The Cincinnati Reds outlasted the Tampa Bay Rays for a bizarre 2-1, walk-off win in 10 innings on Friday night. The game ended on a balk called against Rays reliever Matt Wisler with pinch-runner Mark Kolozsvary advancing from third for the game-winning run at Great American Ball Park.
It was the 23rd time a team won a game on a walk-off balk since 1920, according to Elias Sports Bureau, and the second time it’s happened in Reds history to the delight of the crowd of 26,529. A balk by Ernie Broglio helped the Reds to a win over the Chicago Cubs on April 28, 1965.
It was the first walk-off balk in MLB since 2018.
Wisler, running through the signs with his catcher in a 1-2 count vs. Tyler Naquin with one out, tapped his glove on his leg to ask for another pitch selection and he was immediately called for a balk. Fireworks went off as Kolozsvary jogged to the plate and Reds players streamed out of the dugout.
“I have no idea what (Wisler) did,” Kolozsvary said. “I was kind of focused on other things. It was a really good feeling to celebrate with the guys.”
Wisler said tapping his leg with his glove is “a move I’ve made lots of times. I tap my leg when I want a sign. I feel like I’ve done that lots of times. I’m a big leg-tapper.
“I would like to have had a chance to make pitches instead of losing it that way.”
“I didn’t see the balk at all, but we’ll take it,” Reds manager David Bell said. “I’d rather think about getting to that point. So many good things happened. We played a great game to be able to be in the position to win it.”
Before the balk-off, it was shortstop Kyle Farmer who played the hero in the extra inning. With runners on the corners and no outs in the top of the 10th inning, Farmer fielded a ground ball and threw out a runner at the plate.
“I owe him a drink,” Reds pitcher Joel Kuhnel said.
“You can strategize all you want,” Bell said. “I try to put guys in the right position, a lot going into that. It really comes down to players making plays.”
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Farmer completed the top half of the inning with an unassisted double play after catching a soft line drive behind the second-base bag.
The Reds went the first three months of the season without a walk-off win and now they have three in the last six days.
Contributing: Associated Press