PEORIA, AZ (MARCH 23, 2011) - Peoria Sports Complex, shared by the Mariners and Padres, was harder to find than most. It's not that it's hard to get there or anything. It's just that it's so close to their practice fields it's kind of hard to tell which one is the stadium. You can't just look up and drive toward the stadium lights. (On the bright side, it's easy to watch the minor league games being played before the main event, if you get there early.)
Yesterday, Dusty kept almost all the starters in for the entire game. Except Brandon Phillips. He was the only starting position player in today's game.
BP spent some time catching up with an old friend before the game.
He got off to a rough start, though it wasn't entirely his fault. The fans were hardly settled in their seats when he gave up an inside-the-park home run to Will Venable. Chris Heisey, patrolling center field, misplayed the ball. He may have had trouble seeing it; the resident Padres fans said the sun is brutal in the outfield at that time of day.
As if that weren't bad enough, former Red Chris Denorfia singled.
Deno stole 2B, then came home on a Chase Headley single (that was again misplayed by Heisey).
Heisey led off the next inning, and irate Reds fans were yelling that he needed to get a hit to make up for his sucky defense.
He obliged with a single.
Juan Francisco then hit a monster home run.
It was bleepin' humongous. It went over the berm and landed somewhere out of sight. Just huge.
I hate it when other teams' players do the point to the sky thing, but it's much less annoying when your own players do it.
Corky Miller singled, but Homer ended the inning by hitting into a double play. He seemed pretty angry about it.
It was kind of funny, how upset Homer got at his failures at the plate. He was muttering to himself, throwing his bat, etc. Fans noticed, and started saying things like, "What are you so mad about, Homer? You're a pitcher. No one expects you to hit."
Orlando Hudson breaks his bat on one of Homer's pitches.
Homer got through the next four innings without giving up any more runs, but he was clearly gassed by the fifth. He threw over 20 pitches in that inning, and was obviously struggling. I was really surprised when Dusty sent him out in the sixth. He promptly gave up a single to
Curtis Cameron Maybin, and Dusty signaled for the D-Train.
Unfortunately, it wasn't a good day for Dontrelle. He tried to pick off Maybin at first, and the throw went into the stands, way over Danny Dorn's head. And it just got worse from there. Walk, walk, wild pitch, triple, single, walk, single. Fans cheered when Dusty came out of the dugout to take the ball. They gave Willis a nice ovation as he left, but I wasn't sure if it was because of his past accomplishments, or just because they were glad to see him go.
Sam LeCure took the mound. He wasn't exactly lights out, but he managed to get out of the inning while giving up just one more run.
A rare Danny Dorn sighting. He was subbed in at first base for Cairo in the sixth.
The Reds had a big seventh inning. After Dorn grounded out, Corky Miller was hit by a pitch.
Devin Mesoraco homered.
Next, Brandon Phillips was hit by a pitch. It was a solid plunk to the back, and BP gave a long stare to the pitcher before taking his base. The fans, too, thought it was payback for the Mesoraco home run.
Hermida slides home.
Hitting machine Dave Sappelt doubled, scoring Lewis.
END flew out, ending the inning, but the Reds had put five runs on the board.
Matt Maloney took over for LeCure.
Chris Heisey, catcher?
Apparently, Heisey's taken over for Janish as sometime bullpen catcher. He warmed up Ruben Medina, who pitched the 8th. (Heisey also caught the first pitch.)
Everth Cabrera gives a fan a souvenir.
Everth Cabrera steals 2B.
The Reds' 2000 first round draft pick, Dustin Moseley, closed it out.