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Joey Votto dingered, Reds beat Braves 8-2 in series opener

Dingers, man. Dingers.

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Joey Votto is not the Joey Votto we watched in April, nor the Joey Votto we watched in May.  He's the Joey Votto we've watched bust heads for nearly a decade, and that very same Votto has been on full display for several weeks now once again.

Votto belted a 2-run dinger on Monday against the Atlanta Braves, and he later added both a walk and an RBI single, and he has once again become the battleship in the middle of the Cincinnati Reds lineup that he's almost always been.  He's bumped his season OBP back to within a sniff of the .400 mark, and he's got his OPS back atop the team leaderboard.

In other words, you can flush the Deadspin article from June mostly down the crapper.

Honorable Mentions are due to:  Billy Hamilton, who went 3 for 5 with 3 stolen bases and a pair of runs scored; Blake Wood, who K'd a pair as part of a perfect inning (that included stranding a pair of inherited runners with none out); Brandon Finnegan, who allowed just a pair of earned runs in 5 somewhat inefficient IP, yet walked just one against 5 strikeouts; Eugenio Suarez, who dingered; Raisel Iglesias, who threw another pair of scoreless innings; and Tucker Barnhart, who had 2 hits and a ribbie.

Key Plays

  • Both Finnegan and Braves starter Matt Wisler largely breezed through the order the first time around, but both offense got off the schneid in the 4th inning.  Atlanta struck first courtesy of a Jeff Francoeur double that scored Adonis Garcia in the top half, but the Reds blasted back in the home half of the inning.  Cozart led off by belting his 15th homer of the season over the wall in LF, and after Billy Hamilton singled and wrought havoc on the bases for a few pitches, Votto mauled a Wisler meatball for a 2-run dinger well into the RF seats.  Not to be outdone, the bottom of the order chipped in, too, as Brandon Phillips later singled in front of Suarez's 16th homer of the season.  When the smoke cleared, the Reds led, 5-1.
  • Atlanta got one back in the Top of the 6th, as Garcia led off the inning with a solo homer into the RF seats.  A ground-rule double by Freddie Freeman and single by Nick Markakis followed, but Wood then took over for Finnegan and stomped all over the would-be rally by retiring three in a row and stranding both runners. Reds led, 5-2.
  • The Reds got that run back in the Bottom of the 6th, however.  A leadoff walk taken by Adam Duvall ended Wisler's evening, and Duvall later ended up on 2B when a would-be double play ball hit by Phillips ended up with SS Erick Aybar throwing wide of 2B and both runners being safe.  (In fact, Duvall got hit with the throw, either in the cheek or collarbone.)  Two batters later, Tucker Barnhart dumped a single into LF, and that was good enough to bring Duvall in to score.  Reds led, 6-2.
  • Cincinnati tacked on another two runs in the Bottom of the 7th, and Hamilton and Votto were behind it yet again. Billy reached on an infield single, stole 2B, and scored when Votto smacked a hard-hit single into RF that would've been a red light at 3B for most every other baserunner in the game.  Votto then motored home two batters later when Ivan De Jesus, Jr. pinch-hit with a single to RF, and the Reds led, 8-2.
  • From that point forward, Iglesias and Ross Ohlendorf combined to shut the Braves down, and that was that. Reds won, 8-2!
Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes
  • Yep, that was De Jesus, Jr. pinch hitting and taking over for BP in the Bottom of the 7th.  Not Jose Peraza, of course.
  • We learned today that Devin Mesoraco - remember him? - had surgery on another labrum, this time a preemptive procedure done on his right hip after previously having similar knifings on his left hip and left shoulder.  If perchance this catching and baseball thing gets derailed due to all of this, he's pretty much qualified to be a doctor at this point, so at least he's got that going for him.
  • Former Red Aroldis Chapman apparently threw a pitch 105.1 mph tonight, which is completely absurd. Equally absurd - if not on a completely other level of absurd - is this, as Doug Gray noted.
  • Cody Reed will toe the rubber for the Reds when they tangle with the Braves again Tuesday, with first pitch set for 7:10 PM ET.  He'll be opposed on the mound by former Tyrell Jenkins, a former 1st round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals who came to Atlanta in the Jason Heyward trade back in 2014.
  • Extended Austin City Limits Tunes.