The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Mike Leake took a no-hitter into the Bottom of the 7th inning against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday evening, and despite Maikel Franco busting it up with a 2-out single - and later busting up all the damn things with a 9th inning dinger - the Cincinnati Reds hurler pitched a marvelous game. He finished with a 3-hit, 2 ER performance over 8+ IP, walking just a pair of Phillies while striking out 9 in 119 pretty damn impressive pitches. Given that he'd allowed some 20 runs in his previous three outings, it was certainly a ripe moment for a "right the ship" kind of game, and Leake responded in a huge way.
Have a trophy, Mike, and welcome back to the land of the quality start.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Brandon Phillips, who went 3 for 5 with a double, a pair of ribbies, a run scored, a walk, and a steal in yet another impressive performance from the leadoff spot; Joey Votto, who went 3 for 6 with two doubles, a 2-run dinger, and a run scored; and Jay Bruce, who went 0 for 3, but added a pair of walks to take the overall team lead with 29 on the season;
- Cole Hamels pitched around a bevy of baserunners through the game's first 3 innings and managed to get through them without allowing a run. That changed in the Top of the 4th, however, as the Reds finally got a hit with RISP thanks to Phillips. After Tucker Barnhart took a 1-out walk and Leake followed with a single, Billy Hamilton reached when his soft grounder was bungled by a Hamels/Ryan Howard combo at 1B. Howard fielded it cleanly, but he flipped it a bit behind Hamels, who couldn't corral it with his bare hand. That left the bases loaded, and BP smacked a sharp single to LF that scored both Tucker & Leake. Reds led, 2-0.
- Bats on both sides went silent until the Top of the 9th, at which point Jake DIekman took the mound for Philadelphia. The hard-throwing lefty got Hamilton to K to start the inning, but he then walked Brandon Phillips before Votto launched a 2-run blast to CF. Reds led, 4-0.
- Those insurance runs proved pivotal, I guess, in that it meant the game was no longer in a save situation and therefore closer Aroldis Chapman was not brought in to begin the 9th inning. Instead, Leake was brought out despite having thrown 109 pitches and allowing nary a run, and he promptly allowed back to back singles to Ben Revere and Jeff Francouer before being pulled. Chapman finally was brought in, and he proceeded to yield a hard-hit liner that Hamilton had to dive to catch, and that allowed Revere to score from 3B via tag. Chapman then walked Ryan Howard before Maikel Franco blasted yet another late game dinger, a 3-run blast to LF that tied the damn game up. Game tied, 4-4.
- Fast forward to the Bottom of the 11th, where Ryan Mattheus was brought on for his requisite inning. He allowed a nub-shot opposite field double to Cody Asche, which proved to be the winning run. Freddy Galvis followed Asche with a slow grounder that Votto fielded and flipped to Mattheus as he covered 1B, but Mattheus boinked the catch and the ball ricocheted far enough away to allow Asche to score the walk-off run. Reds lose, 5-4.
- That's now back to back games where the Reds have lost late leads against the single worst offense (and probably the single worst team) in all of baseball.
- It's the billionth consecutive game the Reds have lost in walk-off fashion to the Phillies. Roughly.
- Don't forget, though, that the Reds are hosting the All Star Game this summer. /sticks head in blender
- Joey Votto has now gone 9 for 21 with 3 dingers, 3 doubles, 2 walks, and 7 ribbies since he found his wallet last week. I think that's pretty OK.
- Jay Bruce's 3 walk evening leaves him with 30 on the season, which is the most on the Reds. That's right, he's overtaken Votto, who has merely 28.
- J.J. Hoover's 2.14 ERA is now lower than Aroldis Chapman's 2.31 ERA. Hrrmm...