The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
The one thing largely missing from the Cincinnati Reds during their miserable second half has been everything.
Fortunately, Zack Cozart brought everything to the table today, going 3 for 4 with the bat and flashing what has been his typically amazing defense throughout the victory. Cozart drove in a pair of runs, smacked a triple off the wall in right-center that was a foot from being a dinger, and covered a mile of ground in making a great backhanded flip play at short to thwart an early would-be rally by the Atlanta Braves. Cozart's triple got his season slugging percentage back over the .300 mark - which isn't a typo - and showed that there's still a chance he's as decent offensively as he has been the last two seasons. Decent.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Jay Bruce, who had a pair of hits, scored a pair of runs, and stole his 12th base of the season; Todd Frazier, who smacked a monster dinger as part of his two hit day; Brayan Pena, who was a #greatperson with a pair of hits himself; Jumbo Diaz, for striking out both of the batters he faced; and Alfredo Simon, who stagnated his pumpkining for one start, at least.
- Both Simon and old friend Aaron Harang kept runs off the board for the first three innings, but the Reds finally broke through against their former ace in the Bottom of the 4th. Singles by Frazier and Brandon Phillips led off the inning, and they moved up to load the bases two batters later on an infield single from Bruce. Frazier then scored on a sac fly from Ryan Ludwick, and back to back singles from Pena and Cozart drove in Phillips and Bruce, respectively. Reds led, 3-0.
- The Reds added another run to Harang's tally in the Bottom of the 6th. Bruce began things with a 1-out single and a steal of 2B, and he was followed by a walking Ludwick and Pena singling to load things up. David Carpenter relieved Harang, and Bruce scored on a groundout from Cozart (that was nearly a double play ball) before the Braves got out of the inning. Reds led, 4-0.
- The Braves finally put a run on the board against Simon in the Top of the 7th thanks to an RBI double by Tommy La Stella that scored Evan Gattis - who had also doubled - from 2B. The Reds, however, got that run back quickly as Frazier launched his 22nd dinger of the season off the facade of the 2nd deck in LF in the Bottom half of the 7th. Reds led, 5-1.
- Logan Ondrusek was brought in to pitch the Bottom of the 9th, and he promptly allowed a dinger to Evan Gattis that just cleared the wall in LF. He brushed it off and got La Stella to ground out and B.J. Upton to B.J. Upton, but an infield single by Emilio Bonifacio that hit him as he appeared to kick at it chased him to the showers. Jonathan Broxton was brought in to clean up the mess, and he allowed faceboner to steal, and a Jason Heyward single to RF put another Brave run on the board. Broxton then walked back to back Braves to load the bases for Justin Upton, but the Braves' slugger fortunately grounded out to Phillips to end the threat. Reds win, 5-3!
- Frazier's dinger immediately had me thinking about the 2015 Dinger Derby at GABP. Someone's going to hit the freakin' scoreboard.
- Jay Bruce has now started more games in RF than anyone in Reds history. That seems impossible, but it's not.
- Bowtie McFunnypants seems convinced that Walt Jocketty will remain with the Reds beyond this season even though his contract is set to run out in just a month. So there's that.
- McFunnybritches also seems convinced that the Reds will trade a starting pitcher this offseason, and he thinks that Mat Latos is the one most likely to move.
- The Reds have now won 2 games in a row. HOORAY, WIN STREAK!
- Baseball will celebrate that slight bit of momentum by granting the Reds an off-day on Monday (damn) before the Chicago Cubs and old friend Travis Wood come to town on Tuesday. Johnny Cueto will take the hill for the good guys.