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CIN 8, CLE 6: Mesoraco homers in first AB of spring

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The Mesorocket was one of three dingers the Reds hit in Thursday's win.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

All of us here have been dying to see Devin Mesoraco's return, and gosh damn if he didn't deliver. He played just two innings behind the plate and got just one plate appearance, but he made the most of it with a 2-run blast on the third pitch he saw from Danny Salazar. Two other Reds hit homers on the day, and the bullpen pitched a terrific game, but Mesoraco's brief promise of a successful return is enough to make any Reds fan's day considerably better.

Honorable mentions go to Scott Schebler and Jay Bruce, who each homered; Eugenio Suarez, who drove in two with a double, Brandon Phillips, who doubled twice; Billy Hamilton, who tripled; Ramon Cabrera, who doubled and collected an RBI; and Dayan Diaz, Jumbo Diaz, Jonathan Sanchez, Pedro Villareal and A.J. Morris, who combined for 6.1 scoreless innings of work in relief.

Key Plays:

  • Robert Stephenson got the call to start for Cincinnati today, but it became clear pretty much right away that he didn't have his stuff. He hit leadoff hitter Rajai Davis with a pitch to start the game, and allowed him to score three batters later on a wild pitch. That was quickly forgotten, however, in the bottom of the first inning. That's when Mesoraco stepped to the plate for the first time this spring and cranked a 2-run homer to left field following a double off the bat of Phillips. Reds lead 2-1.
  • The Indians tied 'er up in the second inning, but it was hard to blame Stephenson much this time. The guys behind him committed two errors in the inning, the second of which came on a grounder to Eugenio Suarez at third and scored a run. Wahoos 2, Reds 2.
  • Everything broke down for Stephenson in the third, as Erik Gonzalez and Davis each singled ahead of Jason Kipnis, who blasted a 3-run dinger to right center. Stephenson then retired Santana, but gave up a single to Mike Napoli and a run-scoring triple to Tyler Naquin that marked the end of his afternoon. The Reds got partial revenge in the bottom of the inning, when Phillips doubled again and Bruce cleared the fence for the first time this spring. Suarez was hit by a pitch immediately following the homer, but with Schebler at the plate, Suarez got picked off (again (drink?)) at first. Indians lead 6-4.
  • That pickoff turned out to be pretty gosh-darned important, because Schebler promptly smacked his third homer of the spring to start the next inning. It could have tied the game, but instead, it brought the Reds to within one. Manziels 6, Daltons 5.
  • After a couple of much-needed zeroes posted by the Diaz duo out of the pen, the Reds had their breakthrough in the fifth. Hamilton began the inning with a triple, followed by an RBI double by Cabrera and, two batters later, Suarez doubled home a pair to give Cincinnati back the lead, 8-6.
  • It continued to be a masterful day by the bullpen, and the Reds held out for the W.

MFW One Day Closer To Baseball

Other Notes:

  • Cincinnati improves to 7-9 with the win, which is technically an improvement, but far less nice.
  • I have yet to determine if Suarez is actually trying to be more of a basestealing threat, or if he's just real bad at reading pickoff moves from first.
  • Cody Reed tossed two perfect innings and struck out three in Cincinnati's B game this morning, starting against former Red Mat Latos. Former Red Alfredo Simon, meanwhile, became a current Red again this morning.
  • The Reds also placed Juan Duran on the restricted list, taking the 40-man roster down to just 38.
  • Cincinnati's next battle is with their rebuilding buddies in the Central, the Milwaukee Brewers. First pitch is set for 4:05p.m.