Tyler Stephenson steps up, Cincinnati Reds beat Cardinals

It's not supposed to be as easy as Cincinnati Reds rookie catcher Tyler Stephenson makes it look. 

Here he was with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the eighth inning Friday. With the score tied, Stephenson was in the batter's box against St. Louis Cardinals reliever Giovanny Gallegos and he wouldn't give in. 

Stephenson fouled three straight pitches, one inside fastball, one fastball down the middle and one slider away. This is a reliever who has held right-handed hitters to a .120 batting average all year. 

On the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Stephenson didn't try to do too much. He powered an elevated fastball into center field, deep enough for a sacrifice fly. Kyle Farmer scored from third for the go-ahead run and the Reds completed their comeback for a 6-5 win against the Cardinals at Great American Ball Park. 

"He’s a young player that is playing beyond his years," Reds manager David Bell said, "and it’s exciting. You don’t see it very often, those types of at-bats for a young hitter."

More:Why ACC Network analyst Danny Graves was so impressed with the Reds' draft class

Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson (37) hits in Kyle Farmer from third for the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning of the MLB National League game between the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park in downtown Cincinnati on Friday, July 23, 2021. The Reds won 6-5 in game one of the weekend series.

The Reds battled back from a two-run deficit in the seventh inning to earn their fifth consecutive victory against the Cardinals. The Reds are 1 ½ games ahead of St. Louis for second place in the National League Central standings.

It was Stephenson who started the comeback in the seventh inning with a leadoff single against Cardinals reliever Ryan Helsley. Then one inning later, he completed it. 

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