Sonny Gray struck out nine over six strong innings, newcomer Mike Moustakas homered to highlight a three-hit, four-RBI game, and the Cincinnati Reds opened the shortened season with a 7-1 home rout of the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.
Joey Votto homered in the fifth inning for one of his two hits for the Reds, who are filled with lofty expectations — thanks to the additions of Moustakas and Nick Castellanos — while trying to reach the postseason for the first time since 2013.
In the opener, it was Gray and Moustakas who led the way.
The veteran right-hander topped the 1,000-career strikeout mark while allowing one run on three hits and two walks. Gray’s only blemish was a deep, solo homer by C.J. Cron in the fourth inning.
The Reds didn’t waste any time getting on the board, mostly taking advantage of control issues from Detroit starter Matthew Boyd in the first inning. After leadoff hitter Phillip Ervin walked, Votto singled and Eugenio Suarez and Castellanos were each hit by pitches. Moustakas’ single put Cincinnati up 2-0 before the home team surrendered an out.
Moustakas came through with another RBI single in the third to make it 3-0 and crushed a two-run homer to right field in the seventh to help Cincinnati break things open. Touted Japanese import Shogo Akiyama also had a run-scoring single in his Reds debut.
Three Cincinnati relievers combined to throw three hitless innings while striking out four.
Castellanos finished 1-for-2 with a double and an RBI.
Cron’s mammoth homer to the upper deck in left field was the offensive highlight for the Tigers, who are not expected to be much of a factor amid a rebuild following their 114-loss 2019 season. Boyd yielded four runs on six hits in five innings, walking two and fanning two.
Prior to the first pitch, players from both teams knelt while holding a black ribbon in support of MLB’s “United For Change” initiative, which includes recognition of the Black Lives Matter movement. Several players from both clubs continued to kneel during the playing of the national anthem.
-Field Level Media