The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
It's been quite the 15 hour stretch for Cincinnati Reds 1B Joey Votto.
Votto backed the walk-off that won the 2nd game of the series over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the wee hours of Thursday morning with the biggest hit in today's game, too, a 2-run dinger to tie the game just a half inning after their NL Central rivals jumped ahead 2-0. Votto has looked spry so far in the season's early going, and while he'd sprayed singles around the diamond through the first pair of games, it's great to see his back leg strong enough to drive the ball out of the park once again.
Have another trophy, Joey.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Billy Hamilton, who walked and stole 2 more bases; Marlon Byrd, who put the bat on the ball to help score the game-winning run(with a bit of a derp from the Pirates' defense); Todd Frazier, who doubled and scored the game's winning run; and Anthony DeSclafani, who was solid through his 6 IP (even dodging a rain delay of over an hour).
- After a near 3 hour rain delay and extra innings pushed last night's game into the wee hours of the morning, it wasn't terribly surprising to see both teams sluggish out of the gates today. In fact, it took 4 innings and another hour long rain delay before the scoring began, and unfortunately it came from the Pirates in the Top of the 5th. Pedro Alvarez smacked a DeSclafani fastball for a single through the right side of the infield, and Jordy Mercer followed with a single up the middle. Disco got Tony Sanchez to strike out before A.J. Burnett moved the runners over with a bunt, but a fastball got away from the young Reds hurler and plunked Josh Harrison to load the bases. It appeared the Reds would escape when Gregory Polanco hit a sharp liner right at Zack Cozart, but a hesitant attempt to flip to 2B and subsequent attempt to get the runner at 1B resulted in an infield single that drove home Alvarez before the next batter grounded out to end the threat. Reds trailed, 1-0.
- Alvarez was back in the box again in the Top of the 6th, and he floated a GABP special that just cleared the wall in LF for a solo dinger. It was the 2,500th dinger in the history of the Reds' home stadium, for what it's worth. Reds trailed, 2-0.
- That lead was short lived, however, as the Reds immediately put a pair on the board in the Bottom of the 6th. Skip Schumaker led off with a single, and after he was retired via fielder's choice at 2B on a Hamilton grounder, Billy swiped 2B, and Votto followed with a 2-strike, 2-run dinger over the outstretched glove of Andrew McCutchen in CF. Game tied, 2-2.
- After Aroldis Chapman blew by the Pirates in the Top of the 9th, the stage was set for some drama in the Bottom of the 9th with the middle of the Cincinnati order due up. Frazier wasted no time in capitalizing, smashing a double to the wall in LF off reliever Rob Scahill. He moved up to 3B on a productive grounder from Devin Mesoraco, and after Pittsburgh walked Jay Bruce intentionally to set up a potential double play, Byrd hit a liner that ate up a charging Polanco in RF and ultimately kicked off his glove to allow the winning run to score. Frazier motored home, and that was that. Reds win, 3-2!
- Todd Frazier is now slugging a cool .846 on the season, and that's with a would-be dinger missing the foul pole by mere feet last night and another fly ball today that reached the warning track in LF. Safe to say he's locked in at this point.
- DeSclafani's day was a tale of two parts, really. He looked excellent through his first 4 IP, but left several balls up in the zone that were hit hard after returning from the rain delay. Still, his line (6 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 2 ER, 6 K) was solid, and he mixed in solid off-speed and breaking pitches to back his 93-94 mph fastball quite well. I was impressed.
- The Reds will go home, eat some soup, nap for a bit, and then prepare to host a 3 game series versus the St. Louis Cardinals over the weekend. Jason Marquis will take the mound for Cincinnati against his former club Friday evening opposite John Lackey, with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 PM ET. (/crosses fingers)
- Two walk-offs in the first three games? Alright, alright, alright!