Sonny Gray, Jonathan India lift to win

MILWAUKEE – Sonny Gray woke up to a text from his college coach, Tim Corbin, at 6:45 a.m. Thursday. 

On this day, Gray always receives a morning text from Corbin. Gray's dad, Jesse, died in a car accident on Aug. 26, 2004. Jesse Gray was a Cincinnati Reds fan and the first Major League game Sonny attended as a kid was in Cincinnati, not far from their home near Nashville.

Gray has pitched three times on Aug. 26 in his big-league career. It's a special day, he says. His team has won all three games. And he was a big reason why the Reds avoided a sweep against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field. 

It was Gray’s second consecutive scoreless start, leading the Reds to a 5-1 victory in their final game of the regular season against Milwaukee. The Reds hold at least a one-game lead in the wild-card race over the San Diego Padres, who played the Dodgers late Thursday night.  

"It's really special to be able to pitch on this day," Gray said. "I had a big fan shining down on me today."

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Aug 26, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India (6) celebrates with center fielder Tyler Naquin (12) after hitting a 3-run homer in the fifth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Gray, who has a 13-inning scoreless streak, is pitching at his best during the most important part of the year. He struck out six, but just as impressive was his ability to keep Brewers hitters off balance. Gray had 25 called strikes across his six innings, his second-highest total this season.

The Brewers loaded the lineup with seven left-handed hitters. Gray didn’t allow a hit until Avisaíl García had a two-out single to left field in the fourth inning, retiring 16 of 18 after hitting Kolten Wong with his third pitch of the afternoon.

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