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Jay Bruce homers twice, Reds beat Giants 7-5

Jay Bruce is a dinger smashing guru.

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Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Jay Bruce has been mashing his way through the National League for most of the entire 2016 season, but he has taken particular notice of the most recent games on the schedule in the wake of the All Star Break.

Bruce dingered on Monday - twice - meaning he's launched long balls in each of the last three games, and Monday's power supply was the single biggest driving factor for the Cincinnati Reds' offense in their opener against the San Francisco Giants.  His final line:  2 for 4, 2 runs scored, 4 ribbies, 2 dingers, 1 fantastic haircut, and infinite hopeful suitors for his services as the non-waiver trade deadline inches ever closer.

Congrats, Jay, and here's to...what, five more games between now and deadline day?  Dang.

Honorable Mentions are due to:  Joey Votto, who doubled, took a walk, and scored twice; Eugenio Suarez, who doubled and blasted a 2-run dinger of his own; Adam Duvall, who walked twice (!!) and scored a run against his former team; Jumbo Diaz, who tossed a perfect inning from the 'pen; and Raisel Iglesias, who tossed a pair of perfect innings in relief.

Key Plays

  • The Giants cracked the scoreboard first in this late night affair, capitalizing on a leadoff double from Denard Span in the Bottom of the 1st with a 2-out RBI single off the bat of Buster Posey.  Reds trailed, 1-0.
  • Cincinnati finally struck back in the Top of the 4th, and they did so with a vintage combo we've seen time and time again.  Joey Votto coaxed a 1-out walk, and Bruce followed with a 2-run dinger to RF that put the Reds ahead (after review upheld the initial call).  An Adam Duvall walk followed (drink), and Suarez then cleaned up the bases with a 2-run dinger of his own to LF.  Reds led, 4-1.
  • San Francisco fields a dang fine team, and their lineup responded to the Reds' dinger parade with a Bottom of the 4th of retribution.  Brandon Crawford walked to leadoff the home half of the inning, and Brandon Belt followed with a 2-run dinger to left center that got the Giants back in the game.  Reds led, 4-3.
  • Angel Pagan's injury issues were part of the initial "Jay Bruce to the Giants" trade rumors we'd heard earlier in the season.  He laid ceremonial rest to those in the Bottom of the 5th 2-run dinger well over the wall in deep RF that put the Giants ahead, 5-4.
  • Jay Bruce exists, however, at least in the parlance of the current Reds' existence.  He brushed off the attempted Giants comeback with yet another 2-run dinger off Peavy in the Top of the 6th, following a Votto double with a mammoth blast to CF that put the Reds back in front, 6-5.
  • The Reds executed small-ball to perfection in the Top of the 9th after Suarez opened the inning with a double to CF.  A single by Tucker Barnhart moved Eugenio to 3B, and Henny then scooted down the 3B to score two batters later when Billy Hamilton dropped a perfect bunt single down the 3B line. Reds led, 7-5.
  • From that point forward, Tony Cingrani finished out things in short order, locking up the save as the Reds won, 7-5!

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • Homer Bailey threw what may well be his final rehab start with Louisville on Monday night, and all reports suggest that he looked strong.  Our friends from Redleg Nation were in attendance, and they watched Homer's stamina be a non-issue.   His final line (4.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 98 pitches) won't wow you, but he showed he's capable of an extended outing, which is what's most important at the moment.
  • For what it's worth, Homer's plan is to catch up with the big league Reds immediately, with a return to the rotation penciled in on Sunday.
  • The Blue Jays appear poised to chase Melvin Upton, Jr. this deadline, which would conceivably remove one of the key suitors for a potential Bruce trade.  Harumph.  The ability to play CF in a seemingly saturated OF market is now vitally important, it appears.
  • Prior to his final PA in this game, Votto's OPS crossed the .900 mark for the season, because of course it did.
  • It'll be another late start for the Reds on Tuesday in San Francisco, as first pitch in game two of the series against the Giants isn't scheduled until 10:15 PM ET.  Cody Reed will toe the rubber looking to put together a second consecutive solid start, though, so stay up and watch.  Matt Cain will be on the mound as his opposition.
  • Late night West Coast road trip political themed can't sleep Tunes.