8 straight! Cincinnati Reds sweep defending champs, head home on a roll

Cincinnati Reds' Jonathan India (6) celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against the...
Cincinnati Reds' Jonathan India (6) celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against the Houston Astros during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 17, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)(David J. Phillip | AP)
Published: Jun. 19, 2023 at 8:43 AM EDT
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HOUSTON (WXIX) - Jake Fraley wasted no time in his return Sunday from the injured list to add his own magic dust to the Cincinnati Reds midsummer fairy tale.

On his first swing back from a bruised wrist, the outfielder slugged a second-inning home run. And after yet another comeback by the lineup to take an eighth-inning lead, he leaped at the left-field wall to rob Alex Bregman of extra bases and end the eighth.

Then he added a run-scoring grounder to cap the Reds’ big 10th inning that put away the Houston Astros 9-7 as the Reds pulled off one of the unlikeliest sweeps in the majors this year to take their longest winning streak in more than a decade back home into a weeklong homestand against the Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves.

“I don’t know that,” Bell said after sweeping despite committing to full rest for closer Alexis Diaz Saturday and Sunday. “But today’s game was special.

“I don’t know if it’s my favorite win,” he said. “but it was a good win, let’s put it that way.”.

It was the Reds’ National League-leading 23rd come-from-behind victory, two off the Baltimore Orioles’ MLB lead.

They trailed 5-2 before Spencer Steer capped a three-run sixth with a two-run homer.

And Jonathan India’s second home run in as many days — this one a one-out, solo shot in the eighth — gave the Reds the lead two innings later before the Astros tied it up in a loud ninth inning against Ian Gibaut, with closer Alexis Diaz unavailable.

Their eight-game winning streak is the longest active streak in the majors and the Reds’ longest since a 10-game streak in July 2012 — when they went on to win the National League Central.

Sunday’s victory, the Reds’ 16th in 22 games, matched their high-water mark of two games over .500 this season (last done when they were 3-1).

“I saw it early in spring training. I knew something special was going to happen this year,” said India, who was hit by a pitch during the three-run 10th inning Sunday. “Now we’re just playing with momentum and rolling. We’re a very good team.”

A team that lost 100 games last year. A team that started 7-15 this year. A team that remains just a half-game out of first place, behind the Milwaukee Brewers as they open this homestand.

Underdogs for sure.

“I like the underdog term,” India said. “I like the David vs. Goliath. I like to be the David. It fuels us more so we’re just going to keep using that and play the game the right way.”

The Reds scored the go-ahead run in the 10th on a throwing error by third baseman Alex Bregman, and Elly De La Cruz added a run-scoring single to finish off a nine-pitch at-bat before Fraley drove in the final run.

Now, the Reds head home with elder statesman, leader and former MVP Joey Votto ready to return Monday from his 10-month comeback from shoulder surgery.

“It’s incredible, Fraley said of Votto. “It just keeps getting better.”

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