The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Todd Frazier started the season on an absolute tear, reaching base in each of his first 7 games en route to sporting a .448 batting average. Since then, however, he'd struggled (relatively), so tonight's performance is hopefully a sign of an upswing. Frazier reached base in each of his 5 trips to the plate, finishing with a 3 for 3 evening that included a double, two walks, a run scored, and an RBI, and for that, he's plenty deserving of the night's JNMHSotG.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Brandon Phillips, who went 3 for 5 with a double, RBI, and a pair of runs scored; Devin Mesoraco, who went 3 for 4 with a run scored, an RBI, and a shocking lack of an XBH; and Billy Hamilton, who had a sac fly and a whatever you call the silliness he havoc'd in the Top of the 1st tonight.
- Hamilton did the damn thing his own way in the Top of the 1st beginning with taking a the first pitch from Francisco Liriano off his leg for a HBP. He then broke for 2B on 2-2 pitch, and when Votto hit a grounder that Lirano fielded and threw to 1B, he kept right on motoring to 3B and beat the throw. Brandon Phillips then hit a grounder to Pedro Alvarez at 3B, and he came home with a throw attempting to nab Hamilton at the plate, but Billy managed to slide under the tag (and Martin dropped the ball, anyway). Reds led, 1-0.
- The Reds followed their small-balling first run with a heavy-hitting second in the Top of the 3rd. With one out, Phillips hit a deep double off the wall in CF, and Todd Frazier followed immediately with a double off the wall in left-center that scored Phillips. Reds led, 2-0.
- The Pirates scored 4 runs in the span of 4 total pitches in the Bottom of the 4th, and it was about as fun to watch as it sounds. Andrew McCutchen led off with a single to LF, Pedro Alvarez followed with a double off the wall in RF on the very next pitch, and Mike Leake then hit Neil Walker with the very next pitch to load the bases. Leake's college teammate at Arizona State, Ike Davis, then stepped into the batter's box for his for his first taste of hitting with the bases loaded since he hit a walk-off grand slam against the Reds just a few games ago, and he promptly launched a grand slam, again. Reds trailed, 4-2.
- An error by Clint Barmes at SS led to the Reds getting one run back in the Top of the 7th. Barmes fumbled a grounder hit by Mesoraco to lead off the inning, and Mes motored to 3B when Leake hit a bloop single that fell just in between Neil Walker and Jose Tabata in shallow RF. Hamilton followed with a sac fly that scored Mes. Reds trailed, 4-3.
- The Reds retook the lead in the Top of the 8th thanks to a series of hits from the heart of the order. Phillips and Frazier each singled to start the inning, and when LHP Justin Wilson was brought on to face Jay Bruce, Bruce laced a double to RF to score Phillips. Ryan Ludwick was walked to load the bases, and Mesoraco followed with a roped single to LF that scored Frazier. Bruce attempted to score, and was thrown but was thrown out at home (and the play was confirmed after a challenge from Price). Cozart then followed with what would prove to be a crucial infield pop out, and PH Chris Heisey then flew out to CF to end the rally. Reds led, 5-4.
- Somewhat surprisingly, LHP Manny Parra was brought out a day after a rough outing to pitch to RHP MVP OMG McCutchen, and the reigning Most Valuable Player launched a hanging slider from the Reds' reliever over the wall in RF to tie the game in the Bottom of the 8th. Dang. A hoo-ha here and a son-of-a there, and the Pirates ended up with the bases loaded against J.J. Hoover, but fortunately 2013 Hoover - rather than early-2014 Hoover - showed up and got a strikeout to end the threat. Game tied, 5-5.
- The Reds threatened in the Top of the 9th courtesy of a pair of singles from BP and Frazier, but a solidly hit line drive from Bruce was nabbed by McCutchen in CF to end the potential rally.
- All semblance of anything rational and normal hit the fan in the Bottom of the 9th. For one, the struggling Hoover was brought out to pitch in a second inning; secondly, Hoover was kept in the game despite walking Russell Martin and Andrew McCutchen back to back; and thirdly, Walker hit a bloop to RF that Phillips somehow overran, and when Bruce came up with the throw to the plate, it somehow bounced completely over Mesoraco's head despite it reaching the plate in plenty of time to make an out at the plate. Freakin' grrrrr. Reds lose, 6-5.
- According to the FS-Ohio broadcast, Ike Davis is the first player since Gene Freese in 1959 to hit two grand slams against the Reds in a single season, and he's just the third player in MLB history to hit grand slams against one team in the same season as a member of two different teams.
- Joey Votto and Jay Bruce combined to go hitless and get-on-base-less against Francisco Liriano in 8 PA, which was not at all surprising given their histories against him. I'm not suggesting that there were better alternatives, but it's unfortunate nonetheless.
- That's another loss in a 1-run game, and while the big-picture concern is not yet something about which you should worry, the lack of throwable-at-wall things in my house that remain intact is becoming disconcerting. I need a trip to Target to get some crappy coffee mugs and a vacuum if this is going to keep up.
- Tunes that someone will crap on in the comments because it's cool to crap on music in the comment section of things.