The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
If I was ever asked "which Cincinnati Reds hitter would you like to see up with the game on the line," I'd answer Joey Votto 10 times out of 10.
Tonight, Votto twice came to the plate with a runner on and 2-outs, and both times he roped singles to drive in runs. The first tied the Pittsburgh Pirates after the Reds had already coughed up leads three times, and the second gave the Reds a victory nearly 6 hours after the originally scheduled time for first pitch. Votto finished 2 for 6 with those 2 ribbies, and that gives him 4 hits and no walks through the first two games of the season.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Billy Hamilton, who went 3 for 5 with a walk, scored a run, and swiped 3 bags; J.J. Hoover, who tossed a pair of scoreless innings late (and had his full repertoire working in the process); Todd Frazier, who dingered (again) and scored twice; and Zack Cozart, who doubled (which was a foot from a dinger), walked, and scored twice.
- Frazier's last at-bat on Monday culminated in a 3-run dinger that put the game on ice for the Reds against the Pirates. His first at-bat since then came in the Bottom of the 1st against Gerrit Cole, and he again mashed a 440 foot dinger into the LF bleachers. Reds led, 1-0.
- Leake walked Neil Walker to lead off the Top of the 2nd, and it haunted. After Starling Marte lined out to CF, Pedro Alvarez laced a double to the wall in left-center that brought Walker all the way in to score from 1B. Game tied,1-1.
- The Reds reclaimed the lead in the Bottom of the 3rd, however, thanks largely to Zack Cozart's double off the wall in CF that missed being a dinger by about a foot. Cozy moved to 3B thanks to a bunt from Leake, and he motored home when a wild pitch from Cole got past Francisco Cervelli. Reds led, 2-1.
- The Pirates equalized quickly in the Top of the 4th, unfortunately. Marte laced a double to the corner in LF with 1-out in the inning, and two batters later he scored when Francisco Cervelli doubled over Billy Hamilton's head in CF. Game tied, 2-2.
- The back and forth continued in the Bottom of the 4th, kickstarted by another rope hit by Frazier to LF that went for a single. Frazier moved to 2B on a productive grounder from Devin Mesoraco, and after Jay Bruce walked & Marlon Byrd struck out (again), Brandon Phillips smacked a single up the middle to score Frazier. Reds led, 3-2.
- Back to back walks to Josh Harrison and Gregory Polanco put Leake in another hole in the Top of the 5th, and a pair of productive outs from Andrew McCutchen and Walker got Harrison in to score to level things yet again. Game tied, 3-3.
- Once again, a leadoff walk came back to haunt the Reds in the Top of the 7th. With Tony Cingrani on the mound, McCutchen walked to begin things, took 2B on a balk slash pick-off slash balk from Cingrani, and he scored when Corey Hart singled on a grounder up the middle off Burke Badenhop. Welcome to Cincinnati, Burke. Reds trailed, 4-3.
- The seesaw kept right on seesawing in the Bottom of the 7th, and this time it was the Reds clawing back to even. Hamilton smacked a 2-out single to CF, and he then moved up to 2B after an Antonio Bastardo wild pitch. That proved to be vital, as it took the Pirates out of a shift situation against Votto, and he promptly smoked a hot grounder past Walker at 2B for an RBI single. Frazier then stepped to the plate, and he deee-stroyed an Arquimedes Caminero pitch fractionally foul of the LF foul pole for what would've been a go-ahead 2-run dinger before finally striking out to end the spurt. Game tied, 4-4.
- While the Reds' bats fell silent for the next 4 innings, Hoover made sure that was moot by keeping the Pirates at bay late, and saying "Pirates at bay" is pretty much the only time ever the phrase "at bay" gets to be used 100% literally. Literally. That paid off in spades when the Reds came to bat in the Bottom of the 11th, as the Pirates had exhausted their entire bullpen and were then committed to using Radhames Liz for the duration. That led to Cozart being hit by a pitch with 1-out, Hamilton coaxing a walk with 2-out, and Votto smacking the game winner down the RF line to send all of the Red Reporters home happy and dru...happy. Reds win, 5-4!
- In a nearly empty ball park at nearly midnight, The Woo broke out in full force. I'm not saying I know who was behind it, I'm just saying I know exactly who was behind it.
- Skinny Joey Votto is the coolest Joey Votto since every Joey Votto ever.
- Anthony DeSclafani takes the mound for the first start of his Reds career in about thirteen minutes. There may be an RR or five in attendance that may just sleep at GABP in between. First pitch is set for 12:35 PM EST, with A.J. Burnett in line to pitch for Pittsburgh.