Settling the Score: Friday’s results

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This rivalry between the Cardinals and Reds continues to live up to the hype.

The Reds kicked off the second half in style last night, defeating the Cardinals 6-5 thanks to a two-out, walk off two-run homer by Brandon Phillips off Cards’ closer Fernando Salas in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The Reds were staked to an early 2-0 lead after a pair of solo homers from Chris Heisey, but this game saw three lead changes over the final three innings. The Cardinals jumped out in front in the top of the eighth when Albert Pujols absolutely demolished a 96 mph fastball from Aroldis Chapman for a two-run homer to left field. However, arch enemy Phillips had the last laugh in this one.

The Reds limped into the All-Star break two games under .500 and losers in seven out of their last 10 games, but they still find themselves just three games out in the ultra-competitive National League Central.

Your Friday box scores:

Cardinals 5, Reds 6

Marlins 1, Cubs 2

White Sox 8, Tigers 2

Phillies 7, Mets 2

Indians 6, Orioles 5

Yankees 1, Blue Jays 7 

Nationals 1, Braves 11

Red Sox 6, Rays 9

Pirates 4, Astros 0

Royals 2, Twins 1

Brewers 0, Rockies 4

Angels 3, Athletics 5

Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 4

Rangers 4, Mariners 0

Giants 6, Padres 1

Reds ink Oliver Perez to a minor-league deal

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The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.

Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.

While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.