Moustakas, Gray lead Reds to 7-1 win on Opening Day

Tigers Reds Baseball
(AP Photo/Aaron Doster)
Tigers Reds Baseball
Tigers Reds Baseball
Posted at 8:57 PM, Jul 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-25 00:51:28-04

CINCINNATI — It was just the way the Reds envisioned it last winter.

Mike Moustakas had four RBI and fellow offseason signees Shogo Akiyama and Nick Castellanos had one apiece to back Sonny Gray's sterling pitching in a 7-1 Opening Day victory over the Detroit Tigers Friday night.

Moustakas had a two-run homer and two RBI singles in his Reds debut, which would have set off multiple choruses of "MOOOOOOSSS" if there had been any fans at Great American Ball Park.

(AP Photo/Aaron Doster)
Cincinnati Reds' Sonny Gray (54) throws in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Friday, July 24, 2020.

“We’re just so talented on the offensive side of the ball, it’s just scary,” Gray said afterward.

Gray was overpowering, striking out nine and allowing only three hits in six innings. The Reds tweeted that the right-hander also set a major-league record with his 34th straight start allowing six hits or fewer.

Joey Votto homered and had two hits.

“A lot of great things happened tonight,” manager David Bell said.

Moustakas, the new second baseman, had an RBI single in the Reds’ two-run first and followed a Castellanos double in the third with a run-scoring single. That hit drew cheers from the grounds crew seated alone in the stands beyond third base.

“It was definitely strange,” Moustakas said. “What was great was the grounds crew was out there cheering.”

In the seventh, right fielder Castellanos walked and Moustakas knocked him in again with a blast to right center.

The converted third baseman also made a diving stop behind second base to take away a likely single by Cameron Maybin in the fifth.

Tigers Reds Baseball
Cincinnati Reds' Shogo Akiyama (4) leaps to grab a ball hit by Detroit Tigers' Harold Castro (30) in the eighth inning during a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Friday, July 24, 2020. The Reds won 7-1.

Akiyama became the Reds’ first Japanese-born player when he pinch hit in the sixth with a 4-1 lead. Making his major-league debut, the former Japanese league star fell behind in the count 0-2, then singled up the middle, scoring Freddy Galvis from second.

Akiyama stayed in the game and made an outstanding catch in left field. Akiyama didn't start because the Tigers had a left-handed pitcher.

The Reds struck quickly in the first against Matthew Boyd, putting the first five batters on base and jumping to a 2-0 lead.

Philip Ervin walked, Votto singled, and Eugenio Suarez was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Boyd then hit Castellanos and Moustakas singled.

With no outs, the Reds had Boyd on the ropes. But Matt Davidson popped up to first (infield fly rule), Nick Senzel grounded into a 5-2 force at home and Galvis grounded to short.

Ahead 3-0, Gray made his only mistake when C.J. Kron crushed an upper-desk homer to left starting off fourth inning. But Votto got that back with a homer to right leading off the fifth.

Gray notched the 1,000th strikeout of his career when he fanned Maybin in the fifth.

Three Reds relievers - Lucas Sims, Pendleton County's Nate Jones and Brooks Raley - each pitched a hitless, shutout inning.

All the Tigers knelt while 15 Reds stayed on their feet during Major League Baseball’s pregame recognition of Black Lives Matter, which included a moment of silence. In all, eight players remained kneeling during the anthem.

SEE the box score.