Nick Senzel belted a two-run homer in the ninth inning to lift the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-3 win and complete a three-game sweep of the visiting Texas Rangers on Wednesday afternoon
Senzel's blast to left field off Texas right-hander Jonathan Hernandez (0-1) was Cincinnati's first home run of any kind in eight games. It snapped the franchise's longest homerless drought in 31 years and marked the first walk-off shot since Nick Castellanos in September 2021.
Kevin Newman reached on a throwing error from shortstop Josh Smith before the Senzel game-winning long ball.
Cincinnati starter Graham Ashcraft allowed just two runs and three hits over six strong innings just two days after the death of his 82-year-old grandmother Ann Ashcraft. She was a Rangers fan until her grandson was drafted by Cincinnati in 2019
Arriving at the dugout after completing the sixth inning, a teary-eyed Ashcraft received hugs from players and coaches in the dugout -- including a long embrace from pitching coach Derek Johnson.
But the Cincinnati bullpen, which had been a big reason for the come-from-behind wins in the first two games, could not preserve the win for Ashcraft.
Jonah Heim opened the ninth inning with a double to right field past a diving Jake Fraley. Robbie Grossman poked a soft single into the hole on the left side of the infield to put runners on the corners with none out. Lucas Sims relieved Ian Gibaut and allowed a Brad Miller sacrifice fly to center that scored pinch-runner Bubba Thompson to tie the game at 3-3.
Sims (1-0) allowed only the inherited runner at third base to score and picked up his first win.
The Reds scored twice off Rangers starter Jon Gray in the second inning after Tyler Stephenson doubled and scored on a one-out triple by Henry Ramos. Newman followed with an RBI fielder's choice to third
Gray was charged with three runs and four hits over six innings while recording career strikeout No. 1,000 to end the fifth inning.
Travis Jankowski, who dove unsuccessfully on the warning track for a triple by Ramos in the second, left in the fourth inning with tightness left hip.
Ezequiel Duran replaced Josh Jung at third base after the latter was hit by an Ashcraft fastball in the second inning. X-rays were negative for Jung, who sustained a left hand contusion.
--Field Level Media