The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Joey Votto entered Saturday's contest against the Milwaukee Brewers having hit a ridiculous .376/.567/.696 since the All Star break, which you'll remember was an actual "break" for him since he was bypassed for the game itself.
The time off apparently did him a solid.
The Cincinnati Reds 1B had a Saturday outing that was good enough to improve each component of his slash line, as he went 3 for 5 with a massive, lead-seizing 2-run homer in the 9th inning that took the Reds from a run behind in a game in which they'd had a large lead to a run ahead with Aroldis Chapman warming. What's crazy, I suppose, is that this was probably only his third or fourth best game since the break, too.
Have a trophy, Joe Dan, and keep blasting your way to another Top 5 in the NL MVP vote.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Jay Bruce, who went 3 for 5 with a superdinger, a double, 3 ribbies, and 3 runs scored; Todd Frazier, who dingered and scored twice; Jason Bourgeois, who had 3 hits and scored 3 runs; Brandon Phillips, who walked twice (wait, what?); and Skip Schumaker, who went 2 for 3 with a double.
- The orthodoxy displayed by the Reds in their recent struggle to score runs went kaput in the Top of the 1st, and wouldn't ya know, it resulted in them scoring a pair of runs. Jason Bourgeois led off with a dink single that landed in between three Brewers in shallow CF, and new #2 hitter Jay Bruce smoked a double the other way to put runners on 2B & 3B. After Joey Votto was called out on strikes on a ball that wasn't close to the inside of the strike zone, Brandon Phillips hit a grounder to 2B slowly enough to get Boozewah home and move Bruce up to 3B. Todd Frazier then dropped a bunt down the 3B line, and that trickily got Bruce across the plate. Reds led, 2-0.
- Milwaukee got a run back in the Bottom of the 1st, however, as Scooter Gennett singled to lead off, moved to 2B when Jonathan Lucroy walked, and scooted home on a single up the middle off the bat of Adam Lind. Reds led, 2-1.
- The run faucet was left on for the Top of the 2nd, at it began with an Eugenio Suarez single up the middle. Henny motored all the way to 3B on a double to the RF corner off the bat of Skip Schumaker, and a productive grounder to 1B from Tucker Barnhart got the run in. Unfortunately, Skip got nailed trying to score on a ground while running on contact with Keyvius Sampson at the plate, getting thrown out by about 18 feet on a grounder to SS. That ultimately cost the Reds a run, but Bruce did his diddly-est to render that irrelevant when he hit a 700 foot dinger off the scoreboard in CF with Bourgeois and Sampson both on base. Reds led, 6-1!
- Defense? What defense?! The Brewers added a pair of runs in the Bottom of the 2nd, and it began with a leadoff walk to Elian Herrera - which haunted. He moved to 3B when Jean Segura doubled, and later scored when Gennett singled to LF. Segura initially held at 3B, but he scored when Skip's throw to the infield missed Frazier wide-right (and Frazier somehow got tagged with the error). Reds led, 6-3.
- Votto singled off of Garza's butt in the Top of the 4th. The impact wasn't what knocked Garza out of the game, but the Reds' 7th run crossing the plate on the play sure did, which happened thanks to Bourgeois singling & alertly taking 2B on a wild pitch in front of Votto. Reds led, 7-3.
- Segura & Scooter combined to chase Sampson in the Bottom of the 4th, as the Brewers SS singled, took 2B on a wild pitch, and scored on Gennett's single. Pedro Villarreal took over, but a Braun single scored Scooter and a Lind single scored some other Brewer who reached base at that point, and that left the Reds ahead, 7-6.
- Frazier launched a solo dinger down the LF line in the Top of the 5th, his 30th of the season. Reds led, 8-6.
- Milwaukee scored again in the Bottom of the 5th. Thrice, actually. That left the Reds behind, 9-8.
- Both offenses finally hit the skids for the next three innings, but the Reds took command in the Top of the 9th when the heart of the lineup came to bat against closer Francisco Rodriguez. Bruce singled to begin things, and he scored when Votto blasted a mammoth opposite field dinger. Frazier later reached when his grounder resulted in a fielder's choice retiring Phillips (who had also singled), and Frazier then scored with a tricky slide on a wild pitch after Brayan Pena's pinch-hit single had moved him to 3B. Pena then came home on a single from Tucker Barnhart, and after Chapman slammed the door in the Bottom of the 9th, the Reds left with a hard-fought 12-9 win!
<iframe src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=0&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2015-08-29&team=Brewers&dh=0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="http://www.fangraphs.com/livewins.aspx?date=2015-08-29&team=Brewers&dh=0&season=2015">FanGraphs</a></span>
- Every Reds starting position player had at least one hit tonight. Ivan De Jesus came in on a double switch mid-game, and he picked up a walk for good measure.
- Sampson needed 97 pitches to record just eleven outs. His final line: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K.
- If the Reds are going to win enough games to stay out of drafting 1st overall in 2016, the least they could do is make them as entertaining as this one. It would, however, be pretty fantastic if their 9 inning games were a bit faster than the 4 hours and 2 minutes this one needed.