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Cincinnati Reds sweep Detroit Tigers in pair of 7-inning games

Tigers center fielder Victor Reyes catches a fly ball hit by the Cincinnati Reds Nick Senzel in the fifth inning of the second game of their doubleheader in Detroit on Sunday. (AP photo)

By DAVE HOGG

Associated Press

DETROIT — Trevor Bauer made short work of the Detroit Tigers, throwing a two-hit shutout in Cincinnati’s 4-0 victory Sunday that gave the Reds a sweep of Major League Baseball’s first seven-inning doubleheader.

Shogo Akiyama hit an RBI single in the top of the seventh that sent the Reds to a 4-3 win in the opener.

MLB recently decided to use doubleheaders of seven-inning games, which have been commonplace in the minor leagues and colleges, to help teams alleviate an expected crush of twinbills caused by weather and coronavirus-related postponements. The Reds-Tigers game was rained out Saturday.

Bauer was furious Saturday with the late decision to delay that game — but the postponement meant he only had to throw seven innings for his shutout Sunday. He finished with 111 pitches.

Matt Davidson had an RBI single in the first inning and Aristides Aquino added another in the second against Detroit starter Daniel Norris (0-1). Christian Colon added a two-run single in the seventh to give Bauer a four-run cushion.

At one point in the first game, Cincinnati starter Anthony DeSclafani forgot the teams were only playing seven innings.

“When the Tigers scored those three runs to tie the game in the sixth, I was thinking we still had three innings left to win the game,” DeSclafani said. “I don’t even remember the last time I played a seven-inning game.”

Nick Castellanos homered twice to drive in three runs for the Reds in the opener against his former team. But his three-base error in right field with the bases loaded in the sixth allowed Detroit to tie it.

Reliever Tyler Alexander had kept the Tigers in it by striking out the first nine batters he faced, tying the American League record for consecutive strikeouts. His streak ended in the top of the sixth, one short of Tom Seaver’s major league record, when he hit Mike Moustakas with a 1-2 pitch. Moustakas left the game with a forearm injury.

The start of the first game was delayed more than two hours because of rain. Then the game took 2 hours, 25 minutes. The second game went 2:36.

With the score tied and the new doubleheader rules in place, Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire brought in closer Joe Jimenez (0-1) to start the seventh inning of the opener.

Freddy Galvis led off with a double, took third on Tucker Barnhart’s single and scored on Akiyama’s bouncer through the drawn-in infield.

Raisel Iglesias (1-1) got the final out of the sixth before pitching a scoreless seventh.