If the Reds miss the playoffs by one game, it will be a loss that will haunt them.
Cincinnati lost 13-12 at home to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night, moving into a nine-point lead that left the Reds 2.5 games behind in the wild-card race with just six games remaining on the schedule.
The rally in Pittsburgh was the largest in the team’s 142-year history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
According to MLB.com, the team is 0-819 in this situation.
MLB teams leading by at least nine points entering Saturday are 205-0 this season, the Pirates said on Twitter.
According to USA Today, the Reds lost a nine-point lead for the first time in 19 years.
“It’s been an incredible year for our bullpen, but it’s also been a real challenge,” Reds reliever Fernando Cruz said, according to USA Today. “We’ve definitely been forced to do a lot. Get the word out. We have the ability to do it. We work hard. We’ve built a really good culture here.
“Today, we were just devastated.”
Cincinnati led 9-0 entering the fourth inning on Saturday night and dealt a potentially fatal blow to their playoff hopes.
The Reds trailed by one point in the fourth quarter but still led 9-1 heading into the sixth quarter.
Starter Connor Phillips and reliever Alex Young combined to give up five runs in the inning, and the score suddenly became 9-6.
Cruz loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh inning and was replaced by Lucas Sims, who promptly gave up Alfonso Rivas’ game-tying double.
“I can’t do my job,” Cruz told USA Today. “I feel bad. It’s time to give back to the team and get out of this dangerous situation we’re in. We couldn’t do that. It cost us the game.”
The Pirates then allowed a run and two singles against closer Alexis Diaz (brother of Mets closer Edwin Diaz), allowing the Pirates to The team took a stunning lead 10-9 in the eighth inning.
The Pirates extended their lead to 13-9, but the Reds scored two runs in the bottom of the inning to narrow the gap to 13-11 entering the ninth inning.
Cincinnati put men on second and third with no outs in the ninth against Carmen Mlodzinski, but Elly De La Cruz Cruz tied the score at 13-12 on third and one out.
Mlodzinski ended the game on a Jonathan India fly ball to center.
“This bullpen has made a huge difference in every game all season long,” Diaz said, according to USA Today. “That’s why we’re here at this moment. We’re in a crunch time right now. . We knew we had to forget everything that happened in this game and move on.”
The Reds are now three games behind the Cubs, holders of the third wild-card spot, among the losers and now have just a 7.6 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to Fangraphs.
Cincinnati has lost four straight games and will complete those three games on Sunday before ending the season on the road against the Defenders and Cardinals.