The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Joey Votto went 2 for 3, drove in a pair, walked once, scored twice, and launched a dinger for the second consecutive game for the Cincinnati Reds, and it's truly remarkable how much more lethal this lineup is when Mr. Votto finds his wallet. Just when you thought he may very well go an entire month without hitting a homer, he's laid into meatballs from Washington Nationals starters Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez on back to back days, the kind of arms that don't come cheaply and don't come around often. For that, he gets yet another JNMHSotG trophy for his esteemed collection, one he'll surely put right next to his 2010 NL MVP Award.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Todd Frazier, who continued blasting his way through MLB pitching with a 3 for 4 afternoon (including a pair of doubles and 2 runs scored); Zack Cozart, whose 2-out double put the Reds in front for good; Brayan Pena, who NERTed his way to another 2-hit day; Ryan Mattheus, who tossed 1.1 clean innings against his former club; Billy Hamilton, who went 2 for 4 with a run scored, 2 ribbies, and his 20th stolen base of the season; and J.J. Hoover, who also tossed a clean inning, lowering his ERA to a sporty 2.25 while showing that there's at least one other non-Chapman arm in the bullpen worth his weight.
- The Nationals got to Raisel Iglesias in the opening frame, as Yunel Escobar laced a 2-out double and then got a running start in front of Ryan Zimmerman's single to RF that gave him enough room to score. Reds trailed, 1-0.
- The Reds threatened to threaten in the Bottom of the 1st, as singles from Votto and Frazier and a walk by Jay Bruce loaded the bases, but Brayan Pena lined out right to Ian Desmond at SS, who promptly doubled up Frazier at 2B. Dang.
- Joey Votto found his wallet in the Bottom of the 3rd, y'guys. He smacked his 2nd dinger in as many nights, a 2-run shot that scored Billy Hamilton (who had singled and nabbed 2B despite Gio Gonzalez throwing to 1B when he took off). Reds led, 2-1.
- The Nationals leveled the score in the Top of the 5th, however. Danny Espinosa singled to begin the inning, and after Michael Taylor struck out, Iglesias hit Gonzalez when he was squared up for a bunt. Dang. That moved Espinosa to 2B, and he scored a batter later when Denard Span's looping line-drive landed just in front of a diving Hamilton. Game tied, 2-2.
- Things had been fun for Raisel Iglesias through 2-outs in the Top of the 6th, but that fun ended abruptly when Michael Taylor destroyed his 99th pitch of the game for a dinger that clanged off the 2nd deck facade in LF. Worse, though, was that both Clint Robinson and Danny Espinosa were on base from singles of their own, meaning the Reds were then down, 5-2.
- Votto started the Bottom of the 6th off with a 7 pitch walk off Gonzalez, and he moved to 3B on a ground rule double to RF from Frazier. Bruce followed with a productive grounder that plated Votto and moved Frazier to 3B, and Frazier then motored home on Pena's single to LF. Reds trailed, 5-4.
- Washington reliever Casey Janssen spent the first month and a half of the season on the DL with shoulder inflammation, and after his outing Saturday afternoon, the Nationals probably wish they'd kept him there a bit longer. Janssen yielded a 1-out double to Frazier, a walk to Bruce, a single to Pena that loaded the bases, a 2-RBI double to Cozart, an intentional walk to Skip Schumaker (WHUT), and a 2-RBI single to Hamilton in the Bottom of the 8th. After that, Aroldis Chapman hammered down his 9th save of the year, and that was that. Reds win, 8-5!
- Joey Votto's 1st inning single extended his hitting streak to 9 games. His dinger extended his amazingness streak to infinity.
- Iglesias plunked Gio Gonzalez twice on the day, the latter of which proved to be the Reds' rookie's last pitch of the day. It was the first time a pitcher has been hit by a pitch twice in a single game since flapping heads everywhere started calling for the DH in the NL, probably. Expect more flapping heads tomorrow.
- Saturday's win marked the first time the Reds had won back to back games in some two weeks.
- Skip Schumaker got intentionally walked. Skip Schumaker got intentionally walked. I'll go to my grave wondering why the hell Skip Schumaker got intentionally walked in a 2015 baseball game.
- The Reds won a series!