The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Every single Cincinnati Reds starting position player picked up at least one hit, three picked up two walks, and three scored at least a pair of runs in their offensive outburst against the Minnesota Twins on Monday in a balanced effort that featured nary a dinger but a near non-stop moving of runners around the bases. With that in mind, let's give a big ol' hearty JNMHSotG to hitting coach Don Long, who has managed to go wholly unmentioned in most every single Red Reporter article all year despite the team having climbed up the team OPS charts to respectability sans Devin Mesoraco.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Billy Hamilton, who went 2 for 4 with 2 walks, 3 runs scored, and 4 (!) stolen bases; Tucker Barnhart, who went 4 for 5 with a run scored and 2 runs batted in; Ivan De Jesus, Jr., who went 2 for 3 with 2 runs scored, an RBI, and 2 walks; Joey Votto, who walked twice, scored once, and drove in 2 runs; Jay Bruce, who had 2 doubles and 2 RBIs; Eugenio Suarez, who went 3 for 5 with 3 ribbies and a run scored; Nate Adcock and Manny Parra, who each tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief of Mike Leake; and Aroldis Chapman, who struck out the side in the 9th inning.
- Leake sat the Twins down abruptly in the Top of the 1st, immediately out-Miking the Bottom of the 1st thrown by Minnesota's Mike Pelphrey. Hamilton led off with a bunt single, and the Reds quickly loaded the bases when De Jesus singled and Votto walked. Frazier then followed with a single that fell in front of a squinting-from-the-sun Eduardo Escobar to drive in Billy, and a Jay Bruce sac fly backed by a Barnhart single drove in another two runs to put the Reds ahead, 3-0.
- Trevor Plouffe led off the Top of the 2nd with a double for the Twins. He later scored, but that's not what's important here. Say "Plouffe" out loud a few times. THAT'S what interleague play is good for. Reds led, 3-1.
- Hamilton took a 1-out walk in the Bottom of the 2nd, stole both 2B & 3B, and scored to make it 4-1 Reds when De Jesus bounced a single over a pulled-in infield. Votto then walked, but a double play kept things from getting more out of hand.
- Quite often, whenever the Reds put on their whoopin' shoes in an early inning of a game, they forget they're wearing them just a half inning later. On Monday, that wasn't the case, as they kept their whoopers on and went Rick James on Pelphrey's couch again in the Bottom of the 3rd. Bruce led off with a double, Marlon Byrd followed with a single to leave runners on the corners, and those were backed by another RBI single from Barnhart and a 2-run double from Eugenio Suarez to chase the Pelph to an early shower. Former UK pitcher Alex Meyer was brought on to pitch for Minnesota, and he promptly walked the bases loaded before Votto smacked a 2-run single over Escobar's head in LF. Reds led, 9-1.
- The Twins, to their credit, didn't roll over. Instead, they came right back and strung together a double-single-single to open the Top of the 4th (the last of which scored Torii Hunter, who was the doubler). After a wild pitch and a strikeout, Escobar smacked an RBI double, Danny Santana singled two batters later to drive in Eddie Rosario, and the one guy on the Twins you don't ever want to hang a meatball to - Brian Dozier - got a hanging meatball that he hit for a 3-run dinger. ALL OF A SUDDEN, the Reds led 9-7.
- The Bottom of the 6th saw the Reds cobble together another multi-hit run driven in, this time from a Byrd single, a Barnhart double that moved Byrd to 3B, and a would-be suicide squeeze from Suarez that resulted in an RBI bunt single. Reds led, 10-7.
- The scoring finally slowed down after all that noise, though, with the only additional damage coming courtesy of another Bruce double in the Bottom of the 7th, a 2-out version that scored De Jesus (who had led off the inning with a walk). The bullpen shut things down from there, with Chapman fanning the side in the 9th to lock things up. Reds win, 11-7!
- Mike Leake was tagged for 7 ER in just 4 IP, raising his season ERA to a lofty 4.38. Considering his youth and the coming blockbuster free agent SP class, I'm seriously doubting whether he'd decline a Qualifying Offer from the Reds if extended one.
- Manny Parra has been dang near spotless this year. Remember this statement, though, since finally admitting it is the kind of doom that'll charge him with 6 ER in 0.1 IP soon.
- Game Two of the interleague series against the Twins will drop the puck at 7:10 PM ET tomorrow, with Anthony DeSclafani kicking off opposite Phil Hughes.