Cincinnati — Matthew Boyd’s return to the rotation hit a speed bump Saturday night.
Staked to a 3-0 lead by Eric Haase’s 20th home run of the season in the top of the third inning, Boyd gave it all back and more in the bottom of the third as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Detroit Tigers 7-4 and evened the interleague series on a rainy night at Great American Ball Park.
Boyd, in his second start since coming off the injured list, was having efficiency issues right from the start. Pitching in a steady drizzle, he needed 47 pitches to get through the first two innings, though he only allowed one hit, with two walks.
The Reds locked in on him in the third.
With one out, Tyler Stephenson singled, Nick Castellanos doubled and Joey Votto singled in the first run. Eugenio Suarez’s sacrifice fly brought home the second. The knockout blow came one batter later.
Aristides Aquino ambushed a first-pitch slider from Boyd and lined it into the seats in left — a three-run homer.
Boyd ended up throwing 83 pitches in four innings, tagged with the five runs and seven hits. He did line an opposite-field single in the fourth inning, though, his second hit this season.
Haase had hit just one home run since Aug. 1 and had been stuck on 19 homers since Aug. 13. But with two on in the third, he turned around a 96-mph fastball from Reds starter Tyler Mahle and sent it 408 feet into the stands in left.
The ball left his bat with an exit velocity of 107 mph.
He is the first Tiger who has caught at least 60% of their games to hit 20 home runs in a season since Mickey Tettleton did it in 1992.
The Tigers cut the Reds lead to one in the top of the fifth, and a great defensive play by second baseman Jonathan India prevented further damage. With the bases loaded and one out, catcher Dustin Garneau worked a nine-pitch walk from Mahle.
He fouled off three high fastballs with the count full before earning the walk and the RBI that cut the deficit to 5-4.
Derek Hill followed with a skidding ground ball to the right side of the infield. India moved quickly to his left and made a sliding stop of the ball on the wet ground, spun on his knees and threw out the speedy Hill at first. He saved two runs.
It was also the Tigers’ last threat. Relievers Lucas Sims (one inning) and Michael Lorenzen (two) and Mychal Givens (one) shut the Tigers down the rest of the way.
The Reds widened the gap in the seventh, cashing in on two walks by reliever Joe Jimenez. With two outs, pinch-hitter Tyler Naquin brought both runners home with a triple into the right-field corner.
Jimenez threw a slider down and off the plate, but Naquin was able to drop the barrel on it and hook it down the line past a diving Miguel Cabrera.
Right-hander Drew Carlton, whose contract was purchased from Toledo Saturday, made his big-league debut, ending the seventh on one pitch, getting Delino DeShields to fly out to right fielder Robbie Grossman.