The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
The Cincinnati Reds broke out their bats in a big way today, but Johnny Cueto gets the nod tonight for tossing his 4th complete game of the 2014 season and being every bit the stopper the good guys needed. Cueto fanned 6 and allowed 6 hits during his evening, allowing just a pair of runs while shutting down Cleveland in 117 pitches. The Reds' ace moved to [insert irrelevant number] and [insert other irrelevant number] on the season, kept his ERA at a sparkling 2.04, and had a smile that stretched for days as he walked off the field following the final out of the game.
I'm sold. Throw as much money as it takes to make Cueto a Red for a long, long time.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Jay Bruce, who had 3 hits on the evening, one of which was his first dinger since July 8th; Ramon Santiago, who continued to show he's exactly the kind of player the Reds should have signed for 2 years and $5 million (plus an option) instead of Skip Schumaker by whacking a 3-run dinger, playing great defense, and having the best Twitter handle on the 25 man roster; and Kris Negron, for a 2 for 5 evening that featured a triple, 2 RBI, and a run scored.
- The Reds bucked their post-ASB opening inning blues and scraped across a run in the Top of the 1st. Todd Frazier was hit by a Josh Tomlin pitch with two outs, and Ryan Ludwick followed with a double to deep LF that officially moved Frazier to 3B. Frazier scored, but an error charged to Lonald Lonathan Lonnifer Chisenhall technically allowed him to, so Luddy got no RBI for his efforts. Regardless, Reds led, 1-0.
- That vanished quickly, however, as the Indians equalized in the Bottom of the 1st against Cueto. Mike Aviles smacked a double to LF, and he scored a batter later when Michael Brantley singled him in. Game tied, 1-1.
- The thumping portion of the Reds lineup came to the plate in the Top of the 2nd, however, and that proved to be ample trouble for Tomlin. Brayan Pena ended up on 1B after Esteban Yan Gomes couldn't corral the wild pitch thrown by Tomlin that struck out the Reds' catcher, and after Negron singled to put two men on base Santiago hit a no-doubt dinger easily over the RF to put the Red well ahead. Reds led, 4-1.
- The Reds added another run in the Top of the 4th after Zack Cozart led off with a GABP dinger that went for a triple and scored later on a slowly grounded infield single by Bruce. Then, in the Top of the 6th, the Reds got another run courtesy of a double steal after singles by both Heisey and Pena and continual comically bad defense from Cleveland. Reds led, 6-1.
- Cueto let a leadoff walk haunt in the Bottom of the 7th, but it fortunately only resulted in a single run. Lonstance Chisenhall took said walk, and he scored on a double from Yan two batters later. Reds led, 6-2.
- Bruce whalloped a solo dinger to lead off the Top of the 9th, and the Reds later loaded the bases with just one out. Kris Negron launched a triple deep to right-center that scored both Frazier and Ludwick, but Pena was thrown out at home on a play that was upheld after review somehow. Cueto then locked things down in the Bottom of the 9th to complete his complete game (wording is everything), and that was that. Reds win, 9-2!
- Billy Hamilton's 1 for 5 evening saw his OBP drop to .299 on the season. As was suggested in the gamethread tonight, perhaps he needs a day off to do whatever players do on days off to get their momentum back.
- Whoever persuaded Snyder's of Hanover to make pretzel sticks with Hot Buffalo Wing seasoning on them needs to cut me a commission check for keeping that line in business. I'm embarassingly hooked.
- Ryan Ludwick had a 2 for 5 evening, and he's quietly collected 4 doubles in his last 6 games played, making him a prime candidate to be a full-time DH (checks rest of Reds' schedule) and damnit.
- Both teams will fly back to Cincinnati tonight, and they'll resume their 4 game series at Great American Ball Park tomorrow night. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM ET, with Mat Latos on the hill for the Reds opposite Cleveland's Danny Salazar. Dash ManBryanHarrisPig will be there, so you should go say hey, watch the game, and buy him a beverage. I implore you.