Apr 15, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Cincinnati Reds left fielder Ryan Ludwick (center) is congratulated by teammates after making that jerk Kevin Mitchell is Batman look dumb by claiming Ludwick was turrrrrible.
The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Joey Votto. The past, present, and future Reds 1B staked his claim to Reds team ownership with a huge opposite field 2 RBI double in the Top of the 11th inning off of All-Star RP Tyler Clippard. Votto was 1 for 3 on the day, with 3 BB, R, and those 2 RBI. Through 10 games, he has 10 hits and 10 BB, and given the lack of production from the Reds' cleanup batters (entering today, the collective production from the 4 spot has been .061/.184/.121, with 0 HR and 0 RBI), he's rarely had pitches to hit. Votto delivered, big time.
Honorable mentions to my favorite Red Ryan Ludwick (2 for 6, 2 R, 4 RBI, 3K, 1st inning grand slam), Aroldis Chapman (2 IP, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 H, 4K), Laz Diaz & Mike Everitt (having zero clue how to call Reds hitters out in the first), Zack Cozart (3 for 6, 2 R), and Scott Rolen (team leading 1 SB!)
- The Reds, for once, were the 1st inning aggressors today. Brandon Phillips, back in the lineup, flied out to right, Zack Cozart singled up the middle, and then Joey Votto struck out on a pitch that was clearly outside. F.P. Santangelo, the Nationals color analyst, stands firmly convinced that Joey cast a vexing spell on home plate umpire Laz Diaz, causing Diaz to be incapable of calling anyone else out on strikes ever again. Mike Everitt must have been in on the deal, as he ruled Scott Rolen safe on a grounder when he was clearly out, and Jay Bruce loaded the bases with a walk on an off-speed pitch that was pretty clearly a high strike. Ryan Ludwick wanted in on the non-strikeout strikeout party, and promptly didn't strike out on a low heater that looked like strike three; on the very next pitch, he crushed one over the wall in left-center for a Grand Slam. Reds lead, 4-0
- Mike Leake cruised through the first 3 innings with low pitch counts and lots of thrown strikes. He ran into trouble in the 4th, however, as Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, and Ryan Zimmerman all reached base before Adam LaRoche drove in 2 on a hit to right field. Jay Bruce bobbled it, allowing the runners to move up to 2B and 3B, and two batters later Mark DeRosa plated Zimmerman on a groundout. Reds lead, 5-3.
- The bizarro Reds showed up during the first 5 innings, taking pitches and forcing long at-bats, and that paid off by chasing Nats SP Ross Detwiler early. Roger Bernadina pinch hit for him in the bottom of the 5th, and drew a walk. Ian Desmond followed with a double, and Bernadina scored from 1st. Reds lead, 5-4.
- Leake allowed Rick Ankiel to lead off the 7th with a double, and was pulled in favor of Logan Ondrusek after getting Wilson Ramos to ground out. Lurch promptly struck out PH Chad Tracy, but allowed a single by Ian Desmond to drive in Ankiel as Chris Heisey and Ryan Hanigan couldn't quite combine to nail him at the plate. Game tied, 5-5.
- The scoring subsided until the Top of the 11th, when the Reds got the bats going. Drew Stubbs led off with a single, and after Wilson Valdez popped out on a bunt, Zack Cozart hit behind the runner for a single, sending Drew to 3rd. Shaking in his boots, Tyler Clippard attempted to throw a strike to Joey Votto, but clearly should have just walked him (or fled the mound in fear). Instead, Votto smashed a low fastball to the left field wall, scoring both runners. Scott Rolen, formerly of Scott Rolen's Reds and currently of Joey Votto's Reds, blooped a broken-bat single up the middle to score Votto. Sean Marshall was brought in to close out, and he did. Reds win, 8-5.
- Through the first 3 games of the series (including 2 that went to extra innings), the Reds had managed 12 hits. They had 13 today.
- Brandon Phillips left the game after a double off the center field wall in the 9th. The Reds will not know what to do with him until after they don't know what to do with Miguel Cairo.
- Scott Rolen stole a base! In a baseball game! That brings the Reds' season total to 2 (two) through 10 (ten) games. I guess it's hard to steal when your only two SB threats have been terrible (Stubbs) and hurt (Phillips). Did I say two? I meant three. Scott Rolen!
- Speaking of Rolen, he went 1 for 6 today to raise his average on the year to .121.
- The Reds have an off-day tomorrow before traveling to St. Louis to take on the the Cardinals.