The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
This was Kris Negron’s first ever big league start. When he came to bat in the bottom of the second inning, it was his sixth major league plate appearance. There were two men out and two men on base, until Negron deposited Francisco Liriano’s offering into the right field stands for an opposite field three run home run. He then celebrated by executing maybe the fastest home run trot I’ve ever seen. It was Negron’s second career hit, first career home run, and first three career RBI. Congratulations, Kris.
An honorable mention is due to the Reds bullpen. Jumbo Diaz, Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman combined for three innings of perfect baseball to nail down the win. Another honorable mention is due to Devin Mesoraco, who reached base each time he came to the plate, with two walks, a single and an RBI double.
- Chris Heisey led off the second inning with a bloop double that fell in between three Pirates defenders in shallow right field. He advanced to third and, after a Devin Mesoraco walk, Negron hit his first career home run, a three run shot to put the Reds up 3-0.
The Pirates got on the board in the top of the fourth inning. With one out, Andrew McCutchen tripled to right field when Jay Bruce dove for the ball and missed. He scored one batter later on Neil Walker’s groundout.
In the top of the fifth inning, there was a rain delay with one out and Pirates on first and second base. The delay lasted 56 minutes, and Johnny Cueto stayed in the game once it resumed. After striking out Gregory Polanco, Josh Harrison singled to score Pedro Alvarez. Cueto then struck out McCutchen to end the threat and the inning. Reds lead 3-2.
In the Reds’ fifth inning, Bruce drew a leadoff walk off of new Pirates pitcher Stolmy Pimentel, and scored on Mesoraco’s double off the left field wall. After advancing to third, Mesoraco was thrown out on a failed suicide squeeze attempt by Negron. Reds lead 4-2.
Walker led off the sixth inning with a solo home run. Reds lead 4-3. After two uncharacteristic errors by Cozart and a questionable baserunning decision by Russell Martin, Cueto worked his way out of the inning with no further damage.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Billy Hamilton led off with a single and Frazier hit his 19 home run of the year, an opposite field shot right down the right field line to provide the Reds with some breathing room that they ultimately would not need. Reds lead 6-3.
- The Reds bullpen came in and took care of the rest, culminating in Chapman striking out the side in the ninth to send the fans home happy with visions of free pizza dancing in their heads.
Raise your hand if you had Billy Hamilton hitting .285 at the break. #reds— John Fay (@johnfayman) July 13, 2014
Johnny Cueto had one of his more mediocre starts of the year. By that I mean he threw six innings, with seven strikeouts, two walks, five hits and three earned runs.
- Aroldis Chapman increased his MLB record appearances with at least one strikeout streak to 41.
Welcome to the 2014 All-Star break. The Reds will next be in action Friday evening at 7:05 pm at Yankee Stadium. It seems likely that Mike Leake will be making that start.
- The Reds are a game and a half behind the division leading Brewers and a half game behind second place St. Louis. They are also a half game out of the second wild card spot. I bring this up not to encourage scoreboard watching this early, but to point out how truly impressive that is given everything this team has been through over the past few months.
Tune: This game must have a bit of a last-day-of-school feel for a lot of these players. Enjoy the break, fellas. You're certainly earned it.