The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
At some point after you, me, and everyone on this side of the International Date Line had long fallen asleep, Todd Frazier launched a 10th inning solo homer off Sergio Romo to lift the Cincinnati Reds to a victory over the San Francisco Giants in one of the more up & down games in recent memory. It was Todd's lone hit of the evening, but it was big enough that I'm writing about it like it's still relevant some ten hours later because that's what Todd deserves.
You, Todd. You get a trophy for this one.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Brandon Phillips, whose 3 hit evening has his average back up to a hanky-spanky .293; Ivan De Jesus, who went 2 for 4 with a triple, 3 ribbies, a walk, and contributions significant enough to warrant me not typing "Jr." after his name and wondering if I should include both the period and the comma; Joey Votto, who walked twice and scored twice; and Jumbo Diaz, who finally locked this one down for the bullpen after the Reds' pitchers had been thoroughly Posey'd throughout the evening.
- The Reds put up a 3-spot in the Top of the 1st (yay!) thanks to a pair of walks from the top of the order. Jason Bourgeois walked to lead things off, stole 2B, moved to 3B on Buster Posey's throwing error, and then scored when Phillips singled after Votto's walk. Joe Dan then motored home when De Jesus tripled two batters later. Reds led, 3-0.
- The Giants put up a 3-spot in the Bottom of the 4th (boo!), and it came when Posey smoked a John Lamb meatball some twelve rows up in the LF seats. That wouldn't have been so much of a problem had Kelby Tomlinson and Matt Duffy not both been on base courtesy of a pair of singles. Game tied, 3-3.
- Ryan Mattheus took over for the 5th and promptly yielded a solo dinger, and he left Marlon Byrd on-base (thanks to a De Jesus error) when he gave way to Manny Parra in the Bottom of the 6th. A Brandon Belt double to the corner in RF scored Byrd, and the Reds were down 5-3.
- Fortunately for the Reds, the Giants brought out the Looney Tunes portion of their bullpen for the Top of the 7th, and it led to 5 runs and a re-take of the lead. Josh Osich took the mound to begin the inning, and he walked Skip Schumaker with 1-out. Innocuous enough, one would think, but Osich's defense then made it quite conspicuous with a throwing error on Bourgeois' comebacker that resulted in Schumaker trying to come all the way around to score. He did, initially, but replay eventually ruled him out, if I'm remembering this correctly after I fell asleep shortly thereafter. Bourgeois was still on base, though, and he scored on a Jay Bruce single that knocked Osich from the game. Votto then smacked a grounder past Belt off the LOOGY charged with retiring him, and that left runners on the corners for Phillips once Hunter Strickland was summoned to pitch. Beep singled to score Bruce, Strickland then hit Frazier to load the bases, and De Jesus walked to score Votto and made Marty Brennaman's belt tighten three loops. George Kontos then took over, and PH Ramon Cabrera continued his hotness by smacking a 2-run single to make this the single longest Key Play of the 2015 season. Reds led, 8-5.
- But wait...there's more! Aroldis Chapman took over for J.J. Hoover in the Bottom of the 8th after Hoov walked Posey, let him go to 2B on a wild pitch, and walked Byrd. Chapman was tasked with facing pinch-hitter Madison Bumgarner because the National League is twelve kinds of awesome and a bag of potato chips better than the American League, and Chappy walked Bum in what must have been some sort of otherworldly experience to load the bases. Aroldis then hit a guy to force in a run before getting Alejandro De Aza to strike out for his 18th team since the start of the 2014 season. That left things at 8-6, but when Chappy came back out for the Bottom of the 9th, the fun was still rolling. Angel Pagan Deutoronomied a ground-rule double to start the inning, and he scored a batter later on a Duffy infield single & throwing error by Frazier. Posey then singled to level the score at 8-8 and force anyone still awake and watching on the East Coast to stay tuned in past 2:15 AM.
- Frazier was tired, however. So tired. Tired like he's got a 1-year old keeping him up all night trying to communicate with him by saying nothing but "dada" and "mama" and dropping mushed applesauce on his sparkling new sneakers. Playing baseball til 3 AM didn't seem as entertaining to him as it did back in his younger days, back before the money started rolling in and baseball became a business. It had become work, a job, but a job he was damn good at. One he knew he controlled solely, and viciously, one where a single swing of the bat could send him to bed and erase the error he'd committed just minutes before. So, Todd did what Todd does, which is hit moonballs off opposing pitchers in crucial moments on the biggest stages, this one a 422 foot blast to left-center off Sergio Romo that - thanks to Jumbo in the Bottom of the 10th - finally put this one to rest. Reds won, 9-8.
- This game lasted over 4 hours.
- Phillips is now hitting .333/.355/.452 with 4 dingers and 25 ribbies in 33 starts as the team's cleanup hitter so far in 2015, nearly all of which have come with Joey Votto hitting right in front of him in the 3 spot. This is the narrative that will never end...
- Michael Lorenzen will toe the rubber in yet another 10:15 PM ET start on Wednesday, where he'll be opposed by Jake Peavy.