The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
What's the only thing better than Amir Garrett firing 6 scoreless innings in his Major League debut in a road game against the St. Louis Cardinals? Backing it up with 6 scoreless innings in his second Major League start in a road game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, of course!
Garrett eventually proved to be human - the 2-run dinger he allowed in the 7th inning proved as much - but he became the first Cincinnati Reds pitcher to record 12 consecutive scoreless innings to begin his big league career since 1970, and it was far from just lucky. Garrett kept his pitches down in the zone, pounded the strike zone throughout, and once again looked the part of a dominant starter against a team with serious playoff aspirations.
If what we've seen from Garrett so far is no aberration - and based on what his minors numbers suggest after he chose to focus on baseball over basketball, they might be - he's got the kind of star stuff to match his star power, and for that we should all be incredibly excited. Congrats, Amir, and here's to a continued string of success this year.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Eugenio Suarez, who had another monster outing, collecting 3 hits (one a double), driving in a trio of runs, and continuing to flash excellent, excellent defense at the hot corner; Jose Peraza, who singled, singled, doubled, and drove in a pair of runs; Tucker Barnhart, who went 3 for 4 with a double and a run driven in; Joey Votto, who singled in a run, walked, and scored a run of his own; and Robert Stephenson, who hit 97 mph with his fastball & K'd 4 in a largely effective 2-inning stint to close things out.
- Healthy Zack Cozart got the first flurry of Cincinnati offense going in the Top of the 5th against Ivan Nova, as he led off with a double to LF. He scored a batter later on Barnhart’s double to the wall in right-center, and Barnhart himself motored home to score two batters later on Hamilton’s single after Garrett had reached on an error by 3B David Freese. Peraza then dumped a double into the LF corner to clear the bases, and the Reds took a commanding 4-0 lead.
- The Reds posted another 4-run frame in the Top of the 7th, this time going HAM on Pittsburgh lefty Antonio Bastardo with a 2-out rally. Peraza legged out an infield single to begin the action, Votto walked behind him, and after Peraza swiped 3B, Adam Duvall walked to load the bases. That brought up Suarez, who entered the game with an .810 career OPS against LHP, and he smoked a bases-clearing double to the wall in left-center to drive in three. That chased Bastardo, and Scott Schebler then cranked a double off the top of the wall in left-center to drive in Suarez, and the Reds led, 8-0.
- Of course, that half inning took up the better part of half an hour, and while Garrett returned to the mound with an 8-0 lead, he'd also been sitting for quite awhile. It showed with a leadoff single by Andrew McCutchen and a 2-run dinger by David Freese, the first such runs he'd allowed in his big league career. Reds led, 8-2.
- Cincinnati tacked on some insurance in the Top of the 8th, with Votto's single scoring Barnhart - who had singled and moved up on Peraza's third hit of the night, too. That put Cincinnati ahead 9-2, and Stephenson took care of the rest in solid fashion to close things out. SWEEEEEEEEEEEEP!
- Amir freakin' Garrett, y'all. His final line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K on an impressive 96 pitches.
- In a related note, when rosters get overhauled, established veterans get traded, and young, unproven faces get thrust into prominent roles while many scream at clouds about the dissolution of what once was, often that paves the way for damn fine young players to emerge, and to thrive. Heloooo, Amir Garrett.
- Taking 5 of 6 in a 2017 road trip through St. Louis and Pittsburgh wasn't exactly what everyone expected to see when this season started, but apparently no one bothered to tell the young Reds that they were supposed to get stomped.
- Speaking of which, the Reds outscored the Pirates 22-5 in this particular series sweep.
- Bronson Arroyo will return to the mound for the Reds on Thursday when the return home to open a 4-game set against the Milwaukee Brewers. Jimmy Nelson will toe the rubber for the Beers, and first pitch is currently slated for 7:10 PM ET.
- The 2017 Cincinnati Reds are 7-2. Yes. Yes, they are.