The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
The incredibly speedy duo of Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza were penciled in as the #1 and #2 hitters in the Cincinnati Reds lineup at the start of the 2017 season, and that didn't exactly get off to the greatest of starts. In fact, Peraza's initial struggles saw him largely dropped to the #7 spot in the lineup after some 22 games.
Those mutual struggles couldn't have been farther removed from what we watched on Friday night against the San Francisco Giants, however, as both Hamilton and Peraza wreaked havoc on the current last place team in the NL West.
Hamilton went 3 for 4 with 2 walks, 2 ribbies, a triple, a pair of steals, and 3 runs scored. Peraza did his best to match him, going 3 for 4 with 4 runs driven in, a run scored, a triple of his own, and a steal, too, and combined the two young speedsters in Cincinnati's regular lineup did exactly what the Reds' brass hoped for when originally penning them in atop the lineup.
Yeah, Peraza did his damage at the bottom of the order, but (read below) it wasn't like the entire lineup suffered from misalignment as a result. Congrats to both, and here's to more of the same in the next 130+ games.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Eugenio Suarez, who went 3 for 5 with a run scored, a walk, and 3 ribbies; Bronson Arroyo, who allowed 2 ER in 5.1 IP, lobbing cheeseballs and funyuns that somehow weren't terribly hittable throughout; Scott Schebler, who had 3 of hits, walked, drove in a run, and scored a run; Zack Cozart, who doubled, walked, drove in a run, and scored twice in his 2-hit night; Joey Votto, who walked four times, scored twice, and drove in a run on a sac-fly; and Austin Brice, who K'd 3 in 2 scoreless innings in relief in his Reds debut.
- Hamilton coaxed a walk off Giants starter Matt Cain to begin the Bottom of the 1st and wouldn’t ya know - it haunted. He moved to 3B when Cozart singled behind him, and then scored on a Votto sac fly to deep CF. After Adam Duvall popped out for the 2nd out of the inning, Suarez singled softly to 1B to bring in Cozart, and back to back singles by Schebler and Peraza drove in Suarez to put the Reds ahead early, 3-0.
- The Giants got one back in the Top of the 2nd, however, as Christian Arroyo took Bronson Arroyo deep for a 2-out solo dinger over the LF wall. Reds led, 3-1.
- The Reds played add-on against Cain in the Bottom of the 2nd, however, with top and middle of the batting order doing things exactly as you’d hope they’d be drawn up. Hamilton walked and then stole both 2B & 3B, Cozart walked behind him (and stole 2B on his own right), and Votto then walked to load the bases. After Duvall popped out to 3B, Suarez poked a single up the middle to drive in a pair, and the Reds led, 5-1.
- Peraza dinked a single to lead off the Bottom of the 3rd, and eventually stole 2B after repeated throws from Cain over to 1B. That steal proved vital, however, as Hamilton eventually backed him up with a single into LF to plate Peraza, and the Reds led, 6-1.
- Speaking of Peraza, he again played the role of thumper in the Bottom of the 4th, as he tripled off Cory Gearrin after Cain had loaded the bases. Reds led, 9-1.
- A Nick Hundley double in the Top of the 5th scored Eduardo Nunez, but that quickly became a mere footnote when the Reds loaded the bases in the Bottom of the 5th and plated another run courtesy of a Christian Arroyo error on a sharp grounder off Peraza’s bat. Reds led, 10-2.
- Hunter Pence reached on an error by Cozart in the Top of the 6th, and he later scored on a Conor Gillaspie groundout after Bronson Arroyo had been chased in favor of Blake Wood. Reds led, 10-3.
- Scooter Gennett entered the game in the double-switch that sent Bronson to the showers, and he coaxed yet another walk from Giants pitching in the Bottom of the 6th. Gennett motored around to score a batter later when Hamilton tripled to the wall in CF, and Billy then scored when Cozart backed him up with a double to LF. Reds led, 12-3.
- Schebler's RBI single with the bases loaded in the Bottom of the 8th brought the score the 13-3, and that's where things ended with the Reds on the smiling side of the scoreboard.
- This game required a 1 hour, 50 minute rain delay prior to the first pitch being thrown.
- The Reds wore 'Los Rojos' jerseys and the Giants sported 'Gigantes' jerseys, conceivably in celebration of Cinco de Mayo.
- Mallaire & bump-master Freekbass invaded the Cincinnati TV booth in the middle of this one, and we have evidence. If ever there was a bassist carrying on the Cincinnati back-beat legacy started by the likes of Bootsy Collins, it's Freekbass, so check 'em when ya can.
- Reds hitters walked 12 times tonight, which would be spit-take inducing to any team on any night ever. That it happened from a team that has been notoriously walk-averse (non-Votto edition) for several years makes that increasingly worth being giddy about.
- Assuming rain doesn’t again throw a wrench into Saturday’s plans, the Reds and Giants will tangle with first pitch set for 7:10 PM ET. Ty Blach will toe the rubber for San Francisco, and he’ll be opposed by rookie Amir Garrett.