The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Eugenio Suarez struggled through the bulk of May, but the Cincinnati Reds 3B seemingly found himself while honking dingers in the thin air of Colorado this week. That success carried over to Friday's return to Cincinnati, and Suarez raked against Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals.
Suarez went 3 for 4 with a homer, 2 runs scored, and a pair driven in, in the process cementing that he's a masher of LHP and that hopefully the struggles are a thing of the past.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Brandon Finnegan, who held Washington to just a single run in his 6.1 IP; Adam Duvall, who dingered and doubled; Brandon Phillips, who singled twice and drove in a pair; Zack Cozart, who dingered as part of a 2 for 4 evening; and JC Ramirez, who tossed a perfect inning of relief that saw him strikeout the side.
- Duvall doubled to the wall in LF to leadoff the Bottom of the 2nd, and he scored a batter later when Suarez hit a grounder for a single up the middle. Back to back singles from Billy Hamilton and Ramon Cabrera left the bases loaded, and Suarez then motored home when Cozart poked a single past Daniel Murphy at 2B two batters later. Gio Gonzalez got Votto to strike out, but Phillips then singled to CF to score both Billy and Cabrera. Bruce then just missed crushing one out to RF, instead lifting a deep fly out to end the inning. Reds led, 4-0.
- Suarez tacked on another run in the Bottom of the 3rd, though it took an umpire review to change what was originally called a double off the top of the wall in LF to a solo dinger that just cleared it. Reds led, 5-0.
- Jayson Werth finally got the Nats on the board in the Top of the 7th when he reached out to go the other way on a Finnegan offering on the outside of the plate for a GABP RF special of a solo dinger. Blake Wood took over after Finny allowed a follow-up single to Anthony Rendon, and he fortunately got out of the mini jam. Reds led, 5-1.
- Cozart got that run back in a hurry, however, as he took Yusmeiro Petit deep to leadoff the Bottom of the 7th. Reds led, 6-1.
- Washington small-balled a run across in the Top of the 8th, but Duvall dingered in the home half of the inning to negate that. Reds led, 7-2.
- JC Ramirez was tasked with keeping that lead safe in the Top of the 9th, and he obliged. Reds won, 7-2!
- That's a trio of wins in a row for the Reds, and 4 of their last 5. Don't look now, but they're probably not as bad as the 11 loss in a row squad you watched last month.
- Finnegan's final line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K on 110 pitches. He's been durable, he's been effective enough to sport a 3.89 ERA at this point of the season, and he's not afraid to challenge guys, but his K/BB ratio has continued to trend closer to 1 than any pitcher would hope for. It's something that I think will improve with experience, but it certainly means he's dealing with high pitch counts early and flirting with disaster.
- Dan Straily will have his ace-ness tested in Saturday's contest, as he'll be opposed by Nationals star Stephen Strasburg. First pitch is set for 4:10 PM ET.