The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
NERTS is getting tonight's JNMHSotG based partly on his pinch-hit, lead-taking 2-run dinger, partly due to his double earflap helmet, partly due to his smile, and partly due to being the coolest thing to hit the Cincinnati Reds dugout since someone turned off Bronson Arroyo's demo tape and put on talk radio. Brayan Pena's 2-run honker put the Reds in front for good in the 8th, and it proved to be the hit that opened the floodgates for the offense against the pitching of the Milwaukee Brewers. Good on ya, NERTS. Walt should sign you to another 2-year deal right this minute.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Todd Frazier, who went 2 for 4 with a walk, 2-run dinger of his own, 3 RBIs, and a run scored; Chris Heisey, who came off the bench in place of Billy Hamilton to go 2 for 4 with a walk and a run scored; Mother Tucker Barnhart, who went 1 for 4 with a sacrifice AND THE FIRST DINGER OF HIS YOUNG CAREER; Zack Cozart, who had a pair of hits; Homer Bailey, who made it through 8 innings while allowing just 3 ER (and keeping the ball in the ballpark); and Ryan Ludwick, Joey Votto, and Brandon Phillips, just because.
- Outfield defense took center-stage early in this one, beginning with Billy Hamilton's full layout snag of what would've been at least a double for Carlos Gomez to lead off the Top of the 1st. Hamilton stayed in the game to finish the half-inning despite being rather visibly in pain, but he was replaced by Chris Heisey before he could leadoff the Bottom of the 1st. Then, Gomez promptly returned the favor in that half inning by robbing yet another would-be dinger from Votto.
- The Brewers got on the board first in the Top of the 2nd, however, courtesy of consecutive singles from Khris Davis, Lyle Overbey, and Jean Segura, the last of which scored Davis. Reds trailed, 1-0.
- Mother Tucker tied things up in the Bottom of the 5th with his solo blast of Marco Estrada, and the Reds put another pair of runs up in the Bottom of the 6th when Frazier one-hand dingered following a leadoff walk from Jay Bruce. Reds led, 3-1.
- Gomez again hurt the Reds with a 2-run double in the Top of the 7th off Bailey. Both Segura and Rickie Weeks had singled in front of him, and he roped an inside fastball to the wall in left-center to drive them both in. Game tied, 3-3.
- The team initiative to collectively whip-ass finally was heeded at a company level in the Bottom of the 8th. Cozart led off with a single, he moved to second on a sacrifice from Tucker Barnhart, and PH NERTS stepped in and THO'd a 2-run dinger. Heisey followed with a single, Votto doubled off the wall in left, Bruce walked, Frazier walked with the bases loaded to allow Heisey to trot home, and Ludwick singled off a Brewere glove at third that allowed both Votto and Bruce to score when it trickled into shallow left. Reds led, 8-3.
- Johnathan Broxton had been throwing in the 'pen in anticipation of a save opportunity, but Bryan Price went ahead and sent him in to pitch the Top of the 9th because he was ready, which was damn refreshing to see. Broxy promptly put down the Brewers in order, and that was that. Reds win, 8-3!
- The early prognosis on the injury that forced Hamilton out of the game is that he sprained the 3rd and 4th knuckles on his left hand. If you watch the replay of how he catches the ball, it makes you wonder if he didn't just bruise the hell out of them by catching the ball in the palm of his glove.
- Every starter but Hamilton had a hit tonight, but Hamilton didn't even get a PA. Chris Heisey had two in his place, however.
- Homer Bailey's season got off to a godawful start, but after tonight, his ERA is down to 5.50. No, that's still not good, but it means he's a pair of decent starts from it being within shouting distance of his career average. That'll happen, and soon.
- Tony Cingrani was placed on the DL before the game tonight, and Curtis Partch was recalled. I don't even have a shitty golf metaphor for how miserable the injuries have been so far this year.
- Tunes that remind me of my high school art teacher.