The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
You know I'm not afraid to give the trophy to a non-Red on a day like this, but if you think that I'm giving this award to a Cardinal, well, stop reading right now and check yourself into a insane asylum.
So by default, this'll go to Joey Votto, who hit his first home run slash extra base hit on this evening in the 3rd. At the time, it brought the Reds right back into the game. Of course the game would go off the rails from that point, but it's nice to see Votto be Votto. This season hasn't started the way that he would've liked, but it has to be good for him to see one go over the wall. If there's any chance that that is the one that helped him locate his wallet, well, it'll be a fun time to watch Joey Votto hit baseballs.
Honorable mention to Zack Cozart, who returned from his quad injury to lead off and go 2-4 in this one, scoring a run; Billy Hamilton, who went 1 for 3 with a double and several spectacular defensive plays in center field; Dan Straily for continuing to come into games in really bad spots and not pour gasoline onto the fire (3 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 K), and Tim Melville, who wasn't good, but was pitching in basically his home town and failed spectacularly and didn't break down sobbing like I would've in the same circumstance.
This game isn't easy, folks.
- The Cardinals got the game going from the very first batter. Tim Melville threw 9 straight balls before recording a strike, meaning Matt Carpenter and Jeremy Hazelbaker walked consecutively. The second pitch to Matt Holliday was a strike, but I don't know what the third pitch would've been, because Holliday obliterated the ball, putting it over the wall in center field. Melville got Stephen Piscotty to strike out swinging. Randal Grichuk came to the plate and roped a low liner to Reds 3B Eugenio Suarez, who promptly let it go between his legs. Grichuk advanced to second on the fielding error, but was promptly scored on a Yadier Molina liner just over the glove of Brandon Phillips. Kolton Wong flew out before Aledmys Diaz hit a soft grounder toward third that Suarez gloved and then dropped on the transfer for his second error of the inning. Carlos Martinez mercifully grounded out to end the inning and somehow the Cardinals ONLY scored 4 runs. Seemed like 11. Cards up, 4-0.
- Wow, are you still reading? Cool, 'cause I'm still writing. The Reds did some things in the top of the 3rd inning. After Melville and Billy Hamilton outs, Cozart looped a softly hit single into shallow left. Suarez did much of the same, just putting a jam shot where nobody could get to it in right, advancing Cozart to third. Up to the plate came Joey Votto, who got down 0-2 and characteristically choked up on the bat. Didn't matter, because Martinez grooved a 98 mph fastball (as much as you can groove a 98 mph fastball, I suppose), which Joey squared up, squeaking it over the wall in left for a 3 run dinger. BP grounded out thereafter, but the Reds clawed back to within 1, Cards led 4-3.
- All good things must end, of course, and the Cardinals were able to strike back in a big way in the bottom of the frame. Grichuk popped out on the first pitch, Molina doubled, and Wong singled all before Melville sent a slider that didn't slide so much to Diaz, who used it to abuse the seats in left field. Martinez poured salt in the wound by getting a #PitcherHit, but Carpenter and Hazelbaker would make consecutive outs to stop the pain. Cardinals get all 3 back and led 7-3.
- Things were going swimmingly for the Reds in the bottom of the 6th. Carpenter blasted a ball off of Reds relief pitcher Dan Straily, but Billy Hamilton made a spectacular catch, climbing the center field wall to bring back a would be dinger. Hazelbaker struck out, but Holliday came to bat and crushed a dinger to center that Billy couldn't have gotten to if he were 20 feet tall. Piscotty flied out to end the inning, but the Cardinals tack another on, 8-3.
- In the bottom of the 7th, Bryan Price brought Alfredo Simon on to pitch the inning, just 2 days after he started a game at Wrigley and got LIT UP. Well, if you're still reading, dear friend, things didn't get any better. Grichuk immediately hit a lead off ding dong. Molina flied out before Wong reached on another Reds error, this one by the usually sure handed Cozart. Diaz doubled before Brandon Moss was brought in to pinch hit for Martinez. He hit a 3 run home run, because of course he did. There were outs after that and whatever. Cards, 12-3.
- Jumbo Diaz was brought on to pitch in the bottom of the 8th. The Cardinals continued to hit home runs. Some guy named Greg Garcia singled and moved to 2B on a passed ball and Piscotty lined out to center before Matt Adams hit a two run blast to right. Some guy named Eric Fryer then singled before Wong erased him as second but beat the throw to first to escape a double play. A. Diaz just about took Suarez's head off with a line shot but, somewhat amazingly in this game, Suarez caught it to end the inning. 14-3, Cards.
- The Reds didn't win. 14-3
- Tim Melville was making his second career major league start some 45 minutes away from his hometown of Wentzville, Missouri. Unfortunately for the kid, it didn't go so well, to the tune of 3 IP, 6 ER, 3 BB, and 2K. But I'm sure it was a treat for his friends and family to at least see him take the mound in a major league game at Busch Stadium. That's not nothing.
- Joey Votto hit his first extra base hit of the season in this one, a three run oppo home run while he was choked up at least 4 or 5 inches on the bat while being behind in the count. Because he's Joey Votto and you're not.
- Eugenio Suarez was credited with 2 more errors tonight, bringing his season total to 5. That, dear Reds fans, is less than ideal. It's going to continue being a learning curve all season, and as long as he keeps hitting, I'm sure the Reds will live with it. But, man, it's ugly out there at times.
- Billy Hamilton (and certainly other players, I'm sure) were wearing these cleats today, which are outstanding:
- Alfredo Simon was brought in to pitch the bottom of the 7th for the Reds, 48 hours after he couldn't make it out of the 1st inning at Wrigley. He was awful again, but it's too early to tell if it's because he's just actually awful now or if it was because of the weird circumstances. This bullpen is gassed, and Simon didn't work a lot in his start (by his own doing, of course), but wow did he look bad tonight. Will be interesting to hear Price talk about this decision.