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Reds offense backs solid Matt Harvey, downs Atlanta 5-3

Good pitching? Check. Timely hitting? Check.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Let’s get one thing straight - Jesse Winker’s defense is far from stellar, and that’s something the eye-test confirms. However, he’s far from a butcher out there, and far from a lead pipe that’s chained to a sunken toilet despite the fact that Baseball Reference already has him rated as a worse defender than if the Reds just put a scarecrow in the OF.

Still, the young Cincinnati Reds outfielder can hit, and hit well, and is on one of those streaks that makes you salivate about how he’ll evolve as he continues to get experience. On Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves, that was again on full display, as he 3 for 4 with a pair of runners driven in - the latter of which proved to be the game-winning run - showing precisely the kind of contact ability that he’s been known for as a prospect in the system for a half-dozen years.

Honorable Mentions are due to: Matt Harvey, who only fanned 2 in his 6.2 IP, but limited Atlanta to just a lone ER while scattering a walk and 6 hits; Scooter Gennett, who doubled, walked twice, scored three (!!) times, and single in a run late well after I’d already anointed Winker as the JNMHSotG; and Jose Peraza, who singled, tripled, and scored against his former franchise.

Key Plays

  • The Reds finally opened the scoring in this one in the Top of the 4th, and it predictably came from the middle of the order. Scooter coaxed a 1-out walk, and promptly stole 2B when he noticed that Anibal Sanchez was taking roughly 3-hours to deliver his pitches to the catcher. Scooty moved up to 3B on a deep fly-out to RF, and later scored on an infield single by Winker. Reds led, 1-0.
  • A 1-out double by Tyler Flowers off Harvey in the Bottom of the 4th leveled the score, however, as it scored Freddie Freeman after he’d earlier singled. It could have been worse, though, as Ozzie Albies was thrown out at 3B the play before when Harvey knocked down a would-be base hit up the middle and caught the young 2B off the bag. Game tied, 1-1.
  • Cincinnati got the lead back in the Top of the 5th, as Peraza led off with a triple to the wall in left-center and scored two batters later on Schebler’s RBI double. Reds led, 2-1.
  • Adam Duvall’s 2-out single into LF got the Reds another run in the Top of the 6th off reliever Matt Wisler, who took over for Sanchez the inning before after the Braves starter appeared to tweak his ankle/calf. Scooter had begun the inning with a double off the wall in RF, and he was the run that scored on Duvy’s single. Reds led, 3-1.
  • The Reds got another run in the Top of the 8th on Winker’s RBI single up the middle, which scored Scooter after he walked and moved up to 2B on a productive grounder. Reds led, 4-1.
  • Atlanta got a pair of runs back in the Bottom of the 8th, with Freeman driving in Ender Inciarte after the former reached on a single off Amir Garrett’s leg and moved to 3B on a subsequent Ozzie Albies double off reliever Michael Lorenzen. Nick Markakis then plated Albies on a productive groundout, and the Reds held a 4-3 lead.
  • Scooter’s single into shallow RF got the Reds an additional run in the Top of the 9th after Braves pitcher Shane Carle caught a case of the 2-out walks, as Tucker Barnhart scooted home to score on the hit. That left the Reds ahead 5-3, which is how things ended after Iglesias slammed the door shut once again.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • Earlier on Tuesday, the Reds announced that LHP Brandon Finnegan would begin to work in the AAA Louisville bullpen after pitching to a 7,456,892.98 ERA as a starter since being optioned last month, The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans reported. Finnegan’s reportedly healthy, but the results have just been awful enough to warrant trying something different at this time.
  • Amir Garrett was hit on the knee by a comebacker in the Bottom of the 8th, and left the game. It certainly looked like it hurt a ton, but hopefully it’s nothing more than a bad bruise.
  • Jesse Winker (.378) now has a higher OBP than Scooter Gennett ( ) on the season.
  • Luis Castillo will start the series finale for the Reds on Wednesday, and he’ll be opposed by Atlanta starter Sean Newcomb. First pitch is set for an early 12:10 PM ET, so plan your afternoon check-out accordingly.
  • Tunes.