Pendleton County native Nate Jones makes his Reds' debut with a seven pitch 8th inning
After 120 days and at 6:12 p.m. on Friday, July 24, Reds righthander Sonny Gray delivered a long-awaited first pitch to the Cincinnati Reds season. It was a two-seam fast ball which was a ball and the Reds 2020 season was finally underway.
Gray was able to retire the Tigers 1-2-3 and the Reds were able to score a run in their bottom of the first on an Phillip Irvin walk, Joey Votto single and two hitsbatman, Eugenio Suarez and Nicholas Castellanos. Mike Moustakas drove in a second run in his Reds debut with a single to right and the Reds would hold a 2-0 lead after the first inning of the season was complete.
Gray got the nod to start Opening Day off a strong staff that one national sportwriter listed as the third best rotation of starters in the major leagues. The other starters are Luis Castillo, Trevor Bauer and Anthony DeSclafani who will miss his first start and replaced by Wade Miley.
The Reds team is a national favorite to #TaketheCentral and they impressed in their opener.
Gray pitched six masterful innings striking out nine Tigers while allowing only three hits and two walks. Lucas Sims pitched the seventh and had two strikeouts.
In the 8th inning, what Pendleton County was waiting for, happened. The tall right-hander donned in a white Reds uniform with the number 57 on it made his way from the bullpen to the mound. Nate Jones was in the game.
While fans had waited for two plus hours, Jones made short work on the Tigers retiring all three batters on just seven pitches including a strikeout and a gold plus defensive play by Shogo Akiyama who is the first Japanese-born player to become a Cincinnati Red.
Brooks Raley closed the victory out with an easy 1-2-3 9th inning.
Offensively, the Reds had a mixture of walks, hits and homers en-route to scoring seven in the 7-1 victory to start the season with their newcomers contributing mightily.
Mike Moustakas went 3-4 with a mammoth home run and drove in four runs.
Akiyama had a hit and an RBI in his first at-bat with Nicholas Castellanos got on base three times scoring a run and driving in one.
Joey Votto is coming back from a season that he described as “awful” and showed that he could be in the MVP conversation with a 2-4 night including a home run.