At the time, it probably seemed like a bit of icing on the cake for Tommy Pham. The former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder turned around a Johan Oviedo meatball for a solo homer in the Top of the 8th inning, putting the Cincinnati Reds ahead 7-4 in a game in which they’d already found a way to dig out of an early 3-0 hole.
With this Reds bullpen, though, you just never can rest easy.
Thanks to a late 2-run blast by Juan Yepez in the Bottom of the 9th that brough the game to a mere 7-6 Reds lead, said dinger by Pham ended up being the game-winner on the day. It brought to a close a series in which he combined to go 4 for 12 with said homer, a double, a trio of runs scored, a trio of ribbies, and a walk against his former club, and for that he’ll earn today’s Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game.
All told, it was a pretty gutty win for the Reds. Starter Graham Ashcraft was not the same guy he’d been through his first three starts in the bigs, and clearly was battling some things during his 4.2 IP. He relied on his breaking pitches more today, and the end result was a 9-hit outing against him where 4 ER came in to score. And while he initially toiled, some rock-solid work from the unlikeliest of spots in the lineup ended up bailing him out on the day.
Each of Matt Reynolds, Aristides Aquino, and TJ Friedl had multi-hit days, with Friedl adding an RBI-triple and another ribbie to help fuel the offense.
We’ll harp on the bullpen at a later date, since that group seems to provide us with more content each and every day with which to chide. Jeff Hoffman, Luis Cessa, and Tony Santillan do deserve credit on the day for putting up some big zeroes, but after several back-breaking losses on their shoulders within the last week, it was frustrating to see Alexis Diaz - far and away the most dominant arm in the ‘pen so far this year - surrender a 2-run homer in the 9th inning.
All told, it was a 7-6 Reds victory, one that hopefully will flush away the blues of their recent skid and give them confidence as they head west once again.
Tony Graphanino (link)
- Joey Votto walked, because Joey Votto walks.
- Albert Pujols socked an RBI-double of the ground rule variety. Frankly, I’m surprised that’s all he did since he normally does that at least seventeen times per game against the Reds.
- Another scintillating series between the Reds and the Arizona Diamondbacks awaits, folks. On Monday, what’s left of that field in Phoenix that their owners despise as they try to talk the fine people of Arizona into funding a new multi-billion dollar stadium will play host to the series opener between the two clubs, with Mike Minor on the bump for Cincinnati opposite Merrill Kelly. First pitch is set for 9:40 PM ET, and I’m preemptively proud of the few of you who will stay up late enough to watch it all. There are other ways to describe what I think about that right now, too, but proud is at least one of the emotions.