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Reds 5, Cubs 2: Tony Cingrani is real, and he's spectacular

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All it took for the Reds to get back to their winning ways was a matchup with the Cubs.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Brennan Boesch is the one real non-roster invitee in Cincinnati Reds camp this spring that actually has a decent track record of hitting Major League pitching, and if he continues swinging the bat like he did today, he's got a great shot at making the Reds as a backup OF and bench bat (at the least).  Boesch launched an opposite field 3-run dinger off of Brian Schlitter in the Top of the 7th to help the Reds break out of their 2+ game offensive funk, and that's the kind of swing that earns one a JNMHSotG.  Still just 29 years old (he'll be 30 in a month), Boesch hit .269/.330/.436 with 30 dingers in 984 PA for the Detroit Tigers across 2010-2011 and mauled AAA pitching at a .332/.381/.636 clip with 25 dingers in the Los Angeles Angels system just last year, so there's certainly talent there.  It'd be a dang nice addition to the offense if he can keep things up into the regular season, so keep your fingers crossed.

Honorable Mentions are due to:  Tony Cingrani, who tossed a pair of scoreless innings while pitching around an active Chicago Cubs running game and bad defense behind him; Paul Maholm, who followed Cingrani's effort with a pair of scoreless innings of his own; Jay Bruce, who booped his 2nd double of the spring; and the overall team defense, which was spectacular.*

*Just kidding.  The defense was rather atrocious for the third consecutive game, but we'll continue to chalk that up to pre-season rust until otherwise informed.

Key Plays

  • It took until the Bottom of the 5th for a run to cross the plate, and it was the Cubs who did the scoring.  Matt Szczur mashed a triple off the wall in CF off Pedro Villareal to lead off, and he scored a batter later on a thunderbunt from Jonathan Herrera (that he reached safely on, too).  Reds trailed, 1-0.
  • The Reds finally strung a few hits together in the Top of the 7th, as Juan Duran led off the inning with a single and moved to 3B when Donald Lutz followed with a ground-rule double that the Cubs' LF woefully misplayed.  Jesse Winker then smacked a grounder to the SS that scored Duran to tie things up.  Skip Schumaker followed by taking a very ungritty called strike three with a runner in scoring position, but Ivan De Jesus backed him up by working a walk and Kyle Skipworth came through with an RBI single up the middle that got Lutz home from 2B for the lead.  Boesch then followed and played big time add-on with an opposite field 3-run dinger that put the Reds ahead with some breathing room.  Reds led, 5-1.
  • The Cubs got one back in the Bottom of the 8th off the recently DFA'd and re-signed Ismael Guillon.  Adron Chambers led off with a double to LF, moved to 3B on a single from Billy McKinney, and scored on a sac-fly off the bat of Christian Villanueva.  Reds led, 5-2.
  • Daniel Corcino was tasked with pitching the Bottom of the 9th, and he did not disappoint.  Lil Cueto got uber prospect Kris Bryant to strike out swinging for the last out of the game, and that was that.  Reds win, 5-2!

Tony Graphanino

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Baseball spring training stats DO matter--and those who say otherwise are guilty of hubris <a href="http://t.co/sJWhjRv9I1">http://t.co/sJWhjRv9I1</a></p>&mdash; Dan Rosenheck (@DanRosenheck) <a href="https://twitter.com/DanRosenheck/status/573279514547134465">March 5, 2015</a></blockquote>

<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Other Notes

  • Today was Jon Lester's first start since joining the Chicago Cubs as a free agent this winter.  He struck out 3 Reds and allowed nary a run in his 2 innings on the mound.
  • According to The Enquirer's John Fay, Tony Cingrani was consistently hitting 92 mph in the Bottom of the 1st inning.  That's good news, for sure.
  • The training staff and Jeff Pico came out to check on Carlos Contreras after the Reds righty had thrown just a handful of pitches in the Bottom of the 6th.  After briefly checking his fingers (blister, perhaps?), Contreras stayed in the game and promptly struck out Mike Olt.
  • The Reds seem determined to find out how versatile minor league signing Josh Satin can be.  He took over at 2B today in the 6th after having already played both 1B & 3B so far this spring.
  • Today's announced attendance was 15,331, which is the single largest crowd in Cactus League history according to Marty Brennaman.  We see you, Lee Elia.
  • I've been sitting on this GIF since November.  Thanks for cooperating, Reds & Cubs.
  • Tunes.