The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
What can be said about Ramon Santiago that hasn't been said before? It takes a man to laugh, a train to cry, and the bench bat of bench bats to go 3-4 with a double and the two-out game tying single to make JNMHSotG. He's going to have to be be OPS+ing in the high 80s to give the Reds a chance without Brandon Phillips, and this was a nice first step.
Honorary mentions to Billy Hamilton, who might have been picked off and caught stealing, but also went 3-5 and did this:
Mesoraco also hit a second-deck bomb, Ludwick went 2-4 and hilariously trucked towards home when the Reds needed him to, Lutz and Pena had pinch hits, Carlos Contreras pitched two innings with 4K, and generally everything right that needed to happen when you have a two-man bench and your starter is lifted after 5 innings happened. Just like they draw it up.
- Cy took a deep breath and grabbed a New Belgium Ranger before starting this section
- Billy Hamilton freaking evaded capture in the first. Welsh's "A Mercedes can't do that" was really the only correct response to seeing a bunt single go down the line and Hamilton shift through time and space to get to first in front of the 215-pound man with the ball standing directly in his way. Zack Cozart doubled him home, but TOOTBLAN'd himself on a Frazier grounder to end the threat with the Reds up 1-0.
- In the fourth inning, Latos let up a Dread Pirate McCutchen homer, Neil Walker reach-on-Bruce-at-1st-error, Russell Martin walk, and Pedro Alvarez homer. 4-1 Pirates.
- Mike Leake unsurprisingly pinch hit in the 5th. He was brought in because Mat Latos was having back spasms. Yipes.
- In the sixth, Cutch led off with a double and went home on a Russ Martin single. The Reds had a 6.4% win expectancy with the Pirates up 5-1.
- Chip Chip Chip. In the seventh, Ludwick led off by reaching on an error, and was doubled home by Clutch Man Money Santiago. Lutz pinch-hit singled, and Hamilton then grounded out to get Santiago home, making the score 5-3.
- Frazier and Bruce led off the 8th by getting out. With four outs left, the Reds' bottom of the order got out their comeback sticks. Mesoraco absolutely launched one back to Prague, Ludwick singled, Heisey singled, and then Ramon Freaking Santiago singled up the middle to bring home Ludwick to tie the game. Next up was Brayan Pena, who took a pitch up to center-right to bring home Heisey. Tony Watson turned around and made a face I can only describe as "Full Richie Tenenbaum" Reds were up 6-5.
- Chapman struck out the entire Pittsburgh side in the ninth, breaking a record for consecutive games with a strikeout. Anthony Rizzo twitched back home in Chicago, not knowing why.
- It's kind of eerie watching a July game where the Reds have to rely so much on The Future. A lineup with Hamilton and Mesoraco carrying the banner, Carlos Contreras getting key outs...it was like September came early. That said, it was really freaking awesome.
- There was even a lilt in 'tHom's voice as the 8th inning comeback occurred. Awesome.
- Maybe there's people out there who don't like Nina Simone. I don't want to meet them.
- Unrelatedly, I just had the thought of "Sidney Poitier, FOX Sports Ohio's play-by-play man for the Cincinnati Reds" and it was the best thought ever.
- It's a 7:15 p.m. ET game tomorrow night, as Charlie Morton will take on pinch-hitting Mike Leake, starting.
- Brayan Pena's twitter bio is "I'm a great person." Well, duh.
This is the best baseball we have been playing all season long ,we are fighting, we will never give up , we are in a mission enjoy REDS FANS— Brayan Pena (@cuban2727) July 12, 2014