The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Billy Hamilton’s strikeout rate has skyrocketed this year, but with that has come a nice uptick in his walk rate, too. He’s seeing more pitches, and while he’s not yet managed to hit the ball with any more authority than he has in recent years, he’s doing his damnedest to get on base in other ways.
That patience led directly to a Cincinnati Reds win on Saturday in the first game of the doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs, as Billy walked in the Bottom of the 11th with the bases loaded to force in the game-winner. He also added a double on the day, for good measure, which was certainly a nice bonus.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Scooter Gennett, who singled twice, dropped down a cleanup-hitter-esque bunt, and drove in cleanup-hitter-esque pair of runs; Joey Votto, who doubled, walked, and scored twice; Amir Garrett, who pitched another awesome scoreless inning of relief; Wandy Peralta, who fired a perfect inning from the bullpen, too; and Dylan Floro, who was excellent in 2 IP against his former club.
- The Reds got out of trouble in the Top of the 1st thanks to a GIDP with 1-out and the bases loaded, and they turned the tables on the Cubs by scoring in the Bottom of the 1st. Peraza took an unexpected four-pitch walk, stole 2B, and then scored on Scooter’s RBI single into CF. Reds led early, 1-0.
- The Cubs equalized in the Top of the 3rd after Albert Almora blooped a 1-out single and came all the way around to score on Kris Bryant’s RBI double. Game tied, 1-1.
- Cincinnati re-took the lead in the Bottom of the 4th, as Votto scored after doubling to the RF corner, moving up to 3B on a Scooter sac-bunt, and scoring on Suarez’s sac-fly into CF. Reds led, 2-1.
- David Hernandez took over for the Top of the 6th, and he was immediately greeted by an Ian Happ triple and an RBI double by Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks, which left the game tied, 2-2.
- An Addison Russell error kickstarted the Reds in the Bottom of the 6th, as he booted a Peraza grounder hit right at him. Peraza then moved over to 2B on Votto’s walk, and the Cincinnati SS came in to score on Scooter’s RBI single up the middle. Suarez then doubled into RF to chase Hendricks from the game and score Votto. That left runners on 2B and 3B with nobody out, but reliever Randy Rosario managed to escape the jam without anyone else scoring. Reds led, 4-2.
- Raisel Iglesias was brought on to be what we hoped would end up a 6-out save, and that began brutally in the Top of the 8th after the strike zone miraculously shrank by half and Happ later hit an opposite-field homer on what could’ve been strike five. Tommy La Stella later worked his way into a single in a long PA, and he came all the way around to score on Rizzo’s RBI double to the wall in CF. Game tied, 4-4.
- The Bottom of the 11th saw the Reds load the bases against lefty Justin Wilson before an out was recorded, with Schebler leading off with a walk, Tucker Barnhart singling behind him, and Adam Duvall walking to load the bags. That brought Hamilton to the plate, who took a 3-1 pitch wide outside to force in the winner, and the Reds won Game 1, 5-4.
- There was a bit of a dust-up following the final out of the Top of the 7th, as Javy Baez apparently took issue with Amir Garrett striking him out and being damn happy he’d done so. The benches cleared, Anthony Rizzo pointed and screamed like he’s done before, and things simmered down quickly thereafter. Nobody was ejected.
- Luis Castillo did a good job pitching around trouble on the day, but he also did a dang good job of pitching into it, too. He allowed baserunners in each of his 5 IP, and struggled to throw strikes and hit spots, but he also allowed just a lone run to score. His final line: 5 IP, 6 H, ER, 5 BB, 4 K on 98 pitches. Cubs hitters left 15 runners on base in his time on the mound.
- Sal Romano will start opposite Jose Quintana in Saturday’s second game here in a bit, with first pitch for that one scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.