Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Brooks Conrad. The pinch-hitter was the first player to win a game with a walkoff grand slam and his team down by three runs since Adam Dunn in 2006. Honorable mention to Martin Prado for giving us an enviable glimpse of what a leadoff man looks like.
- We knew this wasn't going to be an ordinary game after the second inning. Birthday boy Ramon Hernandez singled, then after two quick outs, Mike Leake singled too. Orlando Cabrera walked, and a bases loaded opportunity to take control of the game was staring the Reds in the face. The only problem was that the batter was Miguel Cairo. But improbably, he singled! Hernandez scored and the inning continued. Joey Votto was up next and promptly unloaded the bases with a grand slam. But the Reds weren't done. Brandon Phillips singled and Jay Bruce walked, then Hernandez got his second hit of the inning and drove in BP. Laynce Nix doubled and all of a sudden the Reds were leading, 8-0!
- The Braves seemed down and mostly out, but they scratched back. In the third inning, Martin Prado hit a ground rule double (what's with all the ground rule doubles, Atlanta?) with two outs. Mike Leake missed a catch on Jason Heyward's ball, and Prado scored. Reds lead, 8-1.
- Laynce Nix homered in the fifth inning, his second of the season. Reds lead, 9-1.
- In the bottom half of the inning, the Braves quickly loaded the bases with no outs on a walk to Nate McLouth and singles by Melky Cabrera and Martin Prado. Up to the plate stepped Jason Heyward, who hit a ball at Joey Votto. Votto tried for the force at second, but Orlando Cabrera missed the catch. McLouth and Melky Cabrera scored. Luckily, Leake showed his famous composure and struck out Chipper Jones and got Brian McCann to ground into a double play. Reds lead, 9-3.
- It seemed silly to worry about insurance runs, but the Reds had a chance for some in the seventh inning. With two outs, the bottom of the Reds lineup remained productive, as Laynce Nix singled (a triple away from the cycle), and Drew Stubbs walked. Although Leake is a very good hitter, he was at 99 pitches and his day was rightly over. Because Dusty had started many of his backups today, there was a formidable group of pinch hitters to choose from, including Jonny Gomes, Chris Heisey, Scott Rolen (who had a sore hamstring), or Ryan Hanigan (the backup catcher). However, Dusty decided to pinch hit Micah Owings. Owings struck out, and the Reds scored no runs.
- Surely Owings would head towards the mound then in relief of Leake? No, Mike Lincoln came in from the bullpen, and did fine work. He pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth inning.
- When Lincoln took the mound for the ninth inning, with no one warming up in the bullpen, some mild concern was expressed. Still, we had a six run lead. What could go wrong? Well, Troy Glaus, Eric Hinske, and Yunel Escobar all hit singles, and the bases were quickly loaded with no outs. Then Nate McLouth, like Glaus and Hinske, singled to right field, and those two men scored. Belatedly, Dusty brought in Nick Masset, who surrendered the go ahead run last night. Masset walked David Ross, and the bases were loaded again. Martin Prado hit a ground ball to Miguel Cairo for what might possibly be a double play. Instead, Cairo made an error on the ball and Escobar scored. Bases still loaded. Still no outs. Jason Heyward, who had been hitless but effective, coming to the plate. Once more, Dusty went to the bullpen and produced Arthur Rhodes. Rhodes struck out Heyward in a great matchup that brought the slightest of glimmers of hope to Reds fans that we would indeed escape with a victory. But Dusty went to the bullpen one last time. In came Francisco Cordero to pitch in what had improbably turned into a save situation. Brooks Conrad was the pinch hitter for Atlanta, and he hit a long fly ball to left field. Laynce Nix ran back to catch the ball, but it hit off his glove and went over the fence. Grand slam home run. Game over. Braves win, 10-9.
- FanGraphs has some "fun" numbers about this game. After the second inning, the Braves chances of winning the game were 2.3%. By the ninth inning, their chances of winning were 0.2%. After Rhodes struck out Heyward, the Braves still only had a 18.5% chance. And yet they won. As Dave Cameron says, "Baseball - it's amazing."
- The Reds are 0-5 when Rolen doesn't play. His hamstring was "very sore and tight... [and] has been for a couple weeks now," according to Dusty Baker.
- Powerful Brooks Conrad now has a season high home run total, with 3.
- Mike Lincoln last pitched more than 2 innings on June 1, 2009, when he pitched three innings against the St. Louis Cardinals. He also pitched 2.1 innings on June 10, 2008, also against St. Louis.
- The normally sure-handed Reds committed four errors and misplayed a few other balls, leading to three unearned runs.
- Arthur Rhodes hasn't given up a run since April 10, his second appearance of the season. He has appeared in 16 straight games since without surrendering a run.
- With two hits today, Mike Leake is batting .353. With no hits today, Micah Owings is batting .111.
|Final - 5.20.2010||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R|
|WP: Craig Kimbrel (1 - 0)
LP: Francisco Cordero (1 - 3)