The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Nuxy would have happily found himself in a bind tonight, but fortunately for all the right reasons. Chris Heisey got his first hit of the season with his walkoff single, and it drove in the Reds' first run of the season, too, so his pinch-hit performance earns him the nod this evening.
The award was Heisey's, though the story wasn't just his. Tony Cingrani earned himself a sparkling Honorable Mention by tossing 7 innings of no run, 2 H, 9 K baseball, and in the process looked every bit as dominant as his previous career numbers had suggested. Also worthy of a tip o' the cap is Joey Votto, who looked like the only confident hitter in the lineup opposite Michael Wacha, and in the process picked up the 1,000th hit of his career with a double (to LF, naturally) in the Bottom of the 1st as part of his 2 for 3, BB evening. Manny Parra and J.J. Hoover also were worthy, as they each pitched one scoreless inning to combine for a clean 8th and 9th.
- For the second consecutive game, the Reds and Cardinals saw sterling performances from their starting pitchers carry the game as a scoreless tie through the bulk of the game. The Reds had several chances to crack the scoreboard for the first time all season, with the first serious threat in the Bottom of the 4th. Votto hit a 1-out single, and Ryan Ludwick was hit by a pitch two batters later. Todd Frazier then walked, but Zack Cozart then grounded right to 3B for out 3.
- Cozart redeemed himself in the Top of the 8th, however. Manny Parra relieved Cingrani for the inning, and he gave up a 1-out double to Kolten Wong that flew Billy Hamilton in CF. Two batters later, Matt Carpenter hit a flare up the middle that looked like it would fall for a bloop RBI single, but Cozart tracked it down and made a nifty over the shoulder catch while sliding into RF. That's precisely the kind of play that WAR was created to define, as that's just one example of why Cozart had a higher WAR with a .288 OBP in 2012 (2.7 bWAR) than Ryan Ludwick and his 26 HR did (2.0). Zackuum, indeed.
- The Reds broke the seal in the Bottom of the 9th, finally, after Carlos Martinez was left in to pitch a second inning. Ludwick singled to start things off, and he moved to 2B on a subsequent single from Todd Frazier. Cozart then sacrificed to move them both over, and after Brayan Pena was walked to load the bases, Heisey pinch hit for the pitcher's spot and promptly lined a single through a 7-man infield to score Luddy. Reds win, 1-0!
- Congratulations are in order for Bryan Price, who picked up his first win as a manager tonight. Good on ya!
- Fox Sports Ohio dropped a statistic on-air tonight that blew most of us away. Tony Cingrani entered tonight's game with 18 career starts, and he'd not allowed more than 5 hits in any of them. That's the longest stretch of starts by any pitcher - at any point of their career - since 1900, and that's just filthy. Cingrani then saw how filthy that stat was and emptied his dustbuster on it, as he now has 19 such starts in a row after allowing just a pair of hits tonight. Pigpen, he is. Former fearless leader Joel "Slyde" Luckhaupt passed that along to FS-O, and he promptly thanked Neal Kendrick for tracking it down.
- This pitching staff is fonky bananas, injuries or not. Fonky!
- Many props to the 4,000 or so Red Reporters who braved the weather, the lengthy
pregaming extensionrain delay, and adverse conditions to make a pile of noise tonight. Or, at least it sounded like there were that many.