The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
It had been a minute since we’d seen Jesse Winker as a part of the Cincinnati Reds juggernaut offense. At least, it’s been a quick minute since he was a part of the 2021 vintage, seeing as he played the part of the single most potent bat the club could boast in 2020.
A flu-like illness had kept him out while the Reds mashed and mauled all week, but he returned on Friday against the Arizona Cardinals and picked right up where he’d left off. He socked a homer that was wrongly ruled a double, added a pair of singles later, drove in a run, scored a run, and generally looked the part of Jesse Damn Winker once again.
He did exit early after some calf cramps, and we’ll simply blame that on the incredibly dry air of the Land of the Endless Strip Mall. For now, though, it’s damn savory to relish another fantastic offensive night from Jesse.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Tucker Barnhart, who doubled twice, singled, and drove in a pair - including the go-ahead run in extras; Tyler Mahle, who battled high early pitch counts but still fired 4 no-hit IP (with 4 BB and 6 K on 92 pitches); Tejay Antone, who picked things up with 2 IP of scoreless, 1 H ball; Amir Garrett, who hammered down a 10th inning for a save amid bullshit awful new ‘runner on 2B in extra innings’ hullabaloo; and Tyler Naquin, who socked yet another dinger, walked, and swiped a bag.
- Jesse Winker led off the game with a solo dinger over the wall in left-center. Unfortunately, the ne’er-do-wells that are in charge of policing this sport had their eyes up their asses, ruled it a double, and despite video replay clearly showing it cleared the fence, they pflubbed their lips and shook their arms and said ‘double’ anyway. Winker did not technically score, and the baseball gods were shooketh.
- Winker got the Reds on the board eventually, though, socking a single in the Top of the 3rd to drive in Barnhart, who had earlier doubled. Reds ‘officially’ led, 1-0.
- The Top of the 4th saw Naquin sock his latest dinger, an absolutely gargantuan 454 foot bomb off Arizona starter Taylor Widener that put the Reds ahead 2-0.
- Singles by Alex Blandino, Winker, and Nick Castellanos loaded the bags in the Top of the 5th, and Blandino later scored when a ball hit by Joey Votto was booted for an error at 2B. That left the bases loaded yet again, and Winker then scored on a sac-fly into CF off the bat of Eugenio Suarez. Reds led, 4-0.
- Naquin coaxed a walk to get the action going in the Top of the 6th, and after he swiped 2B to put himself into scoring position, Barnhart roped a double down the RF line to drive him in. Reds led, 5-0.
- Cam Bedrosian was on the mound for the Reds in the Bottom of the 7th when Arizona finally got on the board. Eduaro Escobar socked a double into the RF corner to open the inning, eventually scoring on a Carson Kelly sac-fly. A pair of singles later and Bedrosian was chased in favor of Sean Doolittle, who came on to face the lefty Kole Calhoun. Calhoun smoked a double off the RF wall to clear the bases and make it a 5-3 game, but a fine defensive play from Mike Moustakas later salvaged the inning, and the the Reds headed to the 8th with said 5-3 lead.
- The 8th, though, saw some pain. Lucas Sims was on for the Reds, and after walking the leadoff batter he surrendered a 2-run blast to Eduardo Escobar on an inside breaking ball that tied the game. To the extras this one would thusly go...
- Geno began the Top of the 10th as the designated runner on 2B, and he moved up a bag on a productive Moose-out. He eventually scored on a single into RF by Barnhart, and the Reds held a 6-5 lead, one that Garrett would make stand after a mildly eventful - walk, wild pitch, intentional walk - Bottom of the 10th. Reds win!
- Johnny Cueto is no longer a Cincinnati Red, but seeing him go 8.2 innings for any team this evening should bring you great joy. We still love you, Johnny.
- Speaking of veteran righties, it appears Sonny Gray is hopefully close to rejoining the Reds rotation. C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic had that news earlier, noting that a simulated game this weekend is all that stands in the way of the Reds getting back one of their trusted aces.
- It’ll be Jeff Hoffman on the bump for the Reds in Saturday’s contest between these two clubs, giving the former Colorado Rockie a chance to face-off against a former division foe. Riley Smith will toe the rubber for Arizona, with first pitch set for 8:10 PM ET.