The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star(s) of the Game
I'm giving this one to Dusty Baker. He deserves it.
Dusty went against the desires of virtually everyone in Reds nation by running Scott Rolen out at 3B for a second day in a row instead of Todd Frazier, yet Rolen delivered with the 2 RBI single in the 8th that proved to be the winning hit. Dusty, who had said in pre-game interviews that he needed Homer to pitch deep into the game in order to give the bullpen a break, also opted to leave his young starter in with 2 men on and no outs in the 8th...and Homer came through big time, getting out of the inning with no damage. Our manager also opted to sit Drew Stubbs in favor of Chris Heisey, he of the 3 for 8 w/ 3 HR career line vs. Jake Westbrook, and Heisey responded by going 3 for 4.
For a guy who often deservedly catches a lot of flak from us, Dusty sticks to his guns and does things his own way. When they work, like tonight, he deserves a lot of credit for putting his players in positions to succeed. Rolen, Bailey, and Heisey certainly did their part, no doubt, but Dusty did a great job of providing them the opportunity. Cool cat, that Dusty.
- The Cardinals opened the scoring in this one. In the top of the 2nd, Joey Votto booted a pretty routine slow-roller hit to him by Lance Berkman, and Yadier Molina followed with a double to the wall that allowed Big Puma and his balky knee to score all the way from first. Reds trail, 1-0.
- The Reds responded in the bottom of the 3rd with a 2 out rally. After Homer and Cozart were retired, Chris Heisey singled, and Joey Votto hit an opposite field double to score him. Brandon Phillips followed with a single to score Votto. Reds lead, 2-1.
- Homer was cruising until the 6th inning. Who are we kidding? He cruised in the 6th inning, too, but Yadier Molina popped up a solid Bailey breaking ball that managed to be a homer in GABP. (My apologies, folks, but I'm working on my application to send to ESPN). Game tied, 2-2.
- After Bailey wiggled out of his jam in the top of the 8th, the Reds came out swinging with the kind of confidence a first place team should have. Joey Votto worked a walk, and Brandon Phillips was plunked on the elbow before Jay Bruce grounded out while moving over the runners. After Mike Matheny double-switched, he intentionally walked Ryan Ludwick in order to pitch to Scott Rolen with the bases loaded. I can't say I blame him, really, but Rolen responded with a liner over Skippy Skip Skip Schumaker to score Votto and Phillips. Aroldis Chapman came on to strike out the side in the 9th. Reds win, 4-2!
- The win coupled with the Pirates loss returns the Reds to first place in the NL Central. Tonight's win was also the Reds' 6th in a row.
- Zack Cozart: still a good dude, still a good shortstop, still OPSing under .700, still undeserving of the most ABs on the Reds roster.
- The Diamondbacks come to town tomorrow, and Bronson Arroyo will take the mound for a 7:10 PM first pitch. I hope they go ahead and trade Justin Upton...just not to the Pirates.
- Cy went to Vancouver! I don't think he liked it, so if you see him, buy him a drink to sooth his ills!