home against Toronto remains to be determined.
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