The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Tucker Barnhart looks so much like actor Ben Foster that it sometimes scares me.
I don't think Ben Foster has ever had a 3 for 4 evening that featured a ribbie, two runs scored, and stolen base, however. That's exactly what Tucker gave the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, and it was his jam-shot single in the Top of the 10th that put the Reds ahead for good. For that, he gets the JNMHSotG nod, one that's quite deserved.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Dan Straily, who carried a 1-hitter into the 8th inning before folding a bit, but still finished with a dang solid 7 IP, 3 ER outing; Adam Duvall, who doubled twice, drove in a pair, and scored; and Zack Cozart, who busted out of his slump with a 3 for 5 evening.
- Cozart got the ball rolling for the Reds immediately, singling up the middle to lead off the Top of the 1st. A wild pitch from Joe Ross and a plunked Jose Peraza then followed, and after Jay Bruce struck out, Duvall dumped a double down the LF line to clear the bases. Two batters later, newly minted non-number-three hitter Brandon Phillips singled up the middle to score Duvall. Reds led, 3-0.
- Cincinnati struck again in the Top of the 2nd, as Barnhart led off with a single, moved up to 2B on a sac bunt by Straily, and scored when Cozy poked a double into RF. Reds led, 4-0.
- Washington finally got on the board thanks to an RBI triple off the bat of Ben Revere, albeit one that was nearly hauled in by a diving Billy Hamilton as he flew towards the wall in right-center. The deep fly landed just a foot beyond his outstretched glove, however, and that brought in Stephen Drew (who had walked to lead off the Bottom of the 3rd). Reds led, 4-1.
- Straily sailed into the Bottom of the 8th having allowed just a lone hit on the evening - Revere's RBI triple - but that quickly changed when Danny Espinosa turned around an 88 mph meatball for a 2-run homer, helped by the fact that Drew had coaxed a walk to leadoff the inning. That chased Straily and brought Blake Wood in from the beleaguered bullpen, and he had just as much trouble while on the bump. Wood walked Anthony Rendon, allowed Rendon to steal 2B, saw Rendon move to 3B on a sac bunt, walked Jayson Werth, and then saw a Bryce Harper single (against a pulled-in infield) plate Rendon to tie the game, 4-4.
- While that was sigh worthy, the Reds (and the faulty Nats defense) turned the tide in the Top of the 10th and Sammy Solis. Back to back singles by Eugenio Suarez and Phillips opened the inning, and a booted attempt at fielding a bunt by 1B Ryan Zimmerman let Billy Hamilton reach to load the bases. Barnhart then lifted a single into shallow RF to plate Suarez, and a booted fielding attempt by Harper freed up enough time for BP to motor home, too. Billy later scored on a wild pitch, a doink single by Peraza off former Red Matt Belisle then plated Barnhart, and a productive grounder by Bruce scored BP, and in #allofasudden the Reds were ahead 9-4.
- After that, Jumbo Diaz was tasked with shutting the door for Cincinnati, and he did just that to end the team's five game losing streak. Reds won, 9-4.
- Cozart entered the day having hit just .100 in his last 10 games and in the midst of a 1 for 26 stumble. Hopefully his outing tonight rights the ship a bit as that pesky July 31st trade deadline approaches.
- Joey Votto was originally in tonight's lineup, but was a late scratch with a sore right shoulder. He was in the dugout, arms draped over the rail, so it certainly doesn't appear to anything serious. Duvall was originally slated to get a day off, but he was inserted into the lineup in his place.
- At one point, the FOX broadcast team showed how both Duvall and Bruce ranked among the top five players in all of baseball in RBI since May 29th. Not to poo-poo their RISPy successes, but Joey Votto owns a .443 OBP and 1.025 OPS in his last 31 games hitting in front of them. Causation, correlation, & whatnot.
- Homer Bailey was on a rehab assignment with AAA Louisville tonight, and apparently looked pretty dang OK. He allowed an earned run in his 2.0 IP and needed 38 pitches to get through those pair of innings, but apparently sat 94-96 mph with his fastball and felt good after the fact.
- Sunday's contest has first pitch set for 1:35 PM ET, with John Lamb scheduled to start for the Reds. The Nats haven't officially announced their starter yet, but both Lucas Giolito and Stephen Strasburg are prepping for the opportunity. Strasburg will be eligible to come off the 15-day DL to make the start if so desired, but MASN.com suggested that Dusty Baker's preference to give guys an extra day means we may see the talented 21 year old Giolito.
- More Tunes, just 'cuz.