The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Eugenio Suarez continued the torrid start to his season on Sunday, as the Cincinnati Reds 3B blasted yet another dinger as part of a 3 for 4 day. We knew his offensive breakout in a half-season of play in 2015 showed promise, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who thought he'd come out of the gate in 2016 hitting .holyhell/.goodgarsh/.nofreakingway. Suarez, though, is doing just that, his Sunday dinger being already the fourth of this young season.
Have another trophy, Henny-O, and keep up the awesome work.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Jay Bruce, whose 9th inning laser to the RF corner scored the winning run; Brandon Phillips, who went 2 for 4 and scored the winning run; Tim Melville, who held the Pirates to just a single run in 4 IP in his big league debut; Dan Straily, who was naily in his Reds debut, tossing 3 innings of hitless 3 K ball in relief of Melville; Adam Duvall, who smacked a pair of doubles
- Despite both teams taking walks, smacking singles, and loading the bases through the game's early innings, a bevy of double plays cut down what could've been several big innings. Instead, the lone early run in this one came on a solo dinger by Chris Stewart in his first PA of the season in the Top of the 2nd. Reds trailed, 1-0.
- Jeff Locke danced around the Reds' offense until the Bottom of the 6th, when Suarez finally tagged him with a solo-shot that just cleared the RF fence. Game tied, 1-1.
- There was drama in the Top of the 8th, as Josh Harrison singled to LF off Jumbo Diaz to start a would-be Pirates rally. He moved to 2B on a sac bunt, but Matt Joyce walked two batters later after umpire Joe West called what should've been strike three a ball. That kept the inning alive for John Jaso, who promptly singled to LF. Harrison rounded 3B and headed home for what would've been the go-ahead run, but Duvall's perfect throw and Devin Mesoraco's tag nailed him at the plate. The Pirates challenged Mesoraco blocking the plate, but the play was ultimately upheld.
- That left the Reds in charge of their own destiny in the Bottom of the 9th, and they took it by the horns. Destiny doesn't have horns, but just go with it. BP lifted a single to CF to start the inning, and two-batters later Bruce boinked a laser to the RF corner that allowed Phillips to speed around the bases for the walk-off win. Reds won, 2-1!
FanGraph depicting WALK-OFF AWESOMESAUCE
- You knew the Reds were going to be 5-1 to start the season, didn't you?
- Melville wasn't exactly sharp in this one, but he managed to strand a pile of Pirates in the process. In fact, Zach Buchanan of The Enquirer dug up that the nine baserunners Melville allowed were the most by a pitcher in a four inning, one run debut since 1913. God bless baseball stats. Tim's final line: 4 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 5 K, 1 ER, 92 pitches.
- Joey Votto bounced into a pair of double plays on the day. Devin Mesoraco doinked into one of his own. Crazy to think this team is playing this well with the injured pitching and those two offensive studs struggling.
- The Reds will head north to Wrigley after this one, with a scheduled tilt against the Chicago Cubs in their home opener on Monday on the docket. First pitch is set for 8:05 PM ET, with Brandon Finnegan starting opposite Jon Lester in a battle of talented lefties.