The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
The offense has been, shall we say, sluggish to start Cactus League play for the Cincinnati Reds. Now seven games in, neither Billy Hamilton nor Joey Votto has a hit to their name, for instance, and despite some solid early outings from most of the starting pitchers - though not today - it’s been the lackluster hitting that’s sunk the Reds in early play.
Eugenio Suarez, though, has not been a problem at all, and the resident 3B had another banner day on Thursday. Suarez went 3 for 3 with a double and a run score, and is carrying a .500 average through the first full week of play.
That’ll do, Geno.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Brandon Dixon, who homered, singled, drove in a trio of runs, and swiped a bag; Devin Mesoraco, who doubled, walked, and drove in a pair; Chad Tromp, who singled in Alex Blandino for the walk-off victory; and David Hernandez, who fired a perfect inning of relief with a pair of Ks.
- Leury Garcia smoked a stand-up triple off Michael Lorenzen to begin the Top of the 1st, and he scored a batter later on an RBI single by Tim Anderson. Reds trailed, 1-0.
- The Reds got walks from Hamilton and Votto in the Bottom of the 1st sandwiched around an Eugenio Suarez single, and Billy then scored after Devin Mesoraco popped one just over the 2B’s head and all hell broke loose. The ball was actually caught, but runners were caught up in between bases, locusts were invading from the North, and throws went into the wrong bases, but the result was an error, a run, and a tie game at 1-1.
- A walk to Wellington Castillo got the White Sox started in the Top of the 2nd, and after Castillo was replaced on the bags by Yolmer Sanchez, it eventually haunted. Sanchez motored all the way around to score on Jose Rondon’s triple, aided by RF Rosell Herrera’s throw behind the runner into 2B. Harumph. Rondon then scored a batter later on a nubber back to the mound as Lorenzen couldn’t field it and flip to home quickly enough. Said nubber came off the bat of Omar Narvaez, and both he and Garcia later scored after a walk, a passed by by Tucker Barnhart, and a double into CF by Nicky Delmonico that ended Lorenzen’s day early. Reds trailed, 5-1.
- After Chicago tacked on another run in the Top of the 3rd via sac fly off reliever Barrett Astin, the Cincinnati offense finally got going in the Bottom of the 5th. Mesoraco backed a Suarez single with a ground-rule double that moved Scooter Gennett - who had singled, too - over to 3B. Scooter then scored on a productive groundout by Jose Peraza, and the Reds trailed, 6-3.
- The Reds scored twice again in the Bottom of the 6th, and it was the bench that did the damage with a 2-out rally. Patrick Kivlehan got the ball rolling by taking a walk, and it haunted after back to back singles from Cliff Pennington and Dixon. Pennington moved to 3B on Dixon’s single, and he later scored on a wild pitch from hurler Aaron Bummer. Reds trailed, 6-5.
- Vance Worley tossed a clean Top of the 8th, but he came out for the Top of the 9th and blerrrrrrrrgh...Chicago scored again to leave the Reds behind, 7-5.
- Dixon, though, was due up in the Bottom of the 9th, and that boded well for the Reds. After Pennington singled, Dixon turned around a Jose Ruiz meatball for a monster homer over the wall in LF to tie the game at 7. Alex Blandino then singled and moved up to 2B on Ruiz wild pitch, and he motored over to 3B on a productive groundout off the bat of Shed Long to set up the game-winner. The White Sox made a pitching change that was good enough to get Darnell Sweeney out, but Tromp dumped a 2-out single into LF that plated Blandino to secure the Reds win, 8-7!
- Michael Lorenzen got hit hard early and often. His day was done after just 1.2 IP, after he allowed 5 hits, 5 ER, and 2 BB in his outing, though he did manage 3 Ks.
- Brandon Finnegan made his spring training “debut” today, too, in a controlled intersquad game on the back fields. Apparently he allowed 2 ER after throwing 31 pitches, as Jim Day relayed on the radio broadcast, but at least he’s pitching. MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon had more on Finnegan’s outing, including some quotes from the lefty.
- Charlie Scrabbles was in attendance for this one, headlining the impressive Red Reporter contingent that’ll be at games in the Land of the Endless Strip Mall over the weekend. Hi, Charlie Scrabbles!
- Homer Bailey will get the start on Friday when the Reds head over to Scottsdale to take on the San Francisco Giants. Per usual, it’s scheduled for a 3:05 PM ET start time. Unfortunately, it’s also only going to be available on radio.