Rookie escapes inherited jam in clutch 5-out save

CINCINNATI — Reds rookie reliever Alexis Díaz had yet to inherit a bases-loaded situation in the big leagues this season. That changed on Sunday afternoon when he was needed in the eighth inning with one out to avert a crisis created by Hunter Strickland. 

High leverage? High intensity? Yes and yes. For Díaz, however, it proved to be no problem. He struck out two batters in the eighth inning to leave the bases full and two more in the ninth to complete a five-out save as the Reds held on for an 8-5 victory over Chicago. 

“My mindset was not letting a run score in that inning. I was out there ready to attack the hitters and sure enough, I was able to get out of there,” Díaz said via translator Jorge Merlos after his team snapped a five-game losing streak.

It had been a back-and-forth game as Reds starter Justin Dunn surrendered a lead twice by giving up five earned runs — with three home runs — over 3 2/3 innings. It was 5-5 in the fifth inning when the Reds scored three runs on Jose Barrero ‘s RBI single to left field and a two-run double to right-center field by No. 9 hitter Austin Romine .

The bullpen worked 5 1/3 scoreless innings, but the game nearly went off the rails for the Reds in the top of the eighth inning. Strickland, who has been used in the…

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