The losses were mounting. The trade deadline was inching ever closer. The brilliant first half of the Cincinnati Reds season was quickly waning in the face of a wave of National League clubs poised to make the playoffs this year.
The Reds were desperate. Their pitching, maligned and injured as it has been all year, had been bailing them out with whatever they could find, but that only managed to coincide with the offense falling flat for the first time since the promotions of their fleet of shiny new prospects.
Graham Ashcraft stepped up to the task last night, leading the Reds on the mound as Will Benson’s blast finally helped break their six-game losing streak. Today, it was Andrew Abbott’s turn to take the torch, and man, did the rookie ever deliver.
Abbott fired 8 IP of one-hit ball, keeping the Giants completely off-kilter throughout his latest brilliant performance. He lowered his season ERA to a sparkling 2.10 in the process, taking home yet another Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game award while out-dueling Giants All Star starter Alex Cobb in Cincinnati’s eventual 5-1 victory.
Benson once again had a stellar outing, going 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles, a walk, a ribbie, a stolen base, and a run scored. Luke Maile backed him up at the bottom of the order with a 3-hit day that included an early 2-run tater that proved to be all Abbott would need on the day. Jake Fraley and Jonathan India also chipped in with 2-hit days, the latter hopefully continuing to emerge from the deep slump that had engulfed him throughout the month of June and early July.
From start to finish - both with pitching and timely hitting - the Cincinnati Reds not only looked like a club out to win today’s game, but a club that was out to prove that their recent skid was the exception to the rule. Today’s team looked like a club hungry to press on and make further announcements to the rest of the baseball world that they were here now, and here to stay.
Reds 5, Giants 1.
- Christian Encarnacion-Strand had another hit and another ribbie, because that’s just what the kid does.
- The Reds continue their trek through potent squads when the Arizona Diamondbacks get to town for Friday’s weekend series opener. Lefty Tommy Henry is slated to start for the Snakes, so look forward to a lineup stacked with lefty-mashers (and for Nick Senzel to get off the milk carton). Ben Lively will hopefully be de-cramped enough to go deep for the Reds as their starter, with first pitch set for 7:10 PM ET.