The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Though Sunday's loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks put another tick mark in the Cincinnati Reds loss column, the game itself may well have had a more significant meaning in the grand scheme. The 9-8 loss ended a nine game homestand to open the season's second half, and by the time the Reds return home again on August 2nd, the MLB non-waiver trade deadline will have come and gone.
For Jay Bruce, whose name has been in trade rumors galore of late, Sunday may well have marked his final game in Great American Ball Park as a member of the Reds, an event that alone is worthy of today's JNMHSotG. Not one to let that be the only story, Bruce made sure that if he was indeed donning a home Reds jersey for the final time, it was going to be one to remember. He'd had an all-around solid afternoon when he stepped to the plate in the Bottom of the 9th - 1 for 3 with a walk, a ribbie, a stolen base, and a pair of runs scored to that point - but he then blasted a 3-run homer into the first row of the RF seats in his final at bat, the kind of feel-good story that bookended perfectly his meteoric entrance to the Cincinnati lineup that summer night back in 2008.
All that came on the heels of becoming just the fourth Red in team history with at least eight seasons with 20 or more dingers, a feat he accomplished with Saturday's three run bomb.
Jay's now hitting .269/.324/.547 on the season with 21 home runs and 73 RBI, exactly the kind of renaissance that should have many suitors between now and next Monday's trade deadline. If this is goodbye number one, it was certainly one to smile about. A huge preemptive thanks, Jay.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Billy Hamilton, who went 2 for 5 to push his season OBP over the .300 mark, stole a base, and scored a run; Joey Votto, who singled and walked twice; and Brandon Phillips, who went 2 for 4 with a walk; and a run scored.
- Brandon Finnegan got shelled early in this one. The Diamondbacks pushed the game's first run across the plate in the Top of the 1st, as Rickie Weeks poked a single into CF to score Phil Gosselin from 3B after Arizona opened the game with a walk and a single. Reds trailed, 1-0.
- Cincinnati struck back in the Bottom of the 1st, however, as Adam Duvall spanked a 2-run single into CF to score both Billy Hamilton (who had led off with a single) and Bruce (who had walked and stolen 2B). Reds led, 2-1.
- Then came the dinger party. Yasmany Tomas destroyed a hanging breaking ball in the Top of the 2nd for a line-drive solo shot into the LF seats to tie the game, and Wellington Castillo backed a Weeks single and Paul Goldschmidt walk with a 3-run shot to RF in the Top of the 3rd to put Cincinnati in a hole, 5-2.
- Zack Godley plunked Jose Peraza in the back with the first pitch of the Bottom of the 3rd, perhaps retribution for when Dan Straily plunked Jean Segura on Friday. The Reds then calmly smacked the crap out of the ball for the rest of the inning, as singles by Joey Votto, Bruce, Brandon Phillips, Ivan De Jesus, Jr., and Ramon Cabrera resulted in a trio of runs - the only blemish in the middle a line-drive double play off the bat of Duvall that came off the bat like a rocket and was snared by a leaping Segura at SS. Game tied, 5-5.
- Finnegan kept the Diamondbacks off the board in the Top of the 4th, but he was bitten in the Top of the 5th when Paul Goldschmidt turned a meatball into a solo homer into the LF seats. Reds trailed, 6-5.
- Old-timey Ross Ohlendorf and his old-timey windup took over for the Top of the 6th, and Arizona kicked the Reds for another pair of runs. Back to back singles by Brandon Drury and Tomas opened the inning, each moved up a bag on a sac-bunt, and Drury later scored on a wild pitch by Ohlendorf that came while striking out Segura. Segura ended up at 1B, but was later out attempting to steal 2B when replay ruled he'd overslid the bag while Phillips maintained the tag. That saved the Reds a run when Gosselin followed with a double to the wall in right-center that only scored Tomas. Reds trailed, 8-5.
- Tomas wasn't about to pull the plug on the dinger party, so he added on another solo shot in the Top of the 8th off Josh Smith to push the score to 9-5.
- That lead looked good on paper, but the Reds came clawing back in the Bottom of the 9th against Tyler Clippard. Zack Cozart took a walk as a pinch hitter to open the inning, and Votto walked behind him before Bruce's laser 3-run homer just cleared the wall in RF. That made the score 9-8, but the Reds couldn't find a way to get level before out number 27 was recorded. Reds lost, 9-8.
- Ken Griffey, Jr. officially entered baseball's Hall of Fame this afternoon, and he did so in style. It's somewhat funny to think that Junior's induction came on the very same day as Bruce's potential final home game in GABP, since the latter's emergence effectively signaled the end of the former's time in Cincinnati.
- Finnegan's final line: 5 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K on 87 pitches. I believe the trio of dingers he allowed brings his season total to 25, which is just one off the MLB best (worst) of 26 (from Royals teammates Chris Young and Ian Kennedy).
- The wild-pitch that bit The Dorf in the 6th inning was a rather tough ruling by the official scorer, as it appeared that Ramon Cabrera should've easily caught it and/or stopped it, especially with a runner on 3B. Jeff Brantley, who was in the TV booth for the day, pretty adamantly emphasized that the catcher should've been hit with a passed ball.
- All eight position players who started in this one had at least one hit.
- Anthony DeSclafani will start for the Reds on Monday against the San Francisco Giants in the first game of a two city, six game stint on the West Coast. Disco and the Reds will square off against pitcher Jake Peavy, with first pitch set for 10:15 PM ET.