Back in the Saddle Again (Reds vs. A's: March 22, 2011)

GOODYEAR, AZ (MARCH 22, 2011) - It was a perfect day for a ballgame.  The previous day was horrendous.  Phoenix only got rain, but more northerly parts of Arizona got snow.  A lot of snow.  So much that major interstates were shut down.  Guess who was on the wrong side of the closures?  But no matter, today was cool, clear and sunny. It was perhaps a bit too cold in the shaded seats, but just right in the sun.  It was actually warmer in Cincinnati than it was in Goodyear, which sort of took the fun out of the traditional temperature comparison done during spring training games.

I sat a little further out this time.  The view was still pretty horrendous, and a lot of people were complaining and trying to move.  There was a crotchety old lady in the front row who bluntly told people to sit back in their seats and not lean forward.  So I guess even the front row seats have obstructed views.  What a horribly designed ballpark.

Luckily, there was an empty seat in front of me, which allowed me to see at least a slice of the field.

Goodyear Ballpark reflects in Joey Votto's sunglasses.


Stretching before the game.


Lined up along the third base line for the national anthem.


(Jay Bruce is so cute.  When the "please stand and remove your caps" announcement came over the PA, he ran in from center field and jumped into line beside Janish, purposely bumping him with his shoulder.  He's as enthusiastic as a kindergartener.)

Starting pitcher Mike Leake sprung a leak in this game.  He struggled from the beginning, causing many fans to sigh over Cueto's injury.

Jonny Gomes chases the homerun Daric Barton hit off Leake.  The ball's on the wrong side of the fence, though, landing in the bullpen.


Dusty comes out to talk to Leake.


He left him in, but probably shouldn't have.  

Bruce and Janish bring something out to Votto after he grounded out to end the top of the first.


Not sure what it was.  Someone else brought him his hat and glove, and it was too small to be either of those, anyway.

Bruce gets ready to hit in the 2nd inning.


I thought it was gone at first, but it bounced off the wall for a standup double.



He ended up stranded there.  

Janish with a relay throw from left.


Leake got in trouble again in the 2nd, escaping a jam thanks to a nice double play. But he didn't get out of the third inning. 

Rolen and Janish chat as Nick Christiani (who?) warms up.


By the middle of the third, the Reds were down 7-0 and the game looked like it was going to be a laugher.  But Janish hit a leadoff single, Christiano bunted him over, and Brandon Phillips singled him home.  Then Joey Votto came through.


Coco Crisp climbs the wall...

Cococrisp_medium vain.


Home run, Votto.


Jonny Gomes hit a leadoff homer in the 4th.



Coco Crisp steals 3B in the 4th.


The A's would steal three bases.  I'd blame it on pitcher inexperience, except one of them was stolen off Cordero.

BP catches a ball deflected by Cordero, holding Kevin Kouzmanoff to a single.


Chris Valaika came in for BP at the top of the 6th, but the rest of the  regulars stayed in for the entire game.  Time to get ready for the real games, I guess.


Votto doubled in the 6th, and got to 3B on a Rolen fly out.



He ended up stranded, alas.

Aroldis Chapman pitched the 7th.


He looked really good, for the first couple of batters anyway.

The two guys behind me were giving running scouting reports of the players.  One was a Reds fan who knew the players, one was an A's fan who didn't.  They thought Chapman's changeup needed work. They said they could see it coming.

Janish singled again in the 7th.


Dave Sappelt (pinch-hitting for Chapman) singled, and so did Drew Stubbs.


Janish scores...


...and Sap ends up on 3B due to a missed catch error.


(Berry is listed as 6'-0".  Basketball probably isn't Sappelt's best sport.)

Sappelt would score on a Chris Valaika sac fly.

Votto hits one hard, but Matt Carson runs it down to end the inning.


Janish led off the ninth by reaching on an error.


(It was a screamer down the line, and many in the stands were surprised it was ruled an error.)

Pinch-hitter Jeremy Hermida singled to left.  (Oakland fans remembered him, and seemed surprised he was a Red.)


Janish goes to third.


Stubbs struck out, and Valaika flew out. 

Joey Votto singled...


...scoring Janish and Hermida.


It all came down to Scott Rolen.  One swing of the bat could tie the game that once seemed hopelessly out of reach.

But there was no joy in Goodyear...mighty Scotty struck out swinging.


Votto, stranded at 2B, leaves the field after the game.


Final score: Oakland 10, Cincinnati 8.

Joey Votto had a great game: 3 for 5 with a home run, a double, and 4 RBIs.  Paul Janish had a nice day at the office as well: 2 for 4 with 3 runs scored (shoulda been 3 for 4!).

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